QR Codes: Cracking the (QR) Code
QR Code Case Studies
Best Buy has led the way with QR code use, starting in the summer of 2010 when it began adding QR codes to its weekly circulars. From there, QR codes began appearing on product information labels in Best Buy stores, and a QR code reader was included in the company's mobile app. By scanning a QR code at the shelf edge, consumers are taken to Best Buy's website, where additional information such as product comparisons is available. This is all done within Best Buy's mobile app, allowing the retailer to control the communication and, most importantly, track what the consumer is looking at.
QR codes provide Best Buy greater insight into shopper behavior, with the ability to provide relevant offers on the fly that can be tracked in real time. As awareness of QR codes increases and consumers learn how to use them, the possibilities for all retailers will become more apparent.
Another retailer using QR codes is specialty cross-channel retailer Brookstone. The company launched a QR code program in 30 New York-area stores in April. Shoppers can scan QR codes located next to products. By scanning the QR codes, Brookstone shoppers can quickly access real-time customer reviews and product videos, and even shop a greater selection of similar products at Brookstone.com.
Brookstone reports that its customers are seeking information to make informed purchases. By offering QR codes in-store, Brookstone is complementing its knowledgeable staff and creating an online information experience in-store.
It's All About the Content
Whether QR codes will continue to grow in popularity will depend on two critical factors: the quality of the content to which the code leads, and its relevance to the consumer. QR codes are essentially hyperlinks, allowing a quick way to direct viewers to online content. They bring the online experience to which we've all become accustomed into our personal space. This means any ideas of using QR codes to deliver impersonal advertisements — or worse, coupons — should be abandoned posthaste. With the advent of new technology, we need to bury once and for all those old notions that really didn't work that well in the old world.