Hipcricket Integrates Barcodes into Platform

Hipcricket has teamed up with Scanbuy to integrate QR codes into the Hipcricket platform:

Through this partnership, Hipcricket clients have enhanced capabilities to provide information, pictures of a product, or other rich media delivered when a barcode is scanned. Over 90% of phones today come with a camera, making virtually any mobile device a personal barcode scanner.

Barcode scanning is gaining momentum in the US as another marketing tool for brands and advertisers. Barcode scanning is similar to using SMS in that it can "go anywhere": on a print ad, billboard, TV ad and so on. Thus it can help make "static" traditional media more dynamic and interactive. Marketers can tie any message, URL, video, landing page or image to a QR code.

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The benefits to marketers are almost self-evident. The challenge is educating consumers and getting the software on their handsets. In the direct mail piece from REI above, it contains information about what QR codes are and where to get one for your phone. 

In this particular case the QR code sends you to a mobile optimized version of an REI store locator. It also contains a URL for people who want to go online to find stores.

Scanbuy recently released some interesting data on barcode scanning in the US in an effort to promote its usage by marketers. And in fact we've now moved from a kind of novelty phase in the US to real implementation of QR codes by marketers, as another tool to engage consumers. 

See also: Barcode (2D) Adventures in the Big Apple