NEW YORK: The future of online retail lies with the 'buy now' button as users come to expect instant gratification, a development that could also fuel growth in scannable advertising.

"Scan-to-buy is the next frontier in the retail market," according to Larry Logan, chief marketing officer of Digimarc, a digital watermarking technology provider.

Consumers, he said, would see items they wanted on Facebook or Pinterest and would then expect to be able to simply scan the image, hit 'buy' and have it delivered.

"In the very near future, consumers will care less about 'who' delivers their purchases," he added. "This will disintermediate many of today's online shopping services," he told Luxury Daily.

His remarks came as retailer Target has teamed up with Shazam, the app better known for identifying songs, to create scannable print ads in the September issue of Vogue which will make items instantly available via Shazam's 'shop now' button.

The thinking is that readers who have already downloaded the Shazam app are more likely to engage with such ads since they won't have to download yet more apps or take several steps to complete a purchase.

The growth of social media sites such as Pinterest and Instagram has highlighted the power of the picture – L2, the New York think tank, last year described Instagram as the world's most powerful social media platform as it was growing faster than Facebook had done at the same stage in its development while registering 15 times the engagement and double the engaged user base.

And one image-recognition app has more ambitious plans. Earlier this year Blippar announced plans for a "visual browser".

"The new version of Blippar will bring a new world of interaction to search that removes the cultural perceptions from objects," said CEO and founder Ambarish Mitra.

"The old Blippar was about monetizing brands; the new Blippar will be more about satisfying people's curiosity about anything around them," he added.

Data sourced from Luxury Daily, The Next Web; additional content by Warc staff