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Summary:

The real opportunity is when we are able to marry the physical and online worlds seamlessly. Slowly and surely we are seeing signs of that marriage happen around us. New Zealand clothing maker Icebreaker and Brazilian retailer C&A are taking the lead in building the bridge.

Dennis Crowley, chief executive and co-founder of New York based Foursquare believes that the real opportunity is when we are able to marry the physical and online worlds seamlessly. Slowly and surely we are seeing signs of that marriage happen around us. Offline companies are starting to use the Internet in ways that enhance their existing operations. This morning, when reading Wireless Industry Newsletter from Rutberg & Co., we came across two items:

  • Icebreaker, a New Zealand-based clothing company has started offering a way for its customers to scan the barcode of one of the items they buy from the company, say a sweater, to get the actual information from the sheep on the New Zealand farm whose wool was used to make clothing. They call it, Baacode.
  • C&A, a Brazilian clothing retailer has put small digital displays on the hangers in its stores and shows actually Facebook Likes for a piece of clothing, thus marrying the real and the virtual. Springwise points out that others such as Renault and Bacardi have made similar efforts to building an offline-to-online bridge. “These are both fascinating examples of what is possible with the bridge of online and offline commerce,” writes Rutberg & Co.

  1. I’m from Brazil and I didn’t know about what C&A did. Nice!

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  2. I think the fact that a company in Brazil is one of the first to bridge these two universes is surreal! Brazil has some of the slowest and unreliable internet providers in the world. It’s a country that has a lot of catching up to do before it can offer it’s citizens a sound technological infrastructure base. So I can see review status on the coat hanger, but it will take me 20 minutes to access FB on my 5 year-old Dell laptop.

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