Amazon adds mobile Scan-to-Buy feature

Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) cool new mobile product scanning feature could certainly drive mobile purchases for the e-commerce giant.

This week, Amazon said it embedded its Flow image recognition technology into its mobile app, allowing consumers to hold their iPhones in front of a product and have that product immediately added to their shopping carts. Its new feature builds on the retailer's previous bar code-based app technology that let consumers scan UPC codes on products to then shop them from Amazon.

"Amazon….has the ability to leverage this technology, in their app, to boost the ease by which consumers can showroom in physical stores, and then buy from Amazon," Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, told Mobile Commerce Daily. "If they do it right, this could be very impactful."

However, Chuck Martin, editor of MediaPost's mCommerce Daily, pointed out that Flow is not necessarily ground-breaking technology. The Google Goggles app has provided a similar service for quite a while. "A Google Goggles scan identifies the product and automatically provides Google search results, playing to its obvious strength of search," he wrote.

Still, both Amazon and Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) are furthering how shopping will likely occur in the near future. While most consumers aren't used to scanning product barcodes as they shop, technologies like Flow and Google Goggles should alter that soon.

"Products are being brought into the up-close and personal experience of mobile by methods that mitigate typing. Scanning barcodes, QR codes, tapping phones for payments and using augmented reality also are part of the same behavioral adaptations," Martin wrote.

For more see:
This MediaPost article
This Mobile Commerce Daily article

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