Part II/II – m-commerce strategies – next gen CSEs hit the mobile scene

October 29, 2009

ChannelAdvisor ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

This is part II of a II part series that I call ‘m-commerce strategies for retailers’.  The two parts are:

  • Part I –  m-commerce backgrounder that lives here
  • Part II – Next gen m-commerce CSEs (you are here)

There have been many CSEs on the mobile platforms that pretty much replicate the desktop web experience on the smartphone platforms.  The use case is you are out shopping and you can use the CSE to see what’s available on the web vs. your local store.  There are some that attempt to do local as well, but in my experience nobody does that very well because of the inventory system limitations with the big-box retailers.

In this post I wanted to introduce a next-gen CSE experience that adds a very important element that you don’t have on the desktop web -the bardcode scanner.  The scanner uses OCR to read any product’s barcode, pull up the UPC code and then do an automatic price search on that UPC.

There are two UPC scanning CSEs that I wanted to call out and demonstrate.

ShopSavvy – Android UPC shopping

In 2008, a company called Big In Japan won Google’s Android development contest with a UPC scanning CSE called ShopSavvy.  Since then they have continued to improve the system and now have millions of active users, making ShopSavvy the top Android application.  Here’s a demo of the system:

(feed readers – there is an embedded YouTube that you may need to click through and read directly to see)

Red Laser – UPC Shopping for the iPhone

A consistently top 10 paid-for application on the iPhone is Red Laser which is produced by Occipital.  Red Laser pulls product from Amazon, Google Product Search and eBay so you if you are in those systems, you are covered (assuming your site is mobile browser friendly).  In this video we put Red Laser through the same paces as ShopSavvy:

Conclusion

This exciting new class of CSE for mobile applications provides an interesting third strategic option for retailers (mobile browser friendly, native application, UPC CSE).  For now, I suggest retailers test out these applications and make sure your products are a) showing up and b) they look great on the top smartphones.

SeekingAlpha disclosure – I am long Amazon and Google. eBay is an investor in ChannelAdvisor where I am CEO.  Special thanks to Delisa @ ChannelAdvisor who was our director, producer and director of cinematographer for these two demos.