Mobile Marketer has re-launched! Click here to learn more!

Escalate Retail ties Microsoft Tag for scanner-based mobile commerce

Targeting mobile commerce business, Escalate Retail has incorporated the new Microsoft Tag technology into its cross-channel suite of services for retailers.

The San Diego-based company has added Microsoft's multicolored mobile bar codes to its offerings to make it easier for retail customers to scan and shop or buy from their mobile devices. The technology is embedded in Escalate's Blue Martine E-Commerce Suite.

"To date, we haven't as many customers take advantage of the mobile commerce capabilities embedded in the Blue Martini E-Commerce Suite," said Dave Bruno, director of product marketing at Escalate.

"As we looked into 2009, we felt like this was going to be a breakout year for mobile commerce," he said.

Escalate's suite is designed to help retailers in three ways: let their customers shop anywhere, make it easier to fulfill the sales and extend the brand and sales capabilities. More than 500 retailers run their businesses on Escalate software.

With the addition of Microsoft Tag, Escalate customers will be able to integrate print advertising with the mobile and online channels.

For example, retailers can track the effectiveness of marketing campaigns by placing tags on posters, magazines ads and CD inserts. They can then scan a code and shop or buy the item from their Web-enabled and camera-equipped mobile phone.

All it takes is for the Microsoft Tag code to be embedded - printed, stuck or pasted - and links set up. There is no need to type in a Web address or text. The Blue Martini ecommerce engine takes care of the rest, Escalate claims.

Anticipating scanner-based commerce
As more consumers shop on their Web-enabled, camera-equipped smartphones, their expectations also will increase.

"If you don't have the infrastructure to support the demands of a mobile customer including inventory availability and integration with store personnel and systems, you're at risk of disappointing that customer," Mr. Bruno said.

The partnership will be highlighted at the National Retail Federation's 98th Annual Convention & Expo Jan. 11-14 in New York. Escalate and Microsoft took booths at this biggest yearly gathering of retail executives.

"We saw a lot of synergy with the launch of the Microsoft Tag application and our mobile commerce tool," Mr. Bruno said. "So together we felt that was a great story to tell at NRF."

Escalate is not the first firm to advocate scanner-based mobile commerce. Other iterations nationwide include services from ScanBuy, SnapTell and SnapNow, while QR codes are popular in markets such as Japan.

Mr. Bruno identified several segments within retail that he thought were ripe for mobile commerce. Among them were footwear, sporting goods, specialty apparel, consumer electronics and appliances, luxury goods, ecommerce, home furnishings and department stores.

"Brands that are targeted to consumers who are more comfortable using their mobile phone as a shopping tool," Mr. Bruno said. "I think they're going to be more interested.

"Within our client base, the first two companies that come to mind are Hot Topic and Buckle," he said.