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RedLaser in action: Goodreads

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

We picked Redlaser because it provides fast and accurate scanning.
-otis y. chandler, ceo and founder of goodreads

Goodreads is the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. With 8.5 million members, 300+ million books, it has a long history of helping devoted readers across the world to find new books, and share the books they love.

Mobile is part of the company’s DNA. Goodreads hit the iPhone in 2010, recognizing that mobile would be an area of growing importance — their members wanted to bring their book ratings into stores, libraries, and friend’s homes to help guide buying, sharing, and reading decisions. You can get the Goodreads mobile app here.

The Goodreads app didn’t start with a barcode scanner. At first, it was focused on bringing reviews and recommendation into their member’s pockets. But Goodreads had ambitions beyond a read-only experience.

Why have a scanner?

“We wanted to give Goodreads members a way to look up more information about books while on the go, especially when at bookstores and libraries,” explains Chandler.

Scanning media, like books, is one of the oldest, and easiest, users for barcodes scanners. This is because most books have unique barcodes (ISBNs), and because there are a number of providers of media data, notably Google and Amazon. Goodreads, however, was more ambitious. They didn’t just want to identify books, they wanted to link their entire reviews and cataloging system into the operation too.

Why RedLaser?

Since any scanner can read ISBN numbers, Goodreads had a number of options to choose from. They wanted a simple, fast, and accurate scanner. RedLaser was the best scanning SDK they found.

“Scanning was one of our most requested features,” says Chandler. “We knew we needed to get it right. So we picked RedLaser, because it is consistently fast and accurate.”

Goodreads makes use of RedLaser’s flexible scan screen layout options to improve the multi-scan experience by displaying book title, author, and rating information in the scan screen.

What is the impact of RedLaser on the Goodreads mobile experience?

RedLaser has become a central part of the Goodreads mobile experience. The app is seeing over 200,000 scans every month, with about 2/3 from people cataloging their own book collection, and 1/3 from book look-ups. And scanning is accelerating — scans are up nearly 50% from last year!

Cataloging is where RedLaser has been particularly transformative. Before adding a scanner, Goodread users would have to manually type in the title of each book and decide the specific edition they had in their collection. This could be a serious challenge, since many Goodreads users have hundreds or thousands of books! With RedLaser, adding large batches of books is a much simpler and easier experience.

“For our members, it’s a fun and popular feature,” says Chandler. “It’s making it even easier to find your next favorite book.”

Get RedLaser!

You can join GoodReads, and hundreds of other companies, in integrating RedLaser into your application. Our developer portal has a simple form which can get you developing today. Alternatively, get in touch with our team to learn more.


RedLaser in action: Pushpins

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

Our demographic isn’t tech-savvy. We needed a scanner that just worked, all the time. So we picked RedLaser.
-peter michailidis, cmo of pushpins

Pushpins is an innovative application, which offers coupon discovery, delivery, and redemption of coupons in grocery stores across America. When linked to a loyalty card, Pushpins can even apply coupons automatically to customer bills, creating a seamless shopping experience, and providing retailers a easy way to monitor coupon redemption.

“We can know what store the shopper is in and what product they’re standing in front of, and then deliver targeted coupons straight to the shopper. It is a powerful combination,” said Peter Michailidis, the CMO and co-founder of Pushpins.

Pushpins has keyword search for identifying high-level product categories, like “tomatoes” or “corn flakes.” But for optimum coupon-delivery, Pushpins needed to know exactly which products were looking at — even down to package size or flavor. To get this level of precision and to streamline the coupon-discovery process, Pushpins turned to RedLaser.

Why RedLaser? Reliability and speed

Pushpins founders Michailidis and Jason Gurwin knew their basic requirements for a barcode scanning SDK:

  • Scan the barcodes found in grocery stores – particularly UPC-A and UPC-E codes
  • Work on as many iOS devices as possible, including older iPhones and iPod Touches
  • High accuracy, with a low false-positive rate
  • Fastest scanning possible

The team tested a wide range of scanners, and picked RedLaser. “It was the best we tested,” said Michailidis, and they’re still happy with their choice, two years later.

RedLaser’s impact

Today, Pushpins users fall into two camps:

  • Planners: Planners use Pushpins to build shopping lists and manage their groceries.
  • Coupon-ers: Coupon-ers are typically young, single, males on technology’s cutting edge, and looking for serious deals.

The behavior of users in both groups has been significantly changed by inclusion of a scanner.

Planners — 70% of Pushpins’ user base — use the scanner in their home, scanning to access food and nutritional information, or to add items onto their shopping list.  The addition of a scanner reduces friction for these tasks, and simplifies identifying products in bulk. These users are also more likely to have older devices, like the iPod Touch or iPhone 3G, which don’t have auto-focus cameras. RedLaser has been a leading scanner on these devices since its inception.

For coupon-ers, the scanner is taken into store aisles. Buying decisions are informed by Pushpin’s deals, and the scanner accelerates the discovery proces — even in stores with bad lighting or disfigured barcodes.

The Pushpins team has been particularly surprised by one finding — kids love using the scanner. “Many of our older users just hand the phone off to their kids,” explained Michailidis, “and they just go wild, scanning everything! We never expected that kids would be some of our biggest scanners.”

Get RedLaser!

You can join Pushpins, and hundreds of other companies, in integrating RedLaser into your application. Our developer portal has a simple form which can get you developing today. Alternatively, get in touch with our team to learn more.