Tag Archives: Coupon

More On Camera Phones As Bar Scanners

Here’s more on a subject I looked at in December (and then promptly forgot about): Using your camera phone as a bar code scanner. Wired says there are at least four software companies that have released applications that let you take a photo of a bar code, which will then trigger the download of coupons, reviews and other information about that product.

Not a bad idea. As the article points out, most phones have inbuilt browsers, so in theory it’s possible to check out competing prices and more information about a product you’re looking at. But who actually does that?

This is what the folk at trendwatching.com call SEE-HEAR-BUY: “the capability to buy everything you see or hear, wherever you are.”

Wired also takes a glimpse at the bit that worries me: The destruction of the small time retailer. If people are just wandering into shops, taking a snap of a product and then wandering off again, how helpful is that going to be to their business? Either they ban camera phones in their shops, or they try to find a way to make it work for them, perhaps by creating ways to make alternative recommendations for a product the customer is viewing. And of course, the edge the bricks and mortar folk have always had: Their extensive knowledge, onsite, online and delivered in human packaging.

News: Amazon customers snap up $10 ‘goodies’

 From the ‘people will buy anything so long as you don’t tell them what it is and it comes in a box’ department, Wired reports of a new service from Amazon, where customers can buy a Goodie Box of 1 to 5 “goodies” — freebies, basically — from software publishers randomly dropped into a box. Technically it’s free, since the box costs $10 but includes a $10 mail-in rebate. (The buyer pays for shipping, which starts at $4, and one assumes most folk forget to mail the rebate coupon.)
Recent boxes included a Microsoft Money trial CD, a CD wallet from Roxio, a Photoshop Album Starter Edition CD from Adobe and some Post-It cubes from Apple.
Needless to say, since the service started in May it’s been so popular they’ve sold out and are waiting to get more stuff. I can well believe something like this is popular. Any time I’ve mentioned I’ve got cupboards full of this kind of stuff, folk send me emails asking me to send it their way. Short answer: no. Bids start at $10.