Leveraging QR codes

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LBS and QR codes leave an impression on the mobile marketing landscape
LBS and QR codes leave an impression on the mobile marketing landscape

For example, if a consumer is looking up grocery stores, marketers can send shoppers coupons for specific products. That kind of real value provided on the spot and in the moment is important. Joe Chasse, director of media and analytics at digital advertising agency Modea, says marketers need to go beyond simply offering badges to consumers for checking into locations using services such as Foursquare and Shopkick and provide real offers, such as discounts, that are immediately relevant.

Chasse says he has checked into places only to get messages saying he will get a discount the next time he visits. “I can see the rationale behind that, but that's a huge missed opportunity,” he says.

Enhancing the shopping experience

QR codes should also make the shopping experience easier for consumers, rather than more complicated or time consuming.

During the back-to-school season, Coultas says shoppers who scanned a JCPenney QR code got a dorm room checklist to ensure shoppers purchased everything they needed in one visit.

“JCPenney already had a checklist online, but we were keeping it separate. We thought, ‘Why not make it easier and provide it in the store?'” Coultas asks.

The department store has also offered instant coupons or more information on particular products through the codes. In addition to placing them on signage throughout the stores, Coultas says the codes are also placed in JCPenney's catalog to offer more information about the products.

“QR codes will continue to play an important role as we try to merge the online and offline experiences,” Coultas explains.

KIDzOUT is an iPhone app that uses the device's native navigation capabilities to show parents diaper deck locations, family-friendly restaurants or the nearest emergency room, among other children-related needs. Seth Heine, president of KIDzOUT, says the company uses QR codes to lead people to the iTunes app store so users can download the app.

“Currently, it isn't as easy to search for the app on iTunes, but the QR code takes you directly to the destination. We found a clean way to get people to the ultimate place they want to go,” Heine says.

Heine says initially two QR codes were built. The second code took users to their Facebook page, but the company realized it did not want people to go to the Facebook page on their first experience because you cannot download the app from there, he says.

Similarly, Mandar Shinde, AOL's senior director of mobile monetization, says AOL also uses QR codes to send users straight to the website where they can download apps leveraging location for AOL products, such as Moviefone.

“We found QR codes were still the preferred way of downloading apps,” Shinde says. Modea's Chasse says retailers face staffing challenges. The days of having salespeople that really know the products well are gone, he says.

“Manufacturers have a difficult time making sure they have salespeople available to speak with consumers when they are making their buying decisions,” Chasse says. “At least consumers can use their mobiles to get information about the products and supplement the store experience where companies don't have sales people available, or if the sales people don't know a lot about the product they're selling.”

Likewise, Jenn-Air's Maynard says because their appliances are big purchases, the company found consumers spent about eight months researching items before making a purchase.

“It's not an impulse purchase, like packaged goods,” Maynard says. “The important thing is to get them information, and this includes retail information.”

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