April 4, 2013, 3:56 PM

Costco juices up its print magazine pages with the mobile web

Mobile device users can scan watermarks on print pages that link to mobile content.

Costco Wholesale Corp. is bringing the power of the mobile web to its monthly magazine The Costco Connection.The merchant is using Digimarc Corp.’s Digimarc Discover Intuitive Computing Platform to embed transparent digital watermarks in editorial and advertising content starting with the April issue.

A watermark functions much in the same way as a two-dimensional QR code. A consumer uses a free scanner app, pointing the smartphone’s camera at the watermark, and the app automatically recognizes the mark and opens up the browser on the smartphone, sending the consumer to relevant mobile web-based content.

Using the Digimarc Discover app on her smartphone or tablet, the magazine reader—there are 8.6 million, Costco says—is able to scan more than 50 unique digital watermarks included in articles and ads in April to view product information, videos and store information, and even make purchases on her mobile device.

“Many of our members are already browsing The Costco Connection with their mobile phones and tablets sitting nearby,” says David Fuller, assistant vice president, publishing, and editor of the magazine. “With Digimarc’s solution, our readers can seamlessly move between our print magazine and our online content without ever having to open a browser and search. This instant connection to more information means our members will be able to more deeply engage with our content much more quickly.”

Costco, No. 22 in the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, is introducing readers to the interactive Costco Connection in the April issue with a quick tutorial in the table of contents. Upon downloading the free Digimarc Discover app, Costco members can scan and view additional content on everything from home goods and automotive products to health information. Members can also connect with additional resources, including the mobile commerce web site and the online edition of The Costco Connection.

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