As retailers prepare for the final weeks of the crucial holiday sales period, marketing teams are already poring over returns from Black Friday to determine which media and messages are resonating with shoppers. One of the clear victors so far? The QR code.
There were more than 270,000 scans registered via the ScanLife application in the 24 hours leading up to 7 p.m. on November 23, clearly indicating that QR's time has come. Not only does QR technology offer consumers streamlined access to resources, it could help marketers establish a convenient gateway for drawing shoppers into a more expansive ecosystem of branded content.
When it comes to showrooming, QR codes provide a prime example of how tech can turn lemons into lemonade.
As ecommerce options continue to multiply and mature, brick-and-mortar retailers have bemoaned the rise of savvy shoppers who research product specs on location prior to purchasing goods online. Yet instead of declaring showrooming a deviant behavior, more enlightened merchants are recognizing it as a symptom of a treatable illness. If brands are able to address consumer curiosity (or uncertainty) by serving up relevant resources in real time, suddenly buyers are equipped with everything they need to make a confident purchase in the store.
These instant interactions can be a powerful source of positive reinforcement. But to really harness the potential of this trend, marketers should be thinking of how to turn these satisfied shoppers into repeat customers and brand advocates.
A social springboard
Digital advertising lets a brand compound successes by publishing them across the web. In terms of QR codes, that means social integration, which allows satisfied customers to invite others to join in on the action.
"We believe this holiday season, QR codes are helping retailers close sales and amplify their message via social networks," said ScanLife CEO Mike Wehrs, according to Mobile Marketer. "Seventy-five percent of the scans from Black Friday that we processed came from QR [as opposed to UPC] codes, and they will undoubtedly play a larger role in holiday shopping."
For instance, the QR link could lead shoppers to an online community where they can access promotional discounts, share gift ideas with friends, or discover complementary products. Brands must ensure they are not abusing the customer's curiosity, however. First and foremost, content must remain relevant to the shopper's initial inquiry. Embedding erroneous information and poorly disguised sales pitches in the mobile browsing experience could be a real turn-off.