Further to a soft launch over the festive season, the PriceCheck Product Barcode Scanner is now available on a wider range of app stores. Although barcode scanning as a tool is still a budding technology, it allows the smart shopper to do comparative shopping wherever they choose to engage with products.
The PriceCheck Barcode Scanner is a handy tool supplying possible alternative offers or product reviews from online and offline shops for comparison of the physical product a user is interested in. The application uses the phone's camera and scans the product's barcode found on its packaging. PriceCheck searches its database for a product with a matching barcode. From this point, the PriceCheck experience takes over. Built into the barcode scanning app are all the mobile PriceCheck functions and the matching product is then displayed on the PriceCheck Mobile app. This result then lists comparative offers by various online and offline shops.
"Although in its infancy we're seeing good results and feedback from the market," says Andre de Wet, GM of PriceCheck. "Ease of use and a quick download got us recently mentioned in the same breath as Google Shopper and the Starbucks mobile apps as one of the top international mobile shopping apps to download. The number of household goods matched to barcodes increases daily, and we already offer in excess of six million scan-able products, albeit mainly books, music and DVD's that can be scanned. It's easy to use and, more importantly, it allows shoppers to get used to the technology while still having the full price comparison app functionality. Location based services and product picture recognition are all in the pipeline."
With bargain hunting becoming more and more prolific it can be seen why Pricecheck, the market leader, is staying one step ahead. If one looks at recent shopping stats and how smartphones are used in store, the following starts to show a trend of how shoppers are using phones to make buying decisions:
33% used their phones for online product information while shopping at a store
25% look up product reviews for a product found in store
62% of smartphone users have used their phones to do a product search,
54% use their smartphones while shopping,
and 26% of smartphone subscribers have changed their minds as a result of gathering information on their smartphones while shopping in-store.
In a similar vein, after looking up a business or service on their smartphones, 61% of people visited the business.
"It is specifically with these user metrics in mind that we're trying to get as many stores, online and offline, listed on our site. Even if they're not transacting yet, it is just as important to have your products appear on the search done by a shopper in store. If you don't feature, the shopper will go somewhere else," adds de Wet. "When clients shop, being able to find your products on our mobile site will drive them to your stores. We have a very active mobile site with more than a 100 000 Unique Visitors per month, making us one of the top mobile sites in the country."
Smartphones make it quick and simple for in-store shoppers to match items they are considering buying. Using barcode scanning applications and other similar services, shoppers can easily discover if the store they are in has priced the product competitively, or if a better deal can be found online or in another store. After price matching, more than a third of shoppers went on to purchase the product from the store they were already in:
8% purchased the product at another store
19% purchased the product online
37% decided to not purchase the product at all
35% purchased the product at the store.
The smartphone has become one of the most powerful persuasion tools for shoppers making in-store purchases. Brick-and-mortar retailers should be aware of how their customers are using their mobile phones and, instead of trying to curb this behaviour, figure out a way to use mobile shopping technology to their advantage.
About PriceCheck PriceCheck is South Africa's leading comparison shopping destination and the user-base increases daily as more and more people turn to comparison shopping. On a monthly average they receive in excess of 600 000 unique shoppers searching for products on their website (in excess of 10% are already on mobile). They're a highly-targeted lead-generation service and provide a highly-regarded service for the man in the street that needs guidance with making a purchasing decision.
PriceCheck drives highly qualified traffic directly to the product pages through an advanced search and categorisation system.