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QR codes back in vogue?

Blog post   •   Jan 12, 2018 16:25 GMT

Five years ago we had our Shoppercentric business cards re-designed, and included a QR code so our clients could easily scan and save our contact details. This was quite a talking point at the time, but over the years the talk became a bit more nostalgic in nature as QR codes dropped off the marketing agenda.

For shoppers QR codes felt like a case of technology for technology sake. Whilst they had real purpose on estate agent for sale signs, in the days before we all signed up to RightMove and got house details delivered to our home screens, they lacked purpose in-store. That lack of purpose meant shoppers were never really sure where a QR code was going to take them – assuming they even noticed them in the first place. If they managed to scan the code – which itself assumed they had downloaded a scanning app – shoppers had no idea whether they’d just end up at a standard URL they could have googled in the first place, or if they’d chance upon an exclusive deal. No wonder only 5% of UK shoppers had ever scanned a QR code in 2012.

Fast forward, and it seems QR codes may be making a comeback in 2018. For a start Apple now have a QR code scanner built in – and some would argue that is the best endorsement of a digital tool that you can ask for! The move to mobile enabled loyalty cards offers another opportunity for shoppers to rethink the usefulness of QR codes. And perhaps the best empirical evidence is recent reports suggesting 1.3 billion QR code coupons were redeemed worldwide in 2017.

Maybe it’s time you considered joining the likes of Target, Walmart and Starbucks in re-thinking the role of QR codes in your marketing or shopper marketing campaigns? In which case I suggest you start by thinking about the benefits from the consumer/shopper perspective. What are the barriers or frustrations in the consumer/shopper journey for your category or product that QR codes could surmount? By taking this as your start point you and your digital agency are more likely to come up with a campaign that delivers a positive change in consumer/shopper attitude or behaviour and so drives sales.

After all, you really don’t want a campaign that is yet another example of technology for technology sake, even if QR codes are back in vogue.

By Danielle Pinnington, MD at Shoppercentric (@Shoppercentric)

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