Small Business Technology News

QR Codes Gaining Ground With Consumers And Brands

Written by Tim Morral
Published: 1/5/2012

Rising consumer interest in QR codes is launching a wave of creative new marketing campaigns by retailers and brands.

QR (Quick Response) codes aren't new - they've been around for about two decades. But lacking both technology and awareness, consumers haven't known what to do with the quirky square barcodes pasted on product packaging and store shelves.

Quick Response QR Code

However, a recent Consumer Pulse study by Chadwick Martin Bailey shows that may be changing. Despite the fact that most consumers (79%) aren't familiar with the term "QR Code", the vast majority of shoppers (81%) have seen them and approximately one in five consumers know how to utilize them during the buying experience.

More importantly, after scanning a QR code into their smartphone or other device, 21% of consumers shared the information with their social network and 18% used the information presented via the QR code to make a buying decision.

As a marketing device, the use of QR codes has been sketchy, at best. But while some QR code campaigns are textbook examples of marketing tactics gone awry, other campaigns give consumers valuable information that informs the customer experience and connects the consumer with the brand.

Productivity solutions provider Wasp Barcode Technologies has compiled a list of some of the best and most creative QR code campaigns that have recently made their way into the consumer marketplace.

  • Tesco. To help save time, South Korean supermarket giant, Tesco, launched a QR campaign that pasted large images of food items on the walls of subways in South Korea. Consumers can scan the QR code for individual food items, place them in their virtual shopping cart, finalize the purchase and have the items delivered to their door - all during their daily commute.
  • Heinz. Heinz Ketchup leveraged QR Codes for their "Our Turn to Serve" promotion. By scanning QR codes on bottles of ketchup, consumers were given the opportunity to send personalized messages to American troops. Every time a consumer used a QR code to send a message, Heinz donated 57 cents (as in "Heinz 57") to the Wounded Warrior Project.
  • Starbucks. QR codes are a natural fit for Starbucks customer base and the brand hasn't wasted any time in designing creative QR campaigns for its customers. By including QR codes in targeted newspapers and magazines, Starbucks gave consumers the ability to access short videos about the brand's new mobile payment app and interviews with experts about the history and traditions of coffee.
  • JCPenney. During the recent holiday retail season, JCPenney used QR codes to give consumers the option of sending personalized holiday greetings to loved ones. When an item was purchased, users could scan the QR code, record up to a minute of voice data, and attach a QR code to the gift, creating a value added element for gift purchases.
  • Phillips & Company. The award for the largest use of a QR code may go to Phillips & Company. In an effort to infiltrate Google Maps with scan-capable codes for mobile users, Phillips painted QR codes on the roofs of buildings, giving consumers the opportunity to connect with the brand during satellite image searches.


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