QR Codes In Retail - Part I

QR codes are becoming more and more popular in retail settings.  They are being utilized in grocery store, hardware stores, shopping malls and Walmart (because they are their own category) ;).  It’s a marketers world and we need to sell, sell, sell!  People are more ‘on-the-go’ than ever before.  They always want something quick and never want to wait.  So with the use of QR code technology, they have been able to create QR codes for discounts, coupons, free gifts and so on. 

Specific examples of how they are being utilized in a retail setting:
  • Home Depot: Home Depot and other hardware store have been utilizing QR codes to give product ratings and descriptions.
  • Price Chopper: Price Chopper has been using QR codes in their bakery for contests, in their fruits and veggies section to get nutritional value and coupons!
  • Starbucks: Get a discount on your favorite cup of coffee!
  • Target: Link to videos by a stylist expert on how Target furniture and décor can dress up your house!
  • Gap: See what styles and fashions are ‘in’ now!
  • Walmart: Scan the barcode of a product and get a demo on how to set up the product and even use it!

I personally feel that QR codes in retail are the wave of the future.  How many Sundays do you spend cutting out coupons to save one dollar or even less sometimes, when all you have to do is scan a QR code and up pops the coupon…brilliant!  Honestly, coupon marketing with direct mail is becoming very costly, causing it to become more of a loss than a gain when speaking in terms of return on investment.  It is so much easier now and more economically friendly to create a QR code for these purposes.  Now, I understand that not all people are going to have access to a smartphone or QR code scanner, however, there are a majority of people that can utilize this technology which is why it is becoming more of a constant in everyday life.

The only problem I see with QR codes that may be an issue is the risk of having a QR code being created that has a virus on it.  In this day and age, we are among a world of hackers, viruses and many other vicious things.  One bad QR code being scanned, especially if you don’t know where it is coming from and your phone could be toast.  It is always important to remember that not all QR codes are safe.  If you are ever scanning a QR code from an unidentifiable source, be aware that it could hold spyware, malware or even worse, a virus!  Make sure that you are only downloading QR codes and sites that are trusted.  Also, the same goes for applications on your phone, be careful what you are downloading to your phone…some of those free programs are not always safe.