How QR Codes Are Driving the Customer Experience
Thanks to advances in technology, QR codes are becoming increasingly embedded in the customer experience. From retail to quick-service restaurants, their use for payments is on the rise. In fact, it's predicted that the number of U.S. smartphone users scanning a QR code will increase from 83.4 million in 2022 to 99.5 million in 2025.
As the adoption of QR codes continues, there's an opportunity for merchants to drive new interactions to improve the overall customer experience. However, before we can explore how these codes can be used, it's important to understand that there are two different types available.
The first and most common type of QR code for payments is static. As the name suggests, this means that the code and destination never change. They typically have the merchant’s payment details and link to a set location where the user can enter their payment details to complete a transaction. These codes are easy for fraudsters to duplicate and replace, so merchants need to continuously monitor them.
The second type of QR code is dynamic. They drive customers to the merchant’s payment gateway, where card details are entered and the bill can be paid. The system then notifies the merchant’s point-of-sale (POS) system that the bill has been settled.
Convenience is Key
At the end of the day, today’s consumer is balancing a multitude of tasks. From work to family life, shopping or going out to eat is just one more bullet on the day’s to-do list. For merchants, one way to set themselves apart is creating seamless customer experiences — and that’s where QR codes come in. Here are some ways that merchants can do it:
- At restaurants, a unique, static QR code at every dining table allows diners to pay the check at the table. The amount is input by the server or kept up-to-date by the POS. Alternatively, servers can drop the check at the table and the diner scans a dynamic QR code connected to the bill. This can also include tipping functionality and should allow for easy check splitting. In both instances, the efficiency created frees up the waitstaff to service more tables and increase customer satisfaction.
- Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) is another major use case for dynamic QR codes. Each online order generates a unique code which is then emailed to the buyer or displayed in the merchant’s mobile app. All the buyer has to do is show the code to the employee at the pick-up counter to ensure the correct order is pulled.
- Grab and go is for self-service stores where shoppers have an account and can register themselves upon entry using a QR code generated by the merchant’s mobile app. When they enter the store, shoppers simply open the merchant’s app and scan their QR code to register the account that will be charged. When they then exit the store, the account is automatically billed, and a notification is sent to the consumer’s phone so they can verify items they placed back weren't charged.
With a myriad of use cases for QR codes, it's also important to acknowledge the potential of consumer-generated codes. In this instance, the merchant scans the consumer’s code and can request funds. Merchants such as 7-Eleven, CVS, and Walmart have already begun accepting them, with more expected to follow suit as interest increases.
As technology continues to advance, there's massive potential for QR codes to improve the customer experience. And as brick-and-mortar retailers look to gain an advantage over their e-commerce counterparts, new technologies and innovation will be the key to success.
For more information on using QR codes for payments, click here.
Terry Rourke is senior product marketing manager at ACI Worldwide, a leader in real-time payments software solutions.
Terry is a seasoned marketing professional with over 30 years of experience. While he has worked in payments for only 5 years, he has experience with both eCommerce and omni-channel merchants as well as with payment intermediaries. He enjoys building and repairing things with his hands and coming up with innovative ideas to solve complex problems.