Barcode Scanning & the New Upside

Scanning is about to get a bit more personal.

Not as in giving away personal information, but rather in the form of receiving offers based on what was scanned and scanning history.

It used to be that scanning a QR code led to a static website, as any consumer early to scanning codes knows.

Then many in the industry recognized that a scanned code could lead to an engagement, with custom, and in many cases interactive, content created just for the scan.

Many consumers also recognized they could scan normal UPC codes, to check prices, receive product information and find out who has the best price on that particular product at that moment.

In many ways, scanning has been an evolving, work-in-progress.

Now Scanbuy, which has been evolving along with the market, has quietly reinvented its app to provide discounts and deals based on past scanning activity.



We know from many studies that mobile shoppers are attracted to deals. They also are highly capable of taking advantage of a deal, since they’re continually researching and shopping from their mobile devices.

In its early days, Scanbuy created custom codes so that businesses could track scanning by location and demographic. (I used their code on the back of one of my books (The Third Screen), so I could see on a dashboard who scanned the code by time, country, city and demographic.)

The company has been using the data from scans for business intelligence and now plans to leverage data gathered for customers using the Scanlife app.

“This puts customers in charge of the data,” Scanbuy CEO Mike Wehrs told me yesterday. “We look at your scan history and send offers into the in-box in the app and then give explicit control to the customer.”

That control comes in the form of sliding bars to select interests. For example, if you want more sports related deals, slide to the right or less, slide to the left. I’ve seen this quick-selection approach in other new apps.

The deals come from a host of sources, including brands and retailers.

This is an interesting twist on mobile deals. Apps like Shopkick and RetailMeNot leverage location so that mobile shoppers receive deals based on proximity to the deals.

The new Scanlife approach is based on targeting interest based on past behavior, though it also includes a geographic element, since the scanning location is known.

The Scanlife deals also are not in real time and the consumers can set their own schedule.

For example, they could opt to receive the deals three days a week at 2 p.m., essentially creating their own customized flash sale.

To date, 85 million people have downloaded the app and Scanlife has 11 million active users, with about 65% of them in the U.S. and the rest mostly in Europe, according to Wehrs.

The bar for barcode scanning results just got higher.


This topic is on the agenda of the MediaPost OMMA mCommerce conference in New York on Aug. 7. Hope to see you there. Here’s the agenda.

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