Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blog 1- Bar Codes

Recently, companies have begun to incorporate scanable barcodes on advertisements such as magazines, posters, billboards, and now television. My article is about the clothing company Bluefly using 2-D barcodes that allow the customer to obtain more information on their products. Bluefly was one of the first American companies to use their quick response barcode on television commercials. By sparking the curiosity of the consumer, companies like Bluefly can attract more website views which in effect leads to more buying of their products. The fact that Bluefly’s 2-D barcode commercial airs on the television channels Bravo and Lifetime is very important in the success of their device. It is more likely that a woman will be watching lifetime or Bravo than ESPN. Not only is channel location important but also the location in which the bar code is placed. I believe that this product can be useful in attracting people in a quick manner, but if no one notices the barcode than it is not successfully helping the company. I think that this product could be successful because today’s world is based on speed and how fast one can get information.

One concern that has been brought up regarding the barcode is the amount of people that have mobile smart phones. I think that this is problematic for some companies because this barcode technique would be targeting the upper, middle class or the people who can afford these phones. In effect, they would totally be missing a whole demographic of people, the people who can only afford standard mobile fun or no phone at all. That said, in the case of Bluefly they are trying to attract upper middle class women that can afford nice clothing. The article states that in 2010, it was predicted that 25 percent of all phones were smart phones. But by the end of 2011, this will have changed, making smart phones more popular than the standard phone.

Furthermore, the barcode can be used for spreading additional information not mentioned in the commercial. If a customer were to use the barcode, they would be able to experience sales on different items of clothing or special offers provided by Bluefly. Another problem that I see arising with this new barcode system is whether people will have trouble using this device. For many years, adults have used standard cell phones and may not be willing to venture out of their comfort zone. For many people, it might be just as easy to go on the computer, go on the Internet, and go to Bluefly’s website. Therefore, I believe that companies like Bluefly should be targeting our generation because we are more technologically advanced than the one before us. I would suggest that Bluefly and, other companies that intend on using this strategy regularly, provide directions on how to successfully use the barcode function. They should never assume that everyone knows how to use the program. Furthermore, I believe that Bluefly should also provide their URL just in case a person does not own a smart phone or cannot figure out how to use it.

I found it interesting that in 2008 the New Times’ Elizabeth Olson wrote an article called Bar Code Sales Tool Is Failing Campus Test. The article explained how many cell phones did not have the technology to use the barcode form of advertising. Another problem that many people had with the pilot of the barcode was that standard text rate was expensive and not worth the use. Three years later, companies such as Bluefly have harnessed this unique capability and have used it to take advantage of an expanding market. I think the barcode is becoming a more efficient way of marketing a company’s website, attracting more views, and more sales.

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