Google plans on mailing around 100,000 window stickers to restaurants, hotels, bars, and other retail entities around the nation during the next two weeks. Each sticker will have a unique scannable barcode that is designed to work with numerous popular mobile phones and help local businesses target on-the-go consumers with promotions such as coupons.
From the user perspective, the phones will need to include a camera feature and have an app that scans barcodes, according to an announcement by the Mountain View, CA-based online giant earlier today. The initiative builds on the brand’s “Favorite Places” program for Google Maps that started last summer, while beginning its first outreach to local businesses in an effort that’s expected to continue into 2010.
A spokesperson for the search site explained the local businesses for this initial run were selected due to having an established account in Google’s “Local Business Center” and producing a high number of clicks on their Google.com and Google Maps listings. Site stats were included in the literature that accompanied the decal-styled stickers, said the spokesperson, as well as “ideas for how to use the ‘Local Business Center’ as a daily tool for running their business, and an overview of why the sticker could be useful to them, and how their potential customers could use them.”
The spokesperson added: “We removed categories that we felt were inappropriate to receive a decal from Google. We did not impose arbitrary cutoffs by city; for example, there were around 3,700 businesses receiving decals in New York City.”
The rectangular sticker is about the size of a large postcard. The Google Maps logo is featured at the top, with the copy “We’re a Favorite place on Google” prominently appearing below. The barcode sits in the lower right-hand corner alongside the search engine’s signature red pin that’s regularly seen on its maps.
If shoppers choose to scan the barcode with their phone, they will be taken to a mobile version of the “Place Pages” application that was announced by Google in September. There, the viewer will see consumer-generated reviews and possibly coupons if the store chooses to implement them.
End users will also be able to place a star next to the business to remind them that they are interested in patronizing it in the future. Such information would be stored in their Google/Gmail account if they have one.
At any rate, after the two-week mailing is completed, the window stickers will appear in around 9,000 U.S. towns and cities.
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