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A Scan-Tastic App Goes Mainstream Where barcode scanning fits in a small-business sales strategy

By Dan O'Shea

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Taking a photo of the barcode on a product sitting on a store shelf may still draw stares from fellow shoppers. However, as more barcode-scanning applications become available on more mobile phones, barcode-savvy buying may become the norm.

That's what app developers Big in Japan, 3GVision, Autoniq and others are banking on. These players connected the dots between much-improved camera phone resolution and smartphone Internet access capabilities to create apps that read barcode photos or product IDs to unlock a wealth of Internet-based price comparisons, product reviews and other info that can be helpful to shoppers.

Big in Japan's ShopSavvy allows users to scan a product barcode to access an organized shopping experience featuring 20 million products from 20,000 retailers who have loaded in their barcodes, says Alexander Muse, the Dallas-based entrepreneur who co-founded the company.

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