On target with QR codes

A technology that’s often criticized as being in a cul-de-sac is QR codes, those little square images that you scan with an app on your smartphone to perform some kind of action.

It’s that ‘action’ that’s the focus of criticism as some who have experimented with this nifty tech really have lacked imagination in its use and, thus, received large yawns from everyone not only consumers.

However, great examples of imagination in action are there, which clearly suggest that the tech can have a future if you offer your target something compelling (isn’t it another example of ‘content is king’?).

Speaking of target, here’s an example of imagination, driven by competitive pressure notably from Amazon. US retailer Target will debut QR codes in stores in the coming American holiday season for its twenty most popular toys.

As TechCrunch reports, shoppers can use the Target mobile app to scan toys’ QR codes which you can then buy – there and then on your phone while you’re in the store – and have your purchases shipped free to an address in the US.

[…] The retailer says that this feature can be particularly useful when a particular toy is sold out in the store. The app would allow a purchaser to just find the item online, and allows Target to keep the sale. The feature will roll out on October 14.

Target is also debuting an online and mobile toy catalog [that] includes coupons that can be used on a guest’s total purchase. Shoppers can also create a digital Wish List that is shareable via email.

It’s a good example of a retailer knowing how his competitive landscape is evolving, understanding his customers and what they might find appealing, and evolving his offering to meet a perceived consumer need.

It’s offering people another way to get at your content, to complement all the other ways they can: it will appeal to some consumers but not to others.

Imaginative targeting.

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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.

  1. twitter_gnjohnson

    But Amazon use barcodes for the functionality you mention above – surely that renders QR codes unnecessary?

  2. David Phillips

    One of the most creative applications of QR codes is the Monmouthpedia initiative (Wikipedia politics aside). The idea that anyone can point their mobile device at QR codes mounted on buildings, streets and even museum displays to read (in 17 languages) all about it in wikipedia is great aid for tourists and a boost for tourism.

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