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Ecommerce: Scanned and delivered with PowaTag

With the backing of more than 200 retailers and brands, PowaTag could succeed where other mobile purchasing apps have failed.

Technology tycoon Dan Wagner has launched an app that allows consumers to buy from a range of channels directly via their mobile.

The PowaTag app allows shoppers to scan PowaTag logos on a range of advertising from billboards to TV, online video and even radio. Once scanned, the app purchases the corresponding item of clothing from the participating retailer.

Because the service works on a range of channels, retailers can place the logo both in everyday online retailing as well as wider marketing campaigns.

If a PowaTag has been placed into a video stream on TV or online, the customer can hold up their phone with the PowaTag app open and buy the product shown. The app can also ‘listen’ for codes embedded in radio advertsing.

PowaTag has signed up more than 200 retailers and brands worldwide, including Missguided, Farrel, Laura Ashley and The Cambridge Satchel Company.

Powa Technologies chief executive Wagner, who also founded ecommerce provider Venda and online search software provider Locayta, says the app will reduce the number of purchases abandoned during the checkout process.

“For the first time, companies will be able to gain real-time return on investment (ROI) on above-the-line advertising such as billboard and newspaper ads. PowaTag will revolutionise advertising, enabling brands to target their customers in a more focused way.”

Once a customer has signed up to the app, all of their personal information is stored including delivery address and payment details, so the customer can just click ‘buy now’ and the purchase is made.

Wagner says: “This technology will also transform how brands interact with their customers.

While customers benefit from more convenient anytime, anywhere purchasing, the relationship is a two-way channel where the brand can collect valuable information about a customer’s preferences and shopping habits. This allows for a more targeted and personalised relationship in future.”

Retailers are able to manage campaigns through the PowaTag dashboard where they can create PowaTags and encode media.

The dashboard also allows retailers to access analytics on each tag including customer data and geographic location. PowaTag charges the retailer each time an order is converted via the app, at a rate of 40 cents (about 25p) per sale made via the tag. There is no initial sign-up fee.

A shopping app that could pay off

Having seen a demo of the PowaTag app, I think it could be the first mobile payment technology to really take off. While checkout apps such as SimplyTap work well, they have yet to prove popular with customers or the retailers. What PowaTag has on its side firstly is the market.

With more than 200 brands signed up, the technology will be trialled by a number of retailers from a range of sectors, meaning customers will be exposed to PowaTag in a lot of different aspects of their lives. In terms of fashion, however, it will be interesting to see just how many of the big high street names are on board. The support of someone like Arcadia, for example, could really showcase the app’s potential. Customers are becoming more aware of using their mobile phones while shopping, whether it’s to scan a QR code, compare prices or get notifications. Dan Wagner has a strong reputation as a technology entrepreneur and, as many retailers stated at the recent Drapers Digital Forum, mobile and channel integration is a prominent focus for 2014, so the timing of this launch fits well with retailers’ strategies.

  • What do you think about PowaTag and other shopping apps? Tell us below.
  • View a video demonstrating PowaTag


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Readers' comments (1)

  • I think it will scare many advertising agencies and publishers!

    Great idea in my opinion. Less certain it will deliver the customer insight suggested, albeit I am biased on this point. I expect it could generate more returns than reduce them, though until I try it, my mind remains open.

    Any major brand with high ATL spend should certainly trial it.

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