Smart Phones and UPC Barcodes

How to get your product’s UPC Barcode to show on Smartphone Barcode Scanners.

According to Scanlife (and based on the scanning of barcodes through their ScanLife system) UPC barcode scanning doubled in 2011 from 2000.

Nearly 1,000,000 UPC barcodes were scanned in the first 3 quarters of 2011. This number does not take into consideration the scanning of UPC or EAN barcodes with other barcode scanner apps like Red Laser or Shop Savvy. 63% of the people scanning are between the ages of 25 and 44 and the gender is 43% female and 57% male.

Their application scans both UPC Barcodes and QR Codes. The total number of scans to date in 2011 was 20 million. QR Codes represented 19,000,000 scans. For information about QR codes, watch our video here: http://www.mediamediainc.com/qr-code-strategies/ or here:

http://www.nationwidebarcode.com/how-to-create-a-successful-qr-code-campaign/

Barcode Scanners

The two Smart Phone that we prefer are Shop Savvy http://shopsavvy.mobi/ and Red Laser http://redlaser.com/

These seem to be the barcode scanning apps that are the most robust and are free.

There a few different ways to get your data into smart phone UPC barcode scanning apps. We have found that Google is the fastest and has the most benefits.

The easiest way to do this is to set up an account with Google Merchant and upload your product information.

According to Google:

Google Merchant Center is a tool which helps you upload your product listings to be used for Google Product Search, Google Product Ads, and Google Commerce Search.

Google Product Search allows shoppers to quickly and easily find your product listings on Google. As a seller, Google Product Search offers you the following advantages:

Attract more potential buyers. Google Product Search helps you to reach shoppers while they are searching for items to buy on Google.

Submit your product listings for free. Google Product Search is a free service to sellers.

Control your product information. With Google Product Search, you can maintain the accuracy and freshness of your product information, so your customers find the relevant, current items they’re looking for.

Google Product Search is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany, France, Japan, China, Italy, theNetherlands, and Spain.

By linking your Google AdWords and Merchant Center accounts, you will be able to surface your products directly in your Google.com search ads. Product Ads includes two ad formats: Product Listing Ads and Product Extensions. Product Listing Ads are currently available only in the U.S. Product Extensions are available in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Germany and France.

 Commerce Search is a new service which allows online retailers to utilize Google’s search technology to power their retail sites. This service is currently available in the U.S., U.K., Germany, andAustralia.

Google Merchant is located at www.google.com/merchants

Getting Started

You need a Google Account (very handy for a lot of reasons) and then you need to set up your Google Merchant Account.

They will ask you for some very basic information when you sign up including your Store Name, Description, Website URL, Address, Phone, Customer Service, Private Contact Info and Technical Contact information.

Once you add your Merchant information, navigate back to the dashboard. You will see a message asking you to verify and claim your website URL. This is a very important step.

When you will click on the General Settings Link, you will see this message:

There are two methods: Recommended and Alternate.

You need to have ftp access to your site for the recommended method. The Alternate method requires that you add a meta tag to your sites home page, associate to your Google Analytics account or add a DNS record to your domains configuration. For this tutorial, we will use the Recommended method.

  1. Download an html verification file
  2. Upload the file to your website
  3. Confirm successful upload (they have an easy click link to verify)
  4. Click the Verify button

Creating a Data Feed

To create a data feed, you have to create a .txt file that you will be uploading to Google Merchant.

For a sample data feed, you can download them here:
http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?answer=160588

For ease of use, we have downloaded the .xls version and we will convert it to a .txt file later. The file that you download is not entirely correct.

The data feed file needs to contain an ID, Title, Description, Link to your website, Price for each item, Brand, Condition, Link to Image, ISBN, MPN (Part Number), UPC, Weight, Product Type Category, Quantity Available, Shipping and Tax. Before saving the file, delete any categories that you do not use. If there are critical errors, you will get an error message so you can add the additional data.

The full list of categories is here: http://www.google.com/support/merchants/bin/answer.py?answer=160081

For the purpose of our product, barcodes, we are selecting:
Business & Industrial > Manufacturing.

When you go to this Google help page, you can select the categories and subcategories. Once you find the one that you want, you can click on the one you want and the full taxonomy will open up allowing you to cut and paste it into your browser.

Once your list is done, save it as a .txt file (tab delimited text file). We are saving ours as nwb_feed2.txt Also save it as an .xls file (Native Excel) so you can easily make changes next time you upload.

Our data feed looks like this

Uploading your data feeds.

Type in the name of your file (Example data_feed.txt) and click SAVE CHANGES

After you save changes, you will come back to this screen:

Click on the link that says MANUAL UPLOAD. Another window will open up. Choose File and then Upload and Process the file

It can take a few minutes to an hour to process depending on the size of your file.

Once your file is processed you will see an updated status. If you have errors, you should delete the file and fix the errors. Once fixed, re-upload the file

We were able to upload the entire file without errors.

Note that the list uploaded will expire in 30 days.

By clicking on the link that says Create Schedule, you can create an automatic upload to Google Merchant.

This requires that you have ftp access to your website.

Upload your file (we have uploaded to the root directory) and fill in the info in the window that opens for your schedule.

Since you have already manually uploaded this file, you will want to click on the button ‘schedule’.

This will take you back to your dashboard.

Now, click on Products. When you click here, you will see a complete list of all of the products that you have uploaded. It will take a few hours for the Product Search and Product Ads to process. Once this is done, your screen will look like this:

It will take 24 hours or less for most of the barcode scanners to have your product(s) included in their search.

When we scan one of our UPC barcodes that we assigned to our product (barcodes), the picture below is the result of the scan.

Find your product by UPC barcode

This screen is from Red Laser. When someone scans the barcode, they are able to navigate from this screen to the website associated with the product.