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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2788 - April 23, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 5

Mobile Visual Search to Hit US. by Holiday Season

By Greg Holden
EcommerceBytes.com
April 23, 2012




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If you sell online, you're probably worried about things like search engine placement and pay-per-click advertising as ways to help your business and your products get before the eyes of potential customers. By the end of the year, however, you're likely to have a new place your business will need to be "found." It's called mobile visual search, and it's beginning to be part of ecommerce in places like Korea and Argentina.

In Korea, for instance, shoppers waiting for the subway can scan a photo of grocery shelf items with their smartphone cameras. A Mobile Visual Search (MVS) app allows them to select the items from the retail store Tesco and have them delivered to their homes.

bieMEDIA, which has been working with retailers like Tesco and Staples to embed MVS-enabled information in their subway platform ads, is talking to retailers in the U.S. and expects to see MVS-enabled ads in this country in the next six to seven months.

"We will roll out MVS much as we have in Europe and Asia and will be getting a lot of traction at that point going into the holiday season," says Jon Barocas, founder and CEO of bieMEDIA.

Barocas sees MVS as a more secure and interactive replacement for QR codes. He envisions an indispensable shopping and information tool for people who visit brick-and-mortar retail stores or who see ads or products they're interested in the "real world." He described going through a grocery store and picking out items on a smartphone, and having them waiting at the checkout counter.

When asked if the emphasis on real world, three-dimensional objects excludes MVS from online retailers, he said no. "Say you see a billboard for a book that's being advertised. Scan it with your phone, and you find that Amazon is selling it. Hit the icon, and you can buy it online instantly."

The task for online retailers is to make sure they pay a listing fee in order to be included in the MVS directory so they show up as one of the companies selling an item online, he explained.

"Retailers actually pay to be part of an MVS search," he said. "You pay for a product, it's done, you are taken to the company's website, and you buy it. Then the company can try to sell other products: "What have other people who bought this product also bought," for instance."

Google, through its Google Goggles app, already provides product information to those with smartphones. These days, the buzz is about Google's Project Glass, its experimental efforts to embed search and other information into a pair of web-enabled glasses. (You can find out more about it on this Google Plus post. Although it would do something similar to what MVS does for smart phones - point your glasses at an object or place, and background information about it shows up on your lenses - Barocas scoffs at the prospect.

"I'm not going to wear the glasses all the time. It reminds me of that movie "The Jerk," where the character Nathan invented a glasses holder that sat on your nose and made you look cross-eyed. I'm going to be drowning in information coming in through my eyes. It's not going to be a long-term thing."

About the Author
Greg Holden is EcommerceBytes Contributing Editor. He is a journalist and the author of many books, including "Starting an Online Business For Dummies," "Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools," and several books about eBay, including "How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business," second edition, and "Secrets of the eBay Millionaires, both published by Osborne-McGraw Hill. Find out more on Greg's website, GregHolden.com, which includes his blog, a list of his books, and his fiction and biographical writing.

About the author:

Greg Holden is EcommerceBytes Contributing Editor. He is a journalist and the author of many books, including "Starting an Online Business For Dummies," "Go Google: 20 Ways to Reach More Customers and Build Revenue with Google Business Tools," and several books about eBay, including "How to Do Everything with Your eBay Business," second edition, and "Secrets of the eBay Millionaires," both published by Osborne-McGraw Hill. Find out more on Greg's website, which includes his blog, a list of his books, and his fiction and biographical writing.

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