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Mobile Engagement & QR Codes to the Rescue of Retail

In the long list of industries transformed by the slow but steady digitization of our societies, retail probably tops the charts. And now the mobile channel promises to complicate matters further.

eMarketer’s latest mobile commerce projections (Jan 2013) gives us an idea of the volume of sales achieved directly through mobile devices.

This time though, I believe things are different. Most of today’s senior marketers and retail business leaders have seen how the online channel has gradually eaten both their sales and margins; and they’re not going to let it happen again… In fact, retail marketers could be credited with some of the boldest experiments to date: my previous article shows great examples of how the most resourceful marketers can extend considerably their reach through the online channel.

A couple of interesting case studies have since hit the headlines.

The first comes from Seattle-based retailer Hointer, which targets men who don’t like shopping and use technology to eliminate the hassle of shopping for clothes. The idea consists of displaying only one pair of each model of jean type, and add a QR Code to it. When scanned with the store’s bespoke app, shoppers can chose to try it in the fitting room inside the store. Once the jeans have been tried, customers can either send the jeans back or purchase it on the spot.

The GeekWire video below shows the system in action

Another case study, this time by Procter & Gamble shows how simple tweaks to their print ads can boost significantly their power to convert customers on the spot. This experiment applies to any retailer that has, or will use catalogues, flyers, and other below-the-line collaterals to push their latest promotions. The screenshots below shows how P&G connected their ads to a mobile space where shoppers would find out more about the P&G products, get coupons, watch demos, check out customer reviews, and crucially, purchase the product! (Click on the image for a close-up)

Research by Hitashi shows that the number of people who scan QR codes would be three times as much what it currently is if consumers believed that it would offer them value in the form of discounts, rewards or a more personalized service. Hointer’s and P&G have shown that delivering relevant and personalized experiences to consumers does not take rocket sciencewith a reasonable dose of consumer insights and the will to reach out to them in meaningful ways.

What’s more, these experiments show that the mobile channel can enhance traditional campaigns and open up a new sales channel. Other retailers should pay heed.

For expert advice on how to integrate mobile engagement tactics to your retail marketing campaigns, contact us please visit

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  • One Response for "Mobile Engagement & QR Codes to the Rescue of Retail"

    1. Nick Cassells February 15th, 2013 at 11:55 AM 1

      Being a guy and a traditional shopping-phobe i just love this idea. It seems sometimes we are given so many options – decisions almost become impossible. This is cool because you still have the choice but it streamlines it. Just gives you what you want – and saves businesses money


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