Tag Archives: retail

Something Fishy Going on in Norway: New Barcode Standard Appears

There are a steady stream of news stories talking about what is next in the world of barcodes, RFID and NFC dominate headlines. However around the world it appears industry is sticking with the mantra of if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it. While QR Codes are heralded as a break through 1D barcodes are still clearly in the driving seat. They are cheap, simple and when linked to a database even a small barcode can provide more than enough information.

It is no surprise then that Norway have just launched a new barcode standard for fish boxes and pallets. Fishing is a huge industry in the Nordic country and has had to become highly regulated to ensure high standards. Barcodes can do this with ease and the investment in a new standard shows that they are far from on their way out. The reason for the change was to bring together several different systems and to established a single standard to which all could conform. Luckily in the world of barcodes such changes are not too expensive, simply means a change to the software and changing which barcodes you print; hardware can remain the same.

So don’t believe the hype, 2D barcodes and Near Field Communication may be all over the news but 1D barcodes offer the reliability and ease of use required by huge industry and will be with us for decades to come.

Do you agree 1D barcodes are far from obsolete?

Jack

For more information on barcode reading visit out website.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mobile Giants Battle over Barcode Patents

We have all heard recently of the patent battles raging between Samsung and Apple; Samsung now have to pay huge sums of money to Apple. This is nothing new and seems to have become a rather ugly side to the world of business where legal departments do battle. Aside from the fact that a patent should be an ‘unintuitive’ step, which most of their patents for ’rounded edges’ are not, it means that the consumer loses out. Less choice and higher prices seem to be the inevitable outcome.

However the patents that companies are battling over does show clues as to the future of mobiles technology. With this in mind I have been very interested to see in the news patents for mobile barcode technology being awarded to the large mobile companies. They appear to be mainly related to capabilities for enhanced shopping experiences where you can scan a barcode to add something to your shopping list. This is not a new concept with Tesco including it within their mobile shopping app quite a while a go. This point aside, though, it is clear that the expansion of barcode enabled mobile shopping is going to arrive.

If you want to get ahead of the game with mobile barcode technology then check out our website.

Where do you see mobile barcode technology going?

Jack

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Virtual Grocery Store Lands in the UK – Tesco joins the party

I have written blogs about entirely virtual grocery stores in the past, but these have always been stories of countries like South Korea or Japan who we associate as being very comfortable with such lavish technology use. However it has now arrived in the UK, or more precisely Gatwick airport, and its not just some new upstart company but Tesco who have introduced it. The idea is that you can scan all the products you want and they will be delivered for you on the day you return from holiday. This obviously is a solution to the annoying problem of going away on holiday for a fortnight, throwing out all your perishables, and returning home to no food in the fridge.

The fact that this should come from a large company such as Tesco is important, many people will already have accounts with Tesco; using their existing online delivery service. Secondly there is the trust issue, people are often wary of new innovations like this but the name Tesco will surely go a long way to allaying these fears. Also for something like this to be effective, and economical, it needs a large infrastructure, which again shows why this is Tesco who are undertaking the project rather than a small company; this is not a new idea, but it needs the correct situation to prosper.

However this is obviously a bit of a gimmick at this stage, the additional planning required to cope with this is surely going to cost more than this potential market. It could though just be a test, something which is going to be rolled out around the country. Supermarkets have been trying to get more convenient than the out of town retail park which once seemed to be the norm, see all the small ‘express’ versions popping up around town centres. These though will be costing a lot, property in town centres are not cheap. Therefore to simply shove up some barcodes the savings will be incredible.

I don’t think supermarkets and shops are about to all disappear to be replaced by barcodes but with such a big company emerging in the game it seems likely this will become a more common form of shopping.

Want to see what barcode reading software can do for you? Check out our website.

Jack

p.s. For more details on this story see the BBC.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Promoting QR Code Use

In previous posts I have talked of how many people offer QR Codes to consumers with little in the way of incentives. The presence of a QR Code does not mean it will be used, people need to think that what they receive from doing so is worth while; this is why a QR Code linking to banal advertising will only discourage future use.

However Kenya and Uganda appear to be leading the way in making the most of this new technology. Small shops may not be able to introduce their own loyalty cards in the style of Tesco of ‘Nectar Cards’ in the UK but using the foursquare model of ‘checking in’ they gain both promotion and loyalty. So when a customer purchases something at a small business, say a cafe, they get a QR Code they scan which means they ‘check-in’ online and gain loyalty points. This seems to be a very logical solution, far better than reality many of us face with wallets and purses jammed full of loyalty cards you might only use a couple of times a year.

So it leads to free stuff for the customer and free advertising on someones timeline for the company and all without the use of a loyalty card. Sounds like Kenya and Uganda are leading the way in this area.

Jack

Want to know more about integrating mobile barcode scanning into your software/business? Check out our SDK here!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mooving Forward – Cows and QR Codes

When I heard that a cow had gone viral I thought this could be no good thing; I’m not vet but memories of foot and mouth loom large. However this time it is all fun and games as a dairy cow has had a QR Codes painted on her side as a web link to ‘her’ blog. The blog contains details of her daily routine, which is interesting even if a little unsurprising.

The cow is not just a very talented self publicist but is part of a campaign by the UK Dairy Industry to raise their profile. Although personally I preferred it when they sponsored ‘The Milk Race’ – the UKs ‘equivalent’ of the Tour de France.

A Quirky Innovation

I don’t have much of an opinion on this but since this is a blog and banal opinions seem the order of the day when I get going I will share one with you anyway. This is a clever stunt and has made several news sources, maybe on a slow news day but still it does the job. However the really clever bit is in just how cheap it is, QR Codes are generated for free and then the programme to read them is also free (such as ours for android!). Just make sure you aren’t paying millions to a marketing agency before you start since it really is very simple.

Let me know you thoughts,

Jack

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The North Face Facing the Future

If you are a shopper of North Face stores in the US then you can now use their iphone app. This allows you to scan the barcode of products in store to receive real time information on sizing and colours in stock. This makes sense; rather than having to find a staff member and ask them to look, which is often inefficient, this instantly lets you know what is available. Early adoption by companies such as The North Face is a big leap of faith but the vast improvement it can offer customers in their shopping experience is likely to pay dividends. Shoppers, as humans, tend to take the path of least resistance so anything to make it easier is going to drive sales.

The only issue with this scheme is how specific it is. Firstly it only works North Face stores, perfect if that is where you always shop but if you are just popping in it will take longer to download the app and scan the barcode than simply asking the staff. This could be a big problem with adoption. Secondly it is only available for iPhone, with the widespread use of android this instantly wipes out a large portion of the smart phone market. (check out our mobile SDK though… it includes iphone AND android at no extra cost!)

Therefore long term maybe we will see retailers setting a standard for such a system, so that a single application may service an entire shopping centre or even every large retailer across a country.

Jack

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Know Your Food… Scan it!

In recent decades it appears there have been countless food scares, most memorable the ‘mad cow’ disease which obliterated British livestock farming for the best part of a decade. Although this has long recovered and a British steak is once again a fine thing to sit down and enjoy it has meant that tough lessons were learnt. It became obvious that for consumers to be able to make informed choices about what they were purchasing they had to have more knowledge.

The producers have to be accountable. What is more this works to protect the majority of producers. Those who are cutting less corners in production can show their better produce and satisfy consumers that they are keeping up standards. Now why am I harping on about agricultural standards in a barcode news blog? This is because barcodes fit the job perfectly here, as New Zealand has shown. If you purchase beef in New Zealand you can scan a barcode on it and learn everything about the animal it came from.

It is clearly not feasible to have an entire fact sheet printed on each piece of meat sold, therefore barcodes yet again make a huge leap forward economically viable where before it may have simply been a pipe dream. So if you ever find yourself in New Zealand treat yourself to a steak, scan the barcode, and enjoy it with the knowledge of where your food came from!

Jack

Want to know how to integrate barcode reading into your business? Check out our website!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mobile Money Network: Completing the Circle

The Mobile Money Network, owned by the Carphone Warehouse, is a mobile payment system. Along the same lines as Google Wallet and Paypal’s mobile payment system. Within the next year their aim is to have several hundred big companies using the network in advertising campaigns. This is where a fundamental change could occur in the use of QR Codes in adverts.

Currently it is too often the case that QR Codes in a glossy magazine simply takes you to more rubbish information about a product you already know you are interested in. However with the Mobile Money Network the plan is to link these QR Codes to instant purchase pages. Although security fears surrounding QR Codes have been raised in the past, with people able to put their own link over the top with ease, this should solve the problem; an application such as this will be able to verify that it is a proper authenticated product.

It will be interesting then to see how this develops. Big names such as Thorntons, HMV and Debenhams are reportedly considering adopting the scheme. Only time will tell whether this is a viable option but if they find an effective way to link it to peoples bank accounts (e.g. without having to top up another account regularly) then it could catch on. Only time will tell.

Jack

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

These aren’t just QR Codes.. they are M&S QR Codes

British retailer Marks and Spencer are introducing wifi into ten of their shops alongside QR Codes so that customers can make the most of the information. Although some retailers have expressed concern at making it too easy for customers to view in the shops and then purchase elsewhere online history has proved that it is only those who embrace new technology who survive. As the mp3 music revolution has shown it is pointless to try and stop the progression, better to try and direct it in your favour!

The use of QR Codes in shops is obvious, for example if you find something you like but not in your size then stock information can be quickly found, or even order a delivery straight to your house! This saves both time and money for store and consumer.

It will be interesting to see if these schemes end up rolling out nationwide, I have not heard any more recently of the Oxfam QR Code trial; although it has only been a few months so I’m not jumping to conclusions.

What do you think of these changes?

Jack

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Intelligent Barcode Labelling

This blog usually talks about how great barcodes are at improving efficiency, which of course they are, but today having a look around the BBC news website I found something quite impressive. Although barcodes are great at bringing the physical world into a companies digital system (such as with products at the supermarket) they require a very intelligent system to become reactive.

However new barcode labels for fruit have been developed to become unreadable when ammonia is given off; a sign that the fruit should no longer be sold. Therefore avoiding the frustrating situation of getting home only to find that the fruit you bought is inedible.

It should be remembered though that with more sophisticated barcodes such as QR Codes more information, such as ‘use-by’ dates can be used to avoid out of date products being sold, since not everything is as well designed as fruit with its ammonia warning system! For more information on QR Codes check out our knowledge base.

Jack

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
Advertisements