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mobile payment

Mobile payments: 10 years to reinvent the wheel?

Mobile payments for train travel was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003, but has not reached London yet

Mobile payments: Tokyo (mobile SUICA) vs. London (OYSTER)

Mobile payments are big: Reuters estimates that the mobile payment market will be about US$ 1000 Billion by 2016, and in Japan just a single railway line achieves already now several US$ billion in mobile payments per year.

Mobile payments in London:

On July 17, 2012 The Wall Street Journal reports, that as far as Transport for London is concerned, there is no viable mobile payment solution at this time:

  • Transport for London sees no way to use mobile payments at ticket barriers at this time, because the technology is not advanced enough
  • London’s state-of the art mobile payment transactions take longer than 500 milli-seconds which is too slow for Transport for London requirements

Mobile payments in Tokyo:

While no viable solution has yet been found in London, in Tokyo millions of people use “mobile SUICA” mobile payments every day at Tokyo’s rail, subway, tram lines and buses:

  • mobile payments at ticket barriers were first demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 (photo below shows a demonstration at a trade show in Tokyo in 2004)
  • “mobile SUICA” mobile payments were commercially introduced to the public since January 28, 2006
  • payment transactions take 100 milli-seconds or less, which would fulfill Transport for London’s speed requirements
  • in addition mobile SUICA also has a full e-money function, and can be used at 1000s of stores all over Japan for payments, and for 1000s km of high-speed trains all over the main island of Japan, between Hakata and Aomori.

Mobile payments: Why does it take at least ten years to reinvent the mobile payment wheel in London?

Why is it that a problem the solution of which was demonstrated in Tokyo in 2003 and put to commercial use every day since January 28, 2006 without any problems, has not yet been solved in London even today?

The answer to this question is of course complex, and you will find elements of a discussion of this question on pages 185-188 of our mobile payment report (click here for free download which includes pages 185 – 188, pdf-file).

In our opinion the answer for this huge delay even today in the age of globalization and internet is a combination of:

  • human nature and
  • the huge communication gap and disconnect between European organizations and companies and Japanese organizations and companies and
  • the totally different way in which banking systems, payment systems, and also the commercial structure and way of thinking of transportation companies are organized regulated in EU vs Japan.

Mobile payments in Japan vs Apple Pay

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2014/09/16/why-apple-pay-isnt-as-revolutionary-as-it-seems.html

We have been working on mobile payment and e-money issues here in Tokyo for about 10 years or longer, and you may be interested in some of our reports:

Copyright 2012 -2019 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

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Economics Finance Galapagos effect mobile payment

Will cash become obsolete?

Gave presentation to the Telecommunications Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan (ACCJ) on October 7, 2009, entitled “Will cash become obsolete? E-money, mobile payments and mobile commerce”.

Talk was attended by about 30-40 executives from major global telecom operators, global banks, new-age payment companies, and from major internet companies.

Outline:

What is money?

  1. Medium of exchange
  2. Unit of account
  3. Store of value
  4. (Standard of deferred payment, unit for debt)

e-Cash value to society:

  • reduced cash handling costs
  • Higher transaction speed
  • Convenience
  • Greater security (especially mobile) vs. reduced privacy

Why should be care? (Summary)

  • Electronic money is here to stay
  • One e-money card/Japanese person
  • 2% of banknotes and coins today
  • YEN 100 billion outstanding
  • YEN 100 billion transactions/month
  • Japan is far in advance, rest-of-world is likely to follow. But can Japan capture the value? maybe not.
  • However: “Galapagos syndrome

More information in our reports:
Mobile payments, e-money and mobile credit in Japan
SUICA and NFC payment for transport
QR codes are also used for payment

Categories
mobile payment

M-payments and e-money grow exponentially

1 Billion e-money transactions/month around 2014

Exponential growth: The number of e-cash payments per month increases by a factor of 10 about every 4 years

E-money transactions (including mobile e-cash) grow exponentially in Japan, and we expect to see 1 Billion e-money transactions/month around 2014 (this figure would be much bigger if contactless train travel tickets were included). e-Money now represents about 2% of all cash (banknotes + coins) in circulation in Japan, a recent examination of e-money by the Bank of Japan shows. More below, and a detailed analysis in our mobile payment and e-money report, where we combine the newest data from the Bank of Japan with our own research data.

Exponential growth: The number of e-cash payments per month increases by a factor of 10 about every 4 years

We expect 1 billion e-money transactions per month around 2014. Green curve shows payments with Suica, Pasmo and Edy (not including train travel). The blue curve shows data for all e-money transactions researched by the Bank of Japan.

Total number of e-money transactions in Japan per month
Total number of e-money transactions in Japan per month

Research by the Bank of Japan shows that e-money has reached the level of 2% of all cash in circulation (bank notes and coins).

e-Money as a percentage of total money in Japan
e-Money as a percentage of total money in Japan

To know more – and to find detailed statistical data: read our mobile payment reports

Mobile payments in Japan vs Apple Pay

https://www.cnbc.com/video/2014/09/16/why-apple-pay-isnt-as-revolutionary-as-it-seems.html

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright 2013 -2019 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment

10 years e-cash and mobile payments

Mobile phone payments with RFID start in Japan in 2003

i-Mode mobile payments started in Japan in 1999

10 years ago – 1999 – the global mobile payment revolution started in Japan: with i-mode introducing an essentially Japan-only highly successful micropayment system for online content and brick-and-mortar based m-commerce, and SONY’s Edy starting e-cash experiments in Tokyo’s Osaki district. In 2003 SONY’s Felica IC semiconductor chips were combined with mobile phones to introduce the first “wallet phones” (“saifu keitai”). Today the majority of mobile phones in Japan are wallet phones.

For the last 10 years, Japan has been a laboratory for mobile payments and e-cash, conducting a test on 125 million population on which mobile payment and e-cash models work and which don’t. -> We can all learn from Japan’s 10 years of experimentation which mobile payment business models are likely to work, and which might fail!

Edy stands for Euro, Dollar, Yen… expressing the hope for global success – Intel Capital believes in this success and has invested in the company that runs Edy: BitWallet (initially backed by SONY and now acquired by Rakuten).

Which are the most effective e-cash systems?

While SONY has distributed the largest number of cards, in our view the world’s largest (by payment volume) and most effective e-cash and mobile payment system is operated by the world’s largest railway company: SUICA and mobile SUICA.

Edy, SUICA and other e-cash usage in Japan
Edy, SUICA and other e-cash usage in Japan

the world’s most effective railway company in our view also operates the world’s most effective mobile commerce system: The Express Card / EX-IC system.

Although we only have official figures for FY2008, we estimate that in 2009 about US$ 3 billion worth of train tickets are sold via JR-Tokai’s Express card system for a single train line – and much of this by m-commerce via mobile phone. JR-Tokai’s Express card system is an entirely different system than the i-Phone – but an equally friendly and efficient design solution. (For a case study of JR-Tokai’s Express card system download our report).

Mobile payment for Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan
Mobile payment for Shinkansen high-speed trains in Japan

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment QR codes

Top 10 mobile trends for 2009

Answering the question “Top 10 mobile trends for 2009: what would you choose?” We answer from our perspective here in Tokyo:

  1. Mobile payments and wallet phones
    see our mobile payment report
  2. GPS and location based services (LBS) such as navigation and mapping
    see our location based services (LBS) report
  3. Mobile search including location related search
  4. QR codes and other 2D bar codes for information input into mobile phones
    see our location based services (LBS) report
  5. Ultra low cost mobile phones for low end not only in emerging markets but also in advanced countries in economic crisis times
  6. Subsidized $1 mini-laptops with flat rate HSDPA (7.2Mbps) data plans
  7. WiMax networks come into commercial service
  8. Embedded B2B applications
  9. Beautiful OLED ultra-high resolution screens (bigger than iPhone displays)
  10. Mobile agent services

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
Mobile mobile payment

Nanaco – e-cash and m-cash for Seven-Eleven

Seven-Eleven rolls out national electronic money and mobile payment system

Retail chain AEON follows with WAON e-cash and mobile money

This week two of Japan’s largest retail chains roll out electronic and mobile cash: Monday April 23rd, 2007 the Seven & I Holdings Group started “nanaco” and tomorrow, Friday April 27th, 2007, the AEON retail group will start “WAON”.

For detailed documentation and analysis of Japan’s highly developed e-money and mobile payment sector, download and read our report “Mobile payments, e-money and mobile credit in Japan”.

At first sight the massive roll-out of electronic cash and mobile payments systems during March and April this year here in Japan has been smooth and without problems (except for PASMO underestimating the success and running out of cards). However, when we look below the surface, clouds of a competitive storm are brewing. This storm might be followed by consolidation. Here are some examples:

PASMO cards were sold out within the first three weeks, and PASMO is now losing market share (and commission payments) to SUICA day-by-day – PASMO became a victim of it’s own success.

Seven-Eleven’s nanaco and AEON’s WAON use different business model variations

7-11’s “nanaco” offers twice as much discount as AEON Group’s “WAON”. Clearly “nanaco” is on a more aggressive course than “WAON”. We expect competition to heat up.

By the way- on Wednesday April 25th, 2007, two days after Seven-Eleven’s national roll-out of their e-money and mobile payment system, our company Eurotechnology Japan KK arranged a meeting between Seven-Eleven’s Chief e-Money architect and manager with the top-management of one of Europe’s most important mobile operators to enable the European operator to almost live experience an important global mile-stone in the development of e-money and mobile payments. To this day, to our knowledge, there is nothing like Seven-Eleven’s nanaco e-money and mobile payments system in Europe.

E-cash business model schematics

Schematic of Seven-Eleven’s nanaco e-money and mobile payment system
Schematic of Seven-Eleven’s nanaco e-money and mobile payment system

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
mobile payment

PASMO: IC cards for transport

On Sunday, March 18, 2007, about 100 transportation companies in the Tokyo region switched to the near-field electronic money and payment system PASMO. Electronic money is a new battle field which JR-East pioneered with SUICA. Seven & I is still to throw it’s weight into the battle – read about today’s status of the electronic money marketplace in our “Mobile Payment and Keitai Credit” report.

A new multi-billion dollar power? Here is the character for PASMO: with an antenna on the hat, a pocket on the chest to store PASMO away, and wheels on the shoes, and in cherry-blossom pink… Does this cherry-blossom-pink guy look like he represents a new US$ multi-billion economic power?

PASMO - near field smart card for fare payment in Tokyo region
PASMO – near field smart card for fare payment in Tokyo region – started Sunday, March 18, 2007 and exceeded all expectations

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
mobile payment

Mobile payment and the future of money (presentation at CLSA Japan Forum)

Can e-money and mobile payment replace cash?

Example: mobile payment for the world’s busiest train line

CLSA – Asia-Pacific Markets – last week organized the “CLSA Japan Forum” here in Tokyo. About 800-1000 investment bankers, portfolio managers, investors, analysts came together. Since last year interest of global investors in Japan has increased a lot.

Eurotechnology Japan KK participated actively, and on Friday March 2, 2007, gave a presentation on:

“Impact of mobile payment and the future of money”

Mobile payment and the future of money (presentation at CLSA Japan Forum)

The presentation covers the following agenda:

  • Can e-money and mobile payment replace cash?
  • Example: mobile payment for the world’s busiest train line
  • DoCoMo’s target for mobile payments
  • Japan’s mobile payment and keitai credit landscape
  • Free markets vs regulation
  • Mifare and Felica chips and radio communications (NFC)
  • Who drives mobile payments
  • Growth of SUICA
  • DoCoMo’s mobile payment and keitai credit strategy
  • Edy – electronic cash
  • A major bank’s mobile payment system
  • Impact
  • Where to invest – who to watch
  • Summary

More information:
“Mobile payment and keitai credit” (download here)

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment

3G Summit and Mobile Payment workshop

Mobile Payment workshop and Global 3G Evolution Forum in Tokyo – Makuhari

3GPP, UMTS-Forum, Verizon and Docomo and others

22-25 January 2007 MarcusEvans organized the “Global 3G Evolution Forum” in Makuhari near Tokyo.

Speakers included:

  • Takanori Utano, Executive Vice-President and CTO of DoCoMo,
  • Takehiro Nakamura of NTT and Vice-Chairman of 3GPP
  • Jean-Pierre Bienaime, Chairman of the UMTS-Forum,
  • Gaston Ormazabal of Verizon Labs

and many other leading mobile communications managers from all over the world.

Jointly with Jan Larsson, General Strategy Manager of TeliaSonera International Carrier division, I chaired all sessions all day on Wednesday January 24, 2007.

Workshop on mobile payments

On Monday, January 22, 2007, I held a three hour workshop about “Mobile Payment”.

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile mobile payment QR codes

Barcodes for mobile payment

Mobile operators expand into mobile payments and mobile credit

Mobile phones use qr codes for payments

Japan’s mobile operators DoCoMo, KDDI/AU and SoftBank are expanding their business into mobile payment and mobile credit, traditionally the realm of banks, credit card companies, financial institutions and cash. With the bubble/post-bubble bad loans problem largely resolved and the mega-mergers completed, Japan’s banks are now ready again to develop new business.

Customer’s camera phone reads the barcode or QR-code on an utility bill or mailorder invoice, and forwards secure payment instructions to the customer’s bank account.

What is the expected impact?

  1. Expect positive impact on Mizuho’s earnings
  2. Today such payments are typically made by walking to the nearest convenience store: expect negative impact on convenience stores which handle much of the barcode based bill payments today
  3. Expect additional competitors with alternative methods to compete with Mizuho in the domain of mobile phone based bill payments

bar codes for utility payment
bar codes for utility payment

More about mobile payments in our “Mobile Payment and Keitai Credit Report”

More about QR codes in our “QR Code Report”

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
M&A Mobile mobile music mobile payment

NTT Docomo acquisitions: Tower Records – No music, no life!

Docomo acquires music retail know-how and a laboratory for mobile payments at the point-of-sale

NTT Docomo acquisitions: 32.34% of Tower Records a major share of Japan’s second largest Credit Card issuer

Nikkei reports several NTT Docomo acquisitions: DoCoMo will use a total investment of around YEN 10 Billion (approx US$ 100 million) to acquire 32.24% of Tower Records Japan’s shares from Nikko Principal Investments Japan Ltd, and additional shares in a third party allotment taking it’s stake to around 40%. Tower Records Japan plans an IPO, and DoCoMo apparently intends to keep a 33.4% controlling stake even after the IPO.

Tower Records Japan was founded by the US-company Tower Records in August 1979 in a pioneering entry by Tower Records into the Japanese market. At that time, almost all foreign companies entering Japan formed a joint venture with a Japanese company or licensed their brand to a Japanese company. Tower Records instead acquired an unrelated Japanese company with the same name (“Tower Records”) and built it’s business in Japan successfully alone without a Japanese joint venture partner.

In October 2002, Tower Records Japan became independent of the US mother company through a Management Buy-out by Japanese management.

NTT Docomo acquisitions strategy

Repordedly, DoCoMo aims to implement many synergies including:

  • promotion of mobile FeliCa wallet phones for mobile payments
  • use of mobile FeliCa wallet phones for customer relationship management (CRM), reward points, and customer data collection for marketing purposes
  • Napster Japan: Since about 1/2 of official content sales of i-mode is from mobile music, and since Tower Records Japan is about to launch Napster-Japan in a joint venture with Napster, we expect DoCoMo to become involved in online music distribution through Napster Japan.

NTT Docomo acquisitions: The bigger picture

Acquisition of a controlling stake in Tower Records is the latest step in a string of investments by DoCoMo, to expand revenue into new areas independent of ever shrinking voice and data traffic related charges. Recent investments include:

  • Mitsui-Sumitomo Credit Cards (Japan’s No. 2 credit card issuer)
  • joint venture with Rakuten for mobile auctions

With more than 100 stores the Tower Records Japan investment will give DoCoMo an excellent experimentation ground to develop many new ways of using FeliCa wallet phones in a real-life retail environment.

More about:

Copyright (c) 2005 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment

BBC TV interview about FeliCa wallet phones

Read our CEO’s interview on BBC World TV about FeliCa wallet phones.

Watch the movie of the interview:
Windows Media Player – Bandwith = Low|Medium|High
Real Player – Bandwith = Low|Medium|High

Read our report Mobile payments in Japan.

Copyright·©2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Categories
Mobile

Wireless Japan 2005 Show (July 13-15, 2005 in Tokyo)

Six years into the wireless internet revolution which started February 1999 in Japan

Docomo’s and KDDI’s latest wireless innovation, concept mobile phones, mobile payments

Wireless Japan 2005 marks six years of mobile internet in Japan, which started February 1999 in Tokyo. Now in the sixth year, wireless internet, i-Mode and EZweb and J-Sky are maturing, mobile payment solutions are being introduced.

Some highlights:

  • VOIP – 3G
  • fixed line – wLAN integration
  • first push-to-talk (PTT) appearance in Japan – will PTT arrive in Japan?
  • KDDI joined DoCoMo’s mobile FeliCa camp, and demos first EZ-FeliCa handsets and mobile SUICA
  • new 3G-entrant e-Mobile shows it’s flag
  • PHS-carrier Willcom from strength to strength
  • Vodafone again absent – focuses on turn-round

Wireless Japan 2005: Mobile FeliCa wallet phones and mobile payment

KDDI has timed it’s entry to DoCoMo’s mobile FeliCa camp to coincide with the time, when the railway nearfield payment card SUICA with 10 million users will join the mobile FeliCa system. KDDI demonstrated the first EZ-FeliCa phones:

EZ-Felica: RFID payments for KDDI's AU mobile phones
EZ-Felica: RFID payments for KDDI’s AU mobile phones

DoCoMo is expanding the penetration for mobile FeliCa, demonstrating “TownPocket”: TownPocket is a FeliCa terminal, where users can link their phones via the FeliCa reader/writer interface to pick up local information. Possibilities are to bookmark automatically the URL of a shop or a sightseeing spot, or to send or receive an email with local information.

“TownPocket”: information terminals linking RFID equipped phones to local area information
EZ-FeliCa: RFID mobile payment gates for KDD-AU mobile phones
EZ-FeliCa: RFID mobile payment gates for KDD-AU mobile phones
Townpocket RFID check-in point
Townpocket RFID check-in point

Popularity of DoCoMo’s 901iS series accelerates DoCoMo’s transition to 3G.

3G phones by Fujitsu: F3091iS
3G phones by Fujitsu: F3091iS

Fuel cells for mobile phones

With mobile phones quickly becoming pocket sized music centers in competition to iPod’s but in much larger numbers, battery life is a problem. Fuel cells give hope for longer life till the next recharge. As you can see in the picture, the prototype fuel cells are still too large for daily use:

Fuel cells for KDDI phones: fuel cell demonstrations for mobile phones have been demonstrated for many years at trade shows in Japan, but they have not made it to the market yet
Fuel cells for KDDI phones: fuel cell demonstrations for mobile phones have been demonstrated for many years at trade shows in Japan, but they have not made it to the market yet

Hitachi shows a prototype future generation phone with:

  • ultra-3G
  • digital terrestrial TV tuner
  • hard disk
  • fuel cell

also shown is the recharge for the fuel-cell:

Hitachi prototype: fuel cell powered mobile phone
Hitachi prototype: fuel cell powered mobile phone

Concept multimedia phones

Futuristic concept phones are a tradition at the Wireless Japan show. The following images show multi-media concept phones:

Concept phone models
Concept phone models

This flask-stile multimedia presenter shows images on flake-like suspended displays. Presentation of particular images helps to create the mood of the moment:

Concepts
Concepts

Media phone:

Concept phone
Concept phone

Digital rights management (DRM) concept study. Digital rights are sold in the style of wrapped sweets, and can be played or eaten. Dropping a digital-right-sweet into the receptacle plays the music or the video corresponding to this right. The sweets/DRMs can be eaten up after their value has been used up:

Digital Rights Management (DRM) concepts
Digital Rights Management (DRM) concepts

e-Mobile

e-Mobile is preparing for it’s debut in Japan’s mobile phone market, most likely from 2006 or 2007. While new mobile entrant Softbank was not at the Wireless Japan show, e-Mobile had a massive prototype and concept presentation.

First presentations by new market entrant
First presentations by new market entrant “em” eMobile
First presentation by new entrant eMobile
First presentation by new entrant eMobile “em”
New entrant eMobile
New entrant eMobile

e-Mobile showed a range of concepts for the services being developed with partners Fujitsu and Lucent. Good phones and solid concepts, but nothing surprising yet at this stage.

KDDI

KDDI had a very large impressive show of AU’s range of mobile phones, business software applications, it’s range of mobile portals including comics, books, auctions, music and shopping, and EZ-FelIca’s debut as shown higher up. An attraction was a robot display, the robot is controled via blue-tooth by mobile phone:

KDDI demonstration: mobile phone as a remote control for robots
KDDI demonstration: mobile phone as a remote control for robots
KDDI presents mobile phones as controllers for robots
KDDI presents mobile phones as controllers for robots
Mobile phones control robots
Mobile phones control robots
Mobile phones control robots
Mobile phones control robots

We have substantial documentation about the Wireless Japan 2005 exhibition, and most other year’s Wireless Japan exhibitions. If you need information or documentation for prior art or other investigations, please contact us.

Learn more: report on Japan’s telecom sector (269 pages, pdf file):

Copyright 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile payment

Mobile Payment Forum meeting in Tokyo

Mobile Payment Forum and Eurotechnology Japan KK jointly organize the Mobile Payment Forum meeting in Tokyo

Japan leads the world in mobile payments and m-commerce

by Gerhard Fasol

The Mobile Payment Forum promotes usage of mobile phones for payments, and works on interoperability, usability and standardization issues.

The major credit card companies (VISA, Mastercard, American Express…) together with the leading mobile phone makers (Nokia, Motorola, NEC…), and mobile operators (Vodafone, DoCoMo, TIM, T-Mobile, Sprint…) lead the Mobile Payment Forum.

On April 4, 2005, the Members and Directors for the first time held their meeting in Tokyo

On April 4, 2005, the Members and Directors for the first time held their meeting in Tokyo. Eurotechnology Japan KK took part in the organization of the meeting, and Gerhard Fasol gave an almost 2 hour long keynote presentation about mobile payment in Japan.

Mobile Payment Forum discovers KDDI, introduced by Eurotechnology Japan KK

At this meeting, I also had the opportunity to introduce KDDI to the Mobile Payment Forum – there was no previous relationship between KDDI and Mobile Payment Forum.

KDDI gave a keynote, and explained KDDI’s mobile payment business, and in particular also the recent success of mobile books, mobile novels, and mobile manga: ebooks, novels and manga specially produced for mobile phones.

Mobile Payment Forum Member’s meeting in Tokyo: “Mobile Payment Forum is a cross-industry organization launched in November 2001 to create a framework for standardized, secure and authenticated mobile payments, based on payment card accounts. The Forum intends to quickly and efficiently act as the bridge between the mobile and financial industries to accelerate the maturity of the mobile marketplace”.

Mobile payment Japan, e-money and mobile credit report:

Copyright (c) 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
ecommerce Galapagos effect Mobile mobile payment QR codes Software

Amazon.co.jp captures mobile purchases directly inside competing brick-and-mortar stores with barcode i-appli

Amazon.co.jp introduced a barcode reader i-Appli (JAVA application for DoCoMo’s i-Mode phones), with which shoppers in brick-and-mortar stores can directly compare the prices with Amazon.co.jp’s mobile webstore prices. If the shopper prefers, he/she can order directly by i-Mode mobile phone from Amazon.co.jp online while still standing in front of the shelves of the brick-and-mortar store.

With this barcode reading mobile phone application (i-Appli), Amazon.co.jp is directly taking the competition into brick-and-mortar stores, battling on the same ground.

User interface of Amazon.co.jp’s barcode reading i-Appli – click to scan:

With Amazon.co.jp's barcode scan application customers shopping in a store can compare prices with Amazon.co.jp's ecommerce prices, and if cheaper, can order from Amazon.co.jp directly
With Amazon.co.jp’s barcode scan application customers shopping in a store can compare prices with Amazon.co.jp’s ecommerce prices, and if cheaper, can order from Amazon.co.jp directly from the mobile phone

The customer can directly scan the barcode with his/her Docomo i-Mode phone, and the Amazon.co.jp barcode i-Appli:

Customer scans the barcode in a store using the Amazon.co.jp bar code application on a DoCoMo i-mode phone
Customer scans the barcode in a store using the Amazon.co.jp bar code application on a DoCoMo i-mode phone

On the next screen Amazon.co.jp’s i-Appli shows the same product’s page in the Amazon.co.jp mobile store. The customer can directly order with one click if he/she prefers Amazon.co.jp’s offer instead of the brick-and-mortar store, where he/she is currently shopping. This i-Appli allows Amazon.co.jp to catch customers from within traditional stores.

After scanning the barcode, the Amazon.co.jp i-appli directly shows the price and order page of the same product on the Amazon.co.jp mobile site
After scanning the barcode, the Amazon.co.jp i-appli directly shows the price and order page of the same product on the Amazon.co.jp mobile site

Read our QR-code report for in-depth analysis and lots of applications of QR-codes and bar codes in Japan.