PowaTag claims it will transform the retail environment


PowaTag app allows users to purchase products in a variety of ways in just two clicks

British developer Powa Technologies says it will transform the retail environment with its new mobile app PowaTag which has received the backing of some of the world’s biggest brands.

The platform allows users to purchase products in just two clicks by taking an picture of an item, billboard, video advert or a retail display with the app. It has already signed up around 240 retailers, brands and charities as launch partners including Universal Music, Laura Ashley and the NSPCC.

It is headed up by tech entrepreneur Dan Wagner who says that the company has found a way to integrate existing technologies together. The company secured $96.7m (£57.7m) in seed funding, the largest first round in tech history.

“Its not whizzy technology, or technology for technologies sake,” Wagner told a press event at the company’s London headquarters.

“It’s existing technology weaved together elegantly. It’s simple but extraordinary in its deployment.”

For example, billboards and magazines use QR codes that allow customers to ‘Tag’ (scan the QR code) the item through the app. Users are then brought instantly to a check-out screen linked to their debit/credit card to complete the purchase.

Video advertisements use audio watermarks, inaudible to the human ear, to let users record a couple of seconds of an advert through the app to go to the payment page.

The app shuns NFC in-favour of encouraging retailer to install bluetooth beacons in-store, that can use hardware in the phone to push offers and information to shoppers. What effect this will have on showrooming is open to debate.

However, where it really differs is the support from suppliers. While there isn’t anything to stop someone launching a similar technology, creating the partnerships PowaTag already has will be difficult.