October 25, 2011, 4:30 PM

A RedLaser update makes the shopper the point of sale

Version 3.0 of the scanning app enables searching, buying and in-store pick-up.

Kevin Woodward

Senior Editor

Lead Photo

Search results include local store inventory. Users can elect to pick up in the store after paying for the item on their mobile devices.

Retailers large and small increasingly are seeing consumers wielding smartphones while shopping in their aisles, and sometimes watching as the shoppers leave empty-handed. EBay Inc. has had its sights set on this new behavior and its upcoming RedLaser 3.0 mobile app will offer new features designed to cater to consumers’ growing reliance on smartphones to help with shopping.

The latest version of the app, due in coming weeks, combines RedLaser’s bar code scanning function with Milo, a feature that searches the inventory of local stores, and PayPal, eBay’s payment service. “It’s putting all these tools into your hand you normally would have to sit at a desktop computer to use,” says Rob Veres, senior director of RedLaser, eBay Mobile.

 Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. is the first participating retailer; others will follow, eBay says. In one scenario, a shopper may see a particular toy at a friend’s house and decide to get it for her daughter. A scan of the toy’s bar code using RedLaser 3.0 brings up a list of local and online stores. Realizing there is a Toys ‘R’ Us store on her way home, the shopper selects the toy within the app, selects the option to pick up the item in the store and signs into her PayPal account to pay for it.

“The RedLaser app makes it easier for customers to shop our assortment wherever and whenever they want,” a Toys ‘R’ Us spokeswoman says. “Programs like this that extend our reach beyond our more than 800 stores nationwide and beyond our e-commerce sites are appealing to shoppers. Today’s customers want their orders fast, or perhaps more likely, they want it now.”

Retailers supply a nightly data feed of local store inventory that is used by Milo to display results within the app. Each retailer has a separate agreement with eBay that covers the cost of Milo integration, Veres says.

The service also can work with smaller merchants using Fetch, a Milo-like tool designed to connect with popular accounting software often used to track inventory. Fetch is in testing now, Veres says.

Other new features in RedLaser 3.0 include the ability to create categorized shopping lists and share search results items.

EBay will rename the current RedLaser as RL Classic for those consumers not wanting the new version, Veres says.

In September, Toys ‘R’ Us expanded its buy online, pick-up in store program to all of its more than 800 U.S. locations; it debuted the feature in 2010 at select stores.

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