• Problem: Carrying around shopping cards is a pain in the ass. They take up room either in your wallet, purse or keychain. They’re easy to lose.
  • Solution: Digital Shopping Cards. As long as you have a mobile device with you, you have the card(s) with you. These could be stored in a dedicated application, or simply saved as photos on the device. At checkout, you’d simply let the cashier scan the barcode on your screen.

To the right is a closer view of what I’ve mocked up what a digital shopping card for Food Lion might look like. It’s a simple idea, but one that (I think) could be very useful. When a store asks for a customer’s phone number or email address – that store could then send the digital card via MMS or email instead of giving out a physical card. This would save money since less physical cards would need to be produced. What’re your thoughts? Would you use something like this?

UPDATE: As Wes pointed out in the comments, there are several iPhone apps available that you might want to check out:

I did attempt to use my self-created card while at Food Lion this morning. And guess what? Their scanner couldn’t pick up the barcode because the screen was too reflective. It’s also possible the barcode was too small. Are digital shopping cards/rewards cards the wave of the future? Probably not (yet), but it’s definitely worth looking into.


3 replies on “Digital Shopping Cards”

  1. Actually, some Starbucks stores (none here in Columbia) can actually can scan a barcode on their app to charge your starbucks gift cards. If their scanners can do it, I imagine the ones at grocery stores would work too. Worth trying out. Definitely going to check out some of the apps Wes mentioned.

    1. Yeah, some of these apps mentioned that they suggest using a handheld scanner to scan the barcodes. At Food Lion they used one of the “flatbed” scanners which, I would imagine, wouldn’t be as able to read the barcode. In my design, I think one of the issues with it is the barcode is too small. Plus, having it oriented the way it is could potentially be an issue. Since I had it stored in Photos, it rotates when you change orientation of the phone… could make scanning the barcode more difficult.

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