Editor's Note: QR Codes Are Big in Texas
Or at least they were a big subject discussed at the 2010 Shop.org Annual Summit in Dallas, which I attended in late September.
The conference was full of energy and excitement. This editor came away feeling that cross-channel retailers were back and ready to attack the busy holiday season head on. One subject kept coming up repeatedly at session after session and on the trade show floor: quick response (QR) codes, those relatively boring 2-D codes that are suddenly very sexy and popular in the retail space.
A session led by Doug Mack, CEO of the private online sales site One Kings Lane, discussed Sears' QR code application that allows consumers to snap a picture of a QR code on a merchandise label to find out deeper product information about that merchandise.
Commenting on the application, Mack said: "This is a really big deal because it solves real-world customer problems. It allows customers to have the resource of the best merchant in the company, and ask for their opinion. The technology can of course be augmented by knowledgeable staff in-store, as well. Soon this technology will include payment functionality so customers can bypass checkout lines. It's truly transformative technology."
But that wasn't the only love shown to QR codes at the event. During his opening keynote address, Urban Outfitters' CEO Glen Senk stressed the importance of connecting shopping experiences via mobile. Senk noted that the key to making these connections will be allowing customers to scan a tag on an item to instantly receive consumer reviews and information. Customers will then be able to make a purchase via their mobile device — and without having to have a store associate nearby. Senk estimates that Urban Outfitters will have some sort of mobile technology in its brick-and-mortar stores by the end of the year.