Top News

QR-Coding Retail Communication

In the rush and din of peak-seasons
and shopping, brand and marketing communication often gets lost in the clutter
of traditional media. Such times call on smart organizations to bank on
innovation – either in message or media to get heard and seen above the junta
of offers, promos and the buy-now brigade. One such new-kid-on-the-block in the
Indian media space is QR codes. Does QR code qualify as media? Yes and No; Yes
– because it serves the role of a messenger in taking the consumer to the brand
message and No – it needs to be rendered on another media vehicle to be able to

In the rush and din of peak-seasons
and shopping, brand and marketing communication often gets lost in the clutter
of traditional media. Such times call on smart organizations to bank on
innovation – either in message or media to get heard and seen above the junta
of offers, promos and the buy-now brigade. One such new-kid-on-the-block in the
Indian media space is QR codes. Does QR code qualify as media? Yes and No; Yes
– because it serves the role of a messenger in taking the consumer to the brand
message and No – it needs to be rendered on another media vehicle to be able to
fulfill its purpose. Let the debate continue!

QR
codes – or quick response codes have been around for a long time but they were
made famous more recently by a promotional campaign of the Hollywood movie – District
9. The “Humans Only” campaign creative just had a code and a caption:
Non-humans to use mobile QR reader at this. Scanning the code directed
consumers to the movie website, exclusive clips and director bytes.  Despite a little-known casting and a sci-fi
plot, the film opened to audience across all age groups and grossed an
estimated $210,816,205, making it a huge success. Part of the success is
attributed to its innovative marketing campaign, where customers were not
exposed to the look or plot, but made to take effort in reaching out to the
movie site. Another advantage this route presented was that it integrated
dynamic content in a traditional static media. Posters, billboards, newspaper
ads all carried the code which instantly led the consumer to the world of
District 9.

There is a very
interesting lesson from this story for retailers across the spectrum. Most
retailers face a dilemma in choice of media for their regular tactical
communication. While print media scores on account of longevity, local
relevance and costs, it loses to electronic media primarily on account of
inclusion of only static content.  It is
this limitation that QR codes can help overcome and therefore enable retailers
and advertisers to tie their tactical static content with a dynamic engagement
module or communication.

A QR code is essentially a bar code – a 2D code that contains bits
of data such as web addresses, phone numbers, URL’s, TV ads and even videos.
The user simply launches a reader application on their device and takes a
picture of the im­age. The reader software triggers a response, which can
include anything from launching a URL in the phone’s browser to streaming a
video or MP3. Incorporating
QR Codes with marketing communication leads to enhanced usability, reach and
response rates, especially with an in­creasingly mobile audience. A survey by
Nielsen Informate Mobile Insights says that there are a total of 27 million
smart-phone users in Urban India, and these constitute 9% of the entire mobile
user base in urban India. With 900 million mobile users and growing at 12% p.a.,
India is one of the fastest growing cellular markets. While men love their apps
and women love to chat, an opportunity to explore and be up-to-date is always
welcome. As an example for retailers, QR codes can enable consumers to compare
product features and prices, select their shopping basket, pay for the
merchandise and get it delivered on the time of their choice, all while on the
go. The cherry on the icing for shoppers is often the allure of instantly
downloadable coupons and discounts which can then be redeemed as they wish.

QR codes trigger an instant call to action by transporting the user from the point-of-access
to
an online site or location. This call to action can translate
into ecommerce, search, display of content or an interactive application like
games. The code creates intrigue and buzz for your cam­paign by providing the
consumer with a simple and quick method to transfer the idea or content, hence
triggering a viral response. It can help users save information on their
electronic device for later use, eliminating the need to remember complex URL’s.

Tools like these contribute in positioning
the retailer as the technological leader in its segment. It reinforces that the
brand is in tune with the times and will be able to provide a superior product
and service to the consumer.

A campaign worth mentioning here is
the Northwest Airlines campaign. The Japanese airline’s objective was to
position itself as a technology leader and collect the email contact data for
its target market. QR codes were chosen as the marketing tool and were
delivered across a range of outdoor media in Tokyo. People who took a photo of
the code on their mobile phone were taken directly to NWA’s website that was
purpose-built for the QR Code campaign. Users were requested to fill up a
simple form and goodies like free wallpapers and ringtones were given out. For
maximum visual impact, QR codes were af­fixed to giant billboards in high
traffic locations, which became the landmarks of the campaign. Supporting the
billboards were pillar wraps, posters, leaflets and print ads to facilitate
scanning. As a result of the QR code campaign, NWA successfully enhanced its
position as the technology innovator in its category and achieved a huge amount
of PR and word of mouth through the use of outdoor media. There were more than
16,000 hits to the portal, a 35% increase over targeted goals.

There are pros and cons of this medium, like any other
media. The target audience is limited to smart-phone users and it will take a
while before customers evolve and start interacting regularly. Till such time, QR
codes will be treated like a relatively new medium. Having said that, the
advertising industry is as old as they come. For as long as there has been
commerce, people have tried to find new and better ways to draw in
customers. The retail industry is evolving and so is the consumer. Cheers
to a new tool that can help the retailer connect with the customer in a fast,
easy and exciting way.

Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close