eBay is entering the territory of mobile shopping app Shopkick with the latest update in the e-commerce giant’s barcode scanning app, RedLaser. Today, eBay is adding geofencing to its RedLaser application and partnering with BestBuy to allow users to see special offers, browse open-stock items, and view items relevant to them right when they step into one of the electronics retailer’s 1,100 locations. You can download the new version of the app here.
For background, eBay acquired the barcode scanning mobile apps (iOS and Android) from Occipital in June 2010. The basic technology allows users to comparison shop on the go. Anyone can scan a barcode on an item at a store and then automatically access any eBay listings and local availability (courtesy of Milo) of the product on the marketplace. Sellers can also use the scanning technology to scan and item and list the product in very little time. RedLaser’s technology has also been integrated into eBay’s dedicated iPhone and Android apps.
With geofencing, eBay is clearly entering the territory that Shopkick has commanded. Both applications sense when a user is in a store and will deliver them personalized offers and rewards based on their location and the products they scan with the mobile app. This could include local discounts available at that particular store, installation services, special warranties, etc. RedLaser will also show accessories that might go with a product the customer intends to purchase. So if you’re buying a digital camera, RedLaser may show a recommended lens for the device. And the app will show “open box” inventory available at any particular Best Buy store, where the customer can get a discount on a product that has been previously opened.
But for now, RedLaser only supports Best Buy locations, whereas Shopkick has deals in place with Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Crate & Barrel, as well as 40 brands ( including P&G, Unilever, Kraft, Colgate, Clorox, Disney, HP, and Intel).
Rob Veres, general manager of RedLaser, explains that the update and addition of geofencing is “about putting more information in the hands of the consumer.” He adds that this is just a starting point and that there are plans to add additional retailers.
In addition to the new geofencing capability, RedLaser includes the ability for users to research and shop for items at Best Buy, Toys ‘R’ Us, and GNC, with the option to buy now for in-store pick-up or home delivery.
And shoppers can now search for coupons and offers from their favorite stores with RedLaser Deals powered by RetailMeNot. The app is ramping up personalization with a new recommendations feature. Based on what has been searched before, RedLaser will recommend items relevant to each user on the app’s home screen. A user can also see what others are scanning at that moment.
RedLaser is also getting into the loyalty card game. Customers can scan their loyalty cards from retailers like BestBuy, and RedLaser will store this information. The app will highlight available deals at these retailers so they can get their rewards.
As we can see from today’s update, eBay envisions RedLaser to become more than just a barcode scanning app. Veres says that the company has been looking at how people use the app to save money and shop, and adding more abilities beyond scanning made sense.