Scan-to-buy gets a trial on television

Source: Stephanie Clifford, The New York Times

In a television experiment, shoppers this weekend watching HSN, the shopping network, can scan their TV screens with a smartphone to learn more about the products on display, and, HSN hopes, become more inclined to buy them. The network on Friday began running so-called QR codes, patterned data squares similar to bar codes, on its high-definition channel. The codes, featured on the corner of the screen, correspond to products for sale. A scan brings the shopper to a product page on HSN’s mobile Web site or its app, where there is an easy link to the checkout page. Shoppers have for some time been able to scan QR codes in magazine ads or store windows, but HSN says this is a first for television. If viewers take to the HSN experiment, which runs through Monday, the network said a scan-to-buy feature — where a scan of the onscreen QR code would put the product directly in the viewer’s shopping cart — could be next.

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