Mobile Scanning Gets Boost from Amazon

The modification in how consumers use mobile phones for commerce continues.

Amazon just merged its image recognition technology called Flow into its main mobile app, allowing consumers to hold their iPhone in front of a product and get that product added to their shopping cart for an easy purchase.

The Google Goggles app has for some time provided a similar service so that holding your phone camera in front of a product brings to the screen information about that product.

Interestingly, both Amazon and Google use the image recognition to play to their respective strengths.

An Amazon scan leads to a way to list and then quickly purchase the particular item, playing to its strength of providing easy buying.

A Google Goggles scan identifies the product and automatically provides Google search results, playing to its obvious strength of search.

But from a consumer behavioral standpoint, the activities are the same.

Both are causing a consumer to physically move their phone to use it as a quasi-remote control and both methods link consumers to products via the mobile device.

This may sound subtle but it’s part of the behavioral change happing across the mobile landscape. Scanning barcodes, QR codes, tapping phone for payments and using augmented reality also are part of the same behavioral adaptations.

Products are being brought into the up-close and personal experience of mobile by methods that mitigate typing.

Many consumers haven’t yet figured out that they can scan a product barcode in a store and get that retailer to match a competitor’s price, instantly made available on the phone.

Most consumers simply aren’t used to scanning product barcodes themselves as they shop. It’s been ingrained in us that scanning is done by someone else at checkout, at the end of the traditional buying process.

But mobile advancements like Flow, Google Goggles and various code-scanning capabilities are gradually changing that behavior. One scan at a time.

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4 comments about "Mobile Scanning Gets Boost from Amazon".
  1. Carissa Ganelli from LightningBuy , February 10, 2014 at 12:19 p.m.
    Chuck, you are so right. Even if Amazon is not a direct competitor, companies need to take into account what Amazon does since it sets the standard for consumer-facing innovation and customer behavior change. Even for B2B companies, Amazon sets the standard. After all, B2B customers buy from Amazon and their expectations are set from their personal interactions.
  2. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin , February 10, 2014 at 1:46 p.m.
    Thank you, Carissa, it sure does have some capability to modify behavior due to its large customer base.
  3. Kevin Kogler from MicroBiz POS , February 12, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.
    Brick and motar retailers will need to make a choice whether Amazon is a friend for foe. On one hand, Amazon is offer mobile scanning software making it easier to for customers to showroom (and take money out of the pockets of retailers). On the other hand, Amazon is working on in-store payments and even software to manage brick and mortar retailers. Not sure if they can have it both ways - as retailers will not be running to accept an Amazon store payment when they know Amazon is using that data to drive the store retailer out of business.
  4. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin , February 12, 2014 at 2:25 p.m.
    Great point, Kevin, and a very interesting and complex situation, as you point out. Thanks for highlighting it.