Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tipping Point: Mobile Barcodes

With any new product or service there is a tipping point. A tipping point when it takes off. Before the tipping point, many people will say the product or service will not take off. They say it will die off. Some will even ask what the point of supporting the product since it’s not going to take off.

Depending on location, different products will tip and others won’t. Let’s take Groupon for example. Groupon each day features a coupon for a discounted service or product. Each day the coupon has a tipping point. Groupon calls this tipping point “on.” Sometimes the deal tips quickly and other times it does not.

Once the deal tips, it takes off. In 2010, on average there were 543 sales per groupon daily. When the deal tips, many more people rush and buy. However, there are times when a product is dependent on another product tipping before it tips. Two dimensional barcodes are an example.

For 2D barcodes to tip, they are dependent on smartphones tipping first.

2D barcodes originated in Japan in 1993. Japan had a greater number of smartphones the past several years than the United States. Since Japan reached the tipping point of smartphones, 2D barcodes were able to tip quicker there than they have been in the US.
Smartphones are now starting to permeate the mobile phone market in the US. Over the past three months 55% of mobile consumers purchased a smartphone. For the first time, smartphones have overtaken feature phones in sales.

With smartphones now being sold more than feature phones, I believe we have reached the tipping point of smartphones and soon will see 2D barcodes take off.

The tipping point of a product coincides with the product life cycle.

When the product hits the maturity stage, it begins to tip. 2D barcodes are still in their growth but will shortly mature.

Even though Google ended its support for support for QR codes in Google Places in March, Google made a move this week back into 2D barcodes with acquiring Punchd.As Google moves back into the mobile barcode arena will this cause an increase in 2D barcodes? I believe so.

There are even cities becoming coded. Asheville, North Carolina is making a move to get every business a mobile barcode.

My suggestion, don’t wait until everyone is doing it to get on board. Start now so you will be prepared and ahead of the curve. When creating your mobile barcode, make sure you have mobile content to send your user to. Websites are complex enough when looking at them on a computer. Don’t make your consumer view your website on a screen that is less than a quarter the size.


Creative Slave said...

Are you sure Google's purchase of Punchd means they will start using QR codes again? Maybe the plan is to use Punchd with Google Googles?

Lane J said...

The only people who know how Google will use Punchd is Google. But I can't imagine they would abandon a model they just acquired. I guess we will have to wait and see.