Consumers use an app to scan items in the catalog.
Katie Evans , Managing Editor, International Research
Sharper Image sells some of the most innovative gizmos many consumers likely don’t even know exist until they see them in the merchant’s catalog. So it’s fitting that the e-retailer is at the forefront of mobile commerce technology when it comes to marketing its gadgets for the all-important holiday sales season.
SharperImage.com has announced that shoppers can use a free mobile app to browse, research and buy from its holiday print catalog, which hit customers’ homes last week. The app, called Catalog Click, is from m-commerce technology vendor Digimarc Corp.
Each product image in the Sharper Image holiday catalog includes an invisible and interactive digital watermark from Digimarc. The watermark functions much like a two-dimensional QR code. A consumer uses the 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.
A Sharper Image shopper using the technology is connected to the scanned product on the retailer’s m-commerce site where she can add the item to her cart, review customer ratings, see additional images of the product or save it to her wish list. She can also share the item with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google + or Pinterest.
"We know our catalogs drive customers to our e-commerce site, so we decided to make the shopping experience faster, easier and mobile-friendly," says David Katzman, managing partner of Camelot Venture Group, a private investment group that specializes in direct-to-consumer companies and operates SharperImage.com. "This interactive experience aligns well with our tech-savvy readership that is on the lookout for faster, more convenient ways to handle life's tasks. It doesn't get easier than scanning to learn more or proceed to checkout."
Digimarc is also providing Sharper Image with analytics data including the items consumers scan in the print catalog most frequently and the number of times each item is scanned broken down by mobile device type.
In April Costco Wholesale Corp. began using Digimarc to embed transparent digital watermarks in editorial and advertising content in its monthly magazine The Costco Connection.
Mobile bar code and watermark scanning can help store and catalog retailers with cross-channel selling. 93 of the merchants in the 2014 Internet Retailer Mobile 500 have mobile apps capable of scanning bar codes and similar marks.