QR Codes Should Provide Value: Why Not Convenience?

Jan 26, 2012

Recent research from Chadwick Martin Bailey shows that the top reason consumers scanned QR codes is curiosity (46 percent), and this should give marketers pause. As the novelty of QR codes wears off, marketers will need to find innovative ways to deliver value after the scan.qr-code-concept-iStock-000018222315XSmall_thumb


As we introduced in our blog series, How to integrate QR codes into your marketing strategy, one of the most powerful features of QR codes as a marketing medium is their ability to deliver direct interaction with your brand. With an effective call to action – such as coupons or exclusive contentQR codes can be a powerful vehicle for customer engagement. However, beyond the value in the content that is delivered with the scan, there is significant value for busy consumers in simplifying the purchasing process.


The virtual billboard concept

Perhaps the most effective application of QR codes is their use as a direct sales channel. A great example of this is Tesco’s South Korea grocer, Home Plus, which launched a QR-driven shopping experience from virtual billboards placed in subway stations. The billboards simulated an in-store shopping experience, with beautiful product photos corresponding to a price and unique QR code. QR scans added desired items to a virtual shopping cart, where consumers could complete their orders online and have the items delivered to their homes shortly after returning home from their commutes. The virtual billboard campaign was successful in making Home Plus the number one online grocery retailer in South Korea, increasing online sales by 130 percent and generating 10,287 online store visits from smartphones.


Virtual billboards are continually gaining momentum in high-traffic commuter areas such as subway and rail stations and in airports. (Note that while mobile service is typically unavailable in US subway stations, this is not the case globally.) Virtual billboards can deliver a convenient, interactive, and immediate online shopping experience that maximizes the downtime of busy consumers. Recent innovative uses include virtual billboards simulating the cosmetics shopping experience in German drugstores, e-Bay’s storefront for window shoppers in New York City, P&G’s virtual stores in the Prague subway stations, and Toys-R-Us virtual billboards at JFK airport.


Vending posters

The element of convenience, of course, is not limited to a virtual billboard. Another creative option is to use “vending posters” in any area where consumers encounter wait times. In this month’s list of QR campaign ideas, we suggested that vending posters could depict multiple pictures of floral arrangements or gifts with corresponding QR codes for ordering Valentine’s Day gifts.


There are many places where consumers encounter wait times in their daily activities. Here’s a quick list of places you can use vending posters to stimulate online sales.


Bus stops: Sell luxury fragrances via vending poster for in-home delivery

Salon/barber shops: Use vending posters to sell hair products such as shampoos, gels and conditioning treatments

Restaurant lobby/table tops: Use vending posters to sell alcoholic beverages to consumers as they wait for tables

Hotel lobby areas: Pre-order services such as taxis/valet, dry cleaning, gym visits and room service

Kid’s lessons & sporting locations: Sell staple household items such laundry and dishwashing detergents, toilet paper, paper towels, cleaning products, and toiletries for home delivery



As QR code adoption and awareness grows, it will become even more important to deliver value after the scan. Remember that beyond the value in the content that is provided with the scan (coupon, offer, exclusive content), there is significant value in simplifying the purchasing process for busy consumers. Convenience can be delivered by saving consumers a trip to the store or by providing a means to purchase an item directly while the gift or service is top of mind, especially in high traffic commuter areas or in places where consumers frequently encounter wait times. After reviewing some of our ideas, what virtual shopping idea would fit best into your busy routine?

* For more information on how to use QR codes effectively, sign-up for QR Code Tips and Tricks.

Vya Staff

Learn how Vya can help simplify local marketing through our marketing resource management systems, campaign execution services, and print expertise.

Tags: QR Codes, QR Code Strategy

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