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Sharper Image mobilizes catalog to drive product engagement, sales

Sharper Image has introduced digital watermarking into its print catalogs to enable consumers to immediately buy a product on their mobile devices while browsing through the catalog.

The digital watermarking is powered by Digimarc’s Catalog Click mobile application and lets consumers scan a page in the catalog to access more information about a product. After scanning a page, consumers can make a purchase, read reviews and see additional product information, images and videos.

“Sharper Image wanted to take catalog shopping to the next level,” said Sam Grossman, director of marketing at, Walnut Creek, CA. “Allow customers the ability to obtain additional information about the products they are looking at, and ultimately increase the likelihood of a purchase.”

“[It] allows the customer to view additional images, watch product videos, read customer reviews and obtain other information about the products,” he said. “The Catalog Click catalog shopping app allows the customer to ultimately complete their purchase in a quick fashion, all on their iPhone/iPad.”

By adding digital watermarking to its catalogs, Sharper Image shortens and simplifies the connection between browsing and purchasing. Instead of having to go online or to a bricks-and-mortar store to buy something, consumers can easily scan a page.

Additionally, digital watermarking does not require Sharper Image to change the catalog pages by adding a code or image. The technology recognizes the page without any added triggers.

The technology is already available in Sharper Image’s Holiday catalog that rolled out on Nov. 4.

Consumers can download the Catalog Click app for free to scan the Holiday catalog’s products. They can then buy the product or save it to their wish list.

The Catalog Click app also enables social sharing by letting consumers share a product on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

Data central
In addition to providing consumers with an enhanced experience, the Digimarc technology also allows Sharper Image to acquire new, detailed data about its consumers.

Digimarc provides metrics on which items are most popular in the print catalog, how many times a product was scanned and how many unique devices scanned each product.

A number of other retailers and publishers have been experimenting with digital watermarking recently.

For example, Time Inc.’s All You added digital watermarks to let consumers shop directly from its magazine (see story).

HGTV Magazine also integrated digital watermarks to its “High/Low List” feature to create a seamless shopping experience for its readers (see story).

By bridging the world between print and mobile, retailers and publishers such as The Sharper Image can improve the shopping experience as well as conversion rates.

“Together with our mobile optimized .com site, the Catalog Click app enhances our overall mobile efforts and helps increase conversions in this rapidly-growing space,” Mr. Grossman said.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York