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A Point To Share A journey through Microsoft Commerce Server and other .NET platforms

OK so the title may confuse you – two completely different technologies that are hardly related. However I have been a little busy at nights trying to prepare my Music-Works tutorials for Commerce Server/SharePoint (MOSS) so I thought I would provide an update into something interesting I was playing with yesterday.

For those of you who may not know Microsoft Tag is Microsoft's implementation of the QR-Code. Tags are used in marketing for providing online content in off-line medium. The tags themselves are essentially 2-dimensional barcodes which are read by a plug-in to a mobile smart device (such as an IPhone, WinMo, or Palm), the software is installed by default for a few carriers in the US, or otherwise is available as a very small download direct to the handset. The benefit of the tag to the business is the provision of something similar to click-tracking for off-line media, the guise is that people will read an advert in say a newspaper or billboard and instead of writing down a URL they simply can snap the code and the mobile device either stores, or pushes you to content about that product. Once the tag has been read the business user then is provided with a detailed report on the usage of that specific tag, which provides marketers with an understanding of the uptake of the off-line adverts.

Because the plug-in if not a standard feature of most mobile handsets, you consumers are provided with some incentives for tagging content, such as during the release of Halo 3 if users tagged the promotional posters in stores they received exclusive video content prior to main stream release.

You may be wondering why and how this relates to Commerce Server though? Well one of the primary features on Commerce Server is the reporting of e-Commerce activity online, but with the recent popularity in multi-channel how can an online retail experience augment into the real world? Well as a starting point you could use tags. Tagging content is easy, simply sign up on the beta website provide a URL, or action for the tag and the site will automatically generate a print quality tag to feature to be included in your artwork. So to links this back to Commerce Server, simply setup a campaign in your marketing manager, and provide all the necessary details are you would a traditional add. Commerce Server will then generate a URL used for tracking purposes related to that ad, use this URL as a tag action and you have managed to link the two together.

Yes it sounds easy, but tagging can be taken one step further to possibly introduce social networking into your traditional retail space. A good example would be tagging all books in a book store, and using the custom app people can be browsing in-store, tag the book and immediately info from your e-Commerce site such as user reviews, rich media, and cross-sales are sent directly to the that users phone. This intern provides a completely integrated multi-channel solution that crosses e-Comm and traditional retail boundaries.

My beliefs are tags will eventually grow in western communities, following on from their success in Japan, and with the growth of smart mobile devices. The question is will they simply end up as a bloated advertising solution, or are they the first step to providing a cross-channel social retail experience? The choice is really up to the technologists on how to implement them!


Posted on Wednesday, July 22, 2009 8:48 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: Microsoft Tag and Commerce Server 2009

# re: Microsoft Tag and Commerce Server 2009
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Nice to see someone thinking about integrating MS Tags with other MS products. Check out for lots of other interesting ideas for using tags.
Left by Stewart McKie on Jul 23, 2009 8:13 PM

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