Another new wrinkle in the e-commerce revolution

The retail industry continues to hurtle toward an omnichannel reality with the most recent example involving SharperImage.com and the integration of “buy now” mobile capabilities provided by Digimarc into its print catalogs.

SharperImage.com is using the Digimarc Discover platform to make it simple for consumers to simultaneously browse print catalogs, research and buy from their mobile device. Using a free app called Catalog Click enabled with Digimarc's technology, consumers can scan product images to make a purchase, read reviews, see additional product information, images and videos, according to the companies. This interactive print-to-mobile experience reaches four million households and businesses across the world, directly advancing SharperImage.com's m-commerce strategy.

"We know our catalogs drive customers to our e-commerce site, so we decided to make the shopping experience faster, easier and mobile-friendly," said David Katzman, managing partner of Camelot Venture Group, a private equity firm which licenses Sharper Image from Iconix Brand Group. "This interactive experience aligns well with our tech-savvy readership that is on the lookout for faster, more convenient ways to handle life's tasks. It doesn't get easier than scanning to learn more or proceed to checkout."

Each product image in the Shaper Image holiday catalog which arrived in homes November 4, includes an invisible and interactive digital watermark powered by the Digimarc Discover platform. Shoppers simply launch the free Catalog Click mobile app and scan the product image to be instantly connected to the mobile-optimized product site. Consumers can add the item to their cart, review customer ratings, see additional images of the product or save it to their "wish" list. The shopper can also share their find with others on Facebook, Twitter, Google + or Pinterest.

Digimarc Discover provides various engagement metrics including which items are most popular in the print catalog, much like Sharper Image can determine from their e-commerce site SharperImage.com. The metrics also include how many times a product was scanned and how many unique devices scanned each product. Unlike tags or QR codes, imperceptible digital watermarks don't require any real estate on the page and don't mar the design of the catalog.

"The Sharper Image catalog is a great representation of how retailers are blending their print and mobile experiences together into a seamless experience for consumers," said Ed Knudson, EVP of sales and marketing at Digimarc. "Beyond catalogs, retailers can 'mobilize' direct mail, magazines, product packaging, signage, television commercials, radio ads and more. Doing this they're able to collect the same engagement metrics from print and audio that they collect from their online campaigns."