Tesco connects busy shoppers with QR codes

qr2tescovideoOne of the critiques of QR codes I often hear is about the lack of imaginative uses being made of them.  Surely you can do better than simply get a company’s regular website – too often not optimized for mobile use – or search engine results when you scan the code on your mobile device.

Actually, I think there are plenty of imaginative uses being made of these square data-rich barcodes that provide the consumer and code-creator alike with a valuable experience. Here’s one more – what UK retailer Tesco is doing in South Korea that offers consumers an experience that matches their lifestyles and shows how Tesco (operating as Homeplus in South Korea in a joint venture with Samsung) understands their local market.

Take a look at this video that shows how the company has created "QR code shopping experiences" in the subway stations in the South Korean capital, Seoul. As the video narrator notes, South Koreans hate shopping – too busy, no time – so the retailer gives them a means to do it that’s in line with how people in one of the world’s most mobile-connected countries like to do things.

(If you don’t see the video embedded here, watch it on YouTube. If you want to view it on your mobile device, scan the QR code at the top of this page.)

What commuter-shoppers do is view the photos of products in the virtual store, scan a product’s QR code with their mobile device to add it to their virtual cart, and get it delivered to their physical address. It’s also a brilliant idea for spontaneous shopping – a good use of your precious time while you’re waiting for your train even if you hadn’t planned to do any shopping.

Tesco say that this campaign has been a success with metrics that speak for themselves – the video shows that new sign-ups for online shopping increased by 76 percent with actual sales up by 130 percent.


Surely an idea that can travel!

[Later] I was curious to learn who was behind this campaign. The answer is Cheil Worldwide, a marketing and communications company headquartered in Seoul. The video above was part of the firm’s entry in this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity that takes place this week, ending tomorrow the 25th.

Cheil Worldwide won a Gold Lion. Well deserved.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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