May 23, 2012, 5:04 PM

Vitacost adds a bar code scanning tool to its mobile app

Consumers in stores can check if products are available on the retailer’s site.

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Vitacost.com Inc. now enables shoppers inside stores to scan bar codes of products to learn if they are available on the retailer’s e-commerce site.

Vitacost, which is No. 179 in the Internet Retailer Mobile Commerce 300, launched a mobile site in October, says chief marketing officer David Zucker. The newest features for its app were added as a result of consumer feedback; he wouldn’t give details about demand for specific m-commerce features, but said the bar code scanner represents a significant piece of the retailer’s mobile effort.

The scanner tool not only enables consumers to find exact product matches on the Vitacost site, but also similar products should the retailer not have a product in stock. “Say you go into a store, and you are interested in a vanilla-flavored [nutritional] bar,” he says. “You scan it and come to our site, and maybe we are out of it. But maybe we have a chocolate-flavored one.”

Other new features of the Vitacost mobile app include:

• A tool that enables consumers to create and save lists of their favorite products, and then be able to purchase those items with one additional click.

•A “Vitamin Alarm” that lets consumers set daily alerts to remind themselves to take pills or supplements, drink water, exercise or perform other tasks.

Vitacost last updated its m-commerce site in March by adding recommended products, most popular products and the ability to make purchases via PayPal and Bill Me Later.

At the Internet Retailer Conference and Exhibition 2012 early next month in Chicago, the last day will feature a mobile workshop with seven sessions devoted to mobile commerce.

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