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Mobile bar code scanning triples on Black Friday versus a normal day

The growing popularity of mobile bar codes has been magnified over the last week with the official start of the holiday shopping season. 

Scanbuy claims it saw about 30 times more scans this past weekend than it did a year ago. It is also seeing a great mix of UPC and QR code scanning, which shows that both consumers and retailers are really embracing the technology.

?We have heard from actual users over the past week with some really compelling use cases,? said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. ?One woman scanned a UPC code, saw a lower price online, and the retailer she was in actually matched the price. 

?Another woman reported that her son used her iPhone with the ScanLife QR codes in the Target toy catalog to get a video on a new Bigfoot toy,? he said.

Bar code scanning on the rise
Bar code scanning via mobile devices has grown tenfold in 2010, per Scanbuy. Thanksgiving Day saw twice the average number of daily scans by consumers.

During the Black Friday shopping extravaganza, bar code scans shot up by 20 times the daily average when compared to last year, per Mr. Wehrs.

And, overall for the weekend shopping it was three times more than a normal weekend, making it more than 30 times last year?s ScanLife traffic.

Mobile bar codes play a pivotal role in helping savvy shoppers compare prices and choose the best gifts.

Bar codes offer the capability to extend consumers' purchasing decision far beyond the small product placard on the store shelf.

Distinct advantage
There are many ways bar codes can give shoppers a distinct advantage this holiday shopping season:

? Shoppers find a popular item at their local store, but notice the price is too high. By scanning a bar code at the store, they will be sent a list of online retailers that are selling the same product at a lower price. They can use this information as leverage in the store to price-match.

? Sometimes shoppers want the ?hot product,? the one that is nearly impossible to find. Scanning a bar code will send the shopper a list of retailers selling that product with inventory in the area. This feature is ideal for those last-minute shoppers who do not want to use the same excuse as last year.

? Books and DVDs are always popular gifts, but what are people saying about the latest releases? Simply scan a bar code and see instantly whether "The Expendables" or "Eat, Pray, Love" is the better stocking-stuffer this year.

? For shoppers who love to brag about an amazing deal or sale they found, scanning a bar code will enable them to share it with friends on Facebook or email in a snap.

?UPC codes make it really simple to get a wide variety of  information that is relevant to that specific product,? Mr. Wehrs said. ?The consumer doesn?t have to search across multiple sites when they have limited time to do so in the store.

?This is really acting like a targeted search engine from actual products,? he said. ?The 2D codes are also giving consumers direct links to information, but can be more controlled by the marketer. The codes that offer value back to the consumer are seeing results in five and six figures.

?The technology is empowering the consumer to get more information from their mobile device in the store environment like never before."

Final take
Dan Butcher, associate editor of Mobile Marketer, talks about how mobile bar coes activate traditional media.