Ekaterina Walter is a social media strategist at Intel. She is a part of Intel’s Social Media Center of Excellence and is responsible for company-wide social media enablement and corporate social networking strategy. She was recently elected to serve on the board of directors of WOMMA.
QR codes have been around since the early ’90s, but only with the widespread adoption of smartphones and barcode-scanning apps have customers been able to easily access QR codes in significant numbers.
According to comScore, 20.1 million mobile phone owners in the U.S. used their devices to scan a QR code in the three-month average period ending October 2011. In the big scheme of things, this isn’t a large number. However, the number of people using QR codes is expected to grow.
Will QR codes reach widespread public consciousness, or are they destined to be a quirky aside for mainstream promotional campaigns? The trend towards increasingly complex personal technology suggests that the potential is there, but the question remains whether marketers will fully exploit the opportunities QR codes have to offer.
So, what can marketers do to take customers out of their comfort zones and try something new? The ability to access information won’t drive customers to a product’s site unless there’s a reason for them to do so. Below are some of the most creative, fun and interesting examples of QR code marketing that show QR codes have the potential to enrich the product experience and offer the customer real value.
Global supermarket giant Tesco solved the problem of enticing hard-working, time-strapped Koreans into its stores by bringing the shopping experience to them, with virtual stores based in subways and metro stations.
Shoppers were encouraged to browse life-like images of supermarket shelves with their smartphones and scan the QR codes on products to add them to their shopping carts, all whilst waiting for the metro. Their purchases would then be delivered to them at home, with no need to carry heavy bags.