Those strange squares of black and white patterns showing up in magazine ads, trade show booths, Facebook pages, online media and just about everywhere else are about to make an appearance on the shelves of a home improvement chain.
QR codes, as they’re known, are similar to bar codes, but contain more information like videos, product demos, information on related accessories and a variety of other data. With a special app for mobile phones from a system called ScanLife, customers inside the stores will soon be able to unlock additional details on products in stores that will even let them make purchases with a special “buy button.”
While the chain is betting on the technology to set them apart, some critics (other retailers) are wary that introducing QR codes in stores will be able to help the bottom line. But researchers counter that when the customer is armed with more in-depth information on products, it will help the conversion rate for those on the fence.
The useful aspect, marketing-wise, of QR codes is the ability for the retailer to include information that can help track customer loyalty as well as a detailed way to research behavior, but the bigger question is, will these codes catch on? Will customers be willing to download a separate app on their phones, just to access the QR code information, or will it prove to be an extra step not worth taking?
Thinking of the QR codes as enhancement to the brand experience may be more of a winning strategy, and if the company plays it right, they could be bridging an in-store experience with the emerging digital world. And that alone might be enough to build loyalty, engage, spark conversations and spread some very valuable word of mouth.
Source: Mashable, March 2011