Executive Briefings

Here's Why Most Linear Barcode Coupons on Smartphones Just Don't Work

There has been enough hype about mobile shopping in general and mobile coupons in particular that you could easily be forgiven if you thought coupons and loyalty cards on mobile phones were a done deal, already available and in use today. The elephant in the room is that the bright clean crisp barcode image you see displayed on your smartphone's screen cannot be read by the majority of barcode scanners used in retail today.

"But wait a minute," some of you may say. "I have downloaded and used a barcode for my airline ticket on my phone and used it to check in at the airport. That seemed to work OK . . . at least sometimes." That is true enough, but the 2D optical imager that reads your barcode is a completely different technology than the red laser scanners in use in the vast majority of retail stores and other locations today.

There are several different types of barcode scanners in use today. The majority of retail stores use laser scanners - either handheld or omni-directional (embedded in the checkout lane) or both. When laser scanners try to read a barcode image on a phone, they are foiled by the refraction effect of the glass, backlit displays, and polarizing filters on the phone. As a result, handheld laser scanners do a very poor job (hit or miss at best) and the ubiquitous omni-directional (embedded) scanners found in most point-of-sale checkout lanes are even worse at reading barcodes on phones. So in most retail environments, linear barcode mobile coupons on smartphones are virtually useless today . . . they practically never work.

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Keywords: RFID, Wireless, Bar Code & Voice, Technology, Retail, Business Strategy Alignment, Quality & Metrics, Supply Chain Analysis & Consulting, Global Supply Chain Management, ChainLink Research, Barcode Scanners, Point-Of-Sale Data, Omni-Directional Scanners

"But wait a minute," some of you may say. "I have downloaded and used a barcode for my airline ticket on my phone and used it to check in at the airport. That seemed to work OK . . . at least sometimes." That is true enough, but the 2D optical imager that reads your barcode is a completely different technology than the red laser scanners in use in the vast majority of retail stores and other locations today.

There are several different types of barcode scanners in use today. The majority of retail stores use laser scanners - either handheld or omni-directional (embedded in the checkout lane) or both. When laser scanners try to read a barcode image on a phone, they are foiled by the refraction effect of the glass, backlit displays, and polarizing filters on the phone. As a result, handheld laser scanners do a very poor job (hit or miss at best) and the ubiquitous omni-directional (embedded) scanners found in most point-of-sale checkout lanes are even worse at reading barcodes on phones. So in most retail environments, linear barcode mobile coupons on smartphones are virtually useless today . . . they practically never work.

Read Full Article


Keywords: RFID, Wireless, Bar Code & Voice, Technology, Retail, Business Strategy Alignment, Quality & Metrics, Supply Chain Analysis & Consulting, Global Supply Chain Management, ChainLink Research, Barcode Scanners, Point-Of-Sale Data, Omni-Directional Scanners