But growing this line of business requires Scanbuy to overcome a number of hurdles, according to analysts.
“The data itself will need to be compelling, perhaps showing product relationships, sales and other data beyond what products were scanned, when and where,” said Greg Sterling, founding principal of Sterling Market Intelligence and a senior analyst at Internet2Go. “It may be necessary to strike a number of third-party data partnerships to connect more of the dots.”
Toward that end, Wehrs said Scanbuy has already closed four such deals with data-management platform (DMP) providers.
Yet Natalie Petouhoff, VP and principal analyst at Constellation Research, wondered how useful raw data from QR codes actually is.
“Once the companies who buy it get it, do they know what to do with it?” Petouhoff asked. “The value is not in the data … It is more in how that data provides insights to make business decisions.”
There is also the issue of whether QR code usage rates are dropping. ScanBuy said it processed 18 million scans in Q1 2013. That’s up from 13 million scans in Q1 2012, which in itself was up 157% over Q1 2011. Reports from research firms like comScore, however, show QR code usage rates as either declining or remaining flat.
And as Scanbuy extends its offerings, it faces competition from companies like Google, Apple and Digimarc that are also enhancing the QR code technology or developing alternatives for it. Apple’s iBeacon, for example, has received praise as a more seamless way of connecting in-store customers with a retailer’s website and other online sources.