What if you could take a picture with your phone of a bar code and get discounts to your favourite clothing store or coffee shop? What if you scanned the bar code and got a free downloadable version of a song? This is what technology is going towards with QR codes.
Quick-Response codes (QR) are recently getting awareness with the public in north america. This technology is not new however, the consumer acceptance is what is new. A QR code is a bar code that is readable by a QR scanner, mobile phones with a camera and smartphones. Once scanned, the information encoded can be text, a URL, an image or other data. It is a source of more information.
Phil Lemper, the supermarket guru talks about their shopping use in today’s society:
CPG manufacturers are applying technology to build buzz at the store shelf and in front of the television at home. They recognize that by giving people immediate access to fuller product information, discounts and rewards, they engage them more fully in the moments when interest is high and could possibly swing purchase decisions in their favor.
This is also beginning to happen at home. Consumers watching a Bluefly.com commercial on the Bravo Network can use a cell phone to scan a Quick Response (QR) bar code on the TV screen, which in turn launches a full episode of a fashion program and $30 discount off of a $150 Bluefly.com purchase, reports The New York Times. This same principle could be used with consumer packaged goods products.
QR codes became popular in Japan a few years ago. Companies in north america have now started incorporating these codes into marketing plans as a new way for consumers to engage with the brand. They can be included in billboard ads, in-store displays, event ticketing and tracking, trade-show management, business cards, print ads, contests, direct mail campaigns, websites, email marketing, and couponing to name a few. Scanbuy issued a trend report mentioning that “consumers’ barcode scanning through the ScanLife platform has soared 700% from January 2010 levels until today[October].” And that in one month, we’ve surpassed the amounts of 2009.
Here are some cases that have used these QR codes in interesting ways:
Since 2006 the Italian artist Fabrice de Nola uses QR codes in oil paintings or embedded in photographs. Check it out here: http://mediamorfosi.sudlab.com/fabrice-de-nola.html
In 2007, H&M “created billboards and magazine prints that allowed consumers to buy clothing using their cellphone’s camera. It brings the shopper to the retailer’s product catalog. You’ll then be able to buy the clothes using your cellphone account.”-Gizmodo
In 2010, Starbucks is adopting this technology as a method of payment. “The way this works is you download a BlackBerry app called Starbucks Card Mobile and you can then pay for your coffee by scanning a 2D bar code that shows up on your BlackBerry screen. You can also see your account balance and add money to the card using the app.” says Ronan Halevy from Berryreview.com. Starbucks BP Brady Brewer said “We’re seeing more and more customers using their smartphones as their mobile wallets.”
Marketers and companies will have access to so much information including which advertisements really work and who their consumer is. QR codes are of particular interest to marketers, giving them the “ability to measure response rates with a high degree of precision” says Vlad Gorenshteyn from AIS Media, Inc. With such specific information being easily accessed by companies, will society reject these codes or embrace them?
Here’s a video on how these QR codes work: