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5 Paths From Scan to Buy: How to Increase Sales With QR Codes This Holiday Season

November 26, 2012 By Laura Marriott
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Forget Halloween. For most marketers, the holiday season was already in full force. In the United States, while brick-and-mortar stores saw last week's Black Friday as their biggest shopping day of the year, online holiday sales are predicted to grow by 12 percent this year, and e-commerce professionals are promoting new techniques to drive sales on mobile devices. In fact, Deloitte predicts that shoppers' smartphone activity, including research, coupon use and purchases, could account for $36 billion in holiday sales this year.

This season, we expect to see many marketers get creative with their campaigns and incorporate mobile barcodes to help drive sales and customer loyalty. To help avoid negative consumer experiences with QR Codes, we have outlined a few opportunities for brands to leverage to help drive consumer engagement, footfall and sales.

  1. Mobile rebate—Place a QR Code at a shelf, on a product or in signage in-store to allow consumers to instantly scan to activate a mobile rebate while in-store, to not only buy a product but enter their rebate instantly whether the product is purchased in a brick-and-mortar store or via online. The mobile rebate encourages consumers to buy the product immediately and complete the sale while in-store.
  2. Mobile layaways— Allow consumers to "put away" items they plan to buy so they are able to select the item when they see it, reserve it and have it ready for pick-up at their preferred brick-and-mortar location. By including QR Codes in advertisements about holiday specials and/or items, consumers can scan to reserve the items closest to their current location and/or at a discount.
  3. Stop showrooming—To help combat showrooming, when a customer scans the QR Code for a particular product, share a page that provides more detailed information on your product, user reviews, warranty information, accessory options, pricing, etc. to enable the consumer to get comfortable and educated about their purchase while in your brick-and-mortar location. QR Codes can help to prevent showrooming by offering incentives and information to the consumer, all content the marketer can control-activated by QR Codes and available in-store at the time the consumer is ready to interact or better yet, purchase.
  4. Coupons—Offer the consumer a coupon for immediate purchase of the product, either on their device or in-store. This is the obvious, yet effective, mobile offer. Research from Deloitte reveals that in 2013, 30 percent of smartphone owners are expected to redeem mobile coupons, up from 20 percent in 2011.
  5. Secret purchase—The Target campaign is a great example of how to secretly buy items for those on your shopping list—with the simple scan of a QR Code, activated to the mobile website for instant purchase. What a great method to secretly buy items without the need to hide packages or create distractions while in-store.

Target is organizing the most popular toys of the season in one section of their stores, tagged with a QR Code to drive instant engagement and purchase via the Target mobile experience. Additional offers include free shipping as incentives to encourage greater interaction. So as kids tug at their parents' sleeves begging for the toys they want most, with the QR-enabled shopping tool, it may already be en-route to their houses.

These new ideas on how to incorporate QR Codes will help consumers interact and engage via QR call to action to purchase from their favorite marketers. Innovation is key to QR success and integration to boost adoption and encourage interaction.

Research has found that smartphones have reached more than 950 million consumers and QR Codes have grown by nearly 120 percent from this time last year. Holiday shoppers this season have powerful mobile devices at their fingertips and they want to leverage them to make their lives easier, especially to ease the chaos that inevitably comes with the holidays. Marketers who give their consumers this opportunity will bring consumers savings, drive loyalty and ultimately, increase sales.

Laura Marriott, CEO of Boulder, Colo.-based mobile barcode solution provider NeoMedia Technologies, Inc. Reach her at lmarriott@neom.com.
 

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