Retail brands learned some valuable and hard lessons in 2020. (Check out our 2021 Consumer Report to see how COVID transformed shopper behavior.) 

First, they felt a large amount of pressure to make products available in a safe, fast and contactless way when consumers were faced with the fear of remaining socially distant and avoiding touching the same surfaces as other shoppers. CPG brands and retailers shifted marketing strategies quickly to meet their consumers’ needs safely.

Before 2020, a digital marketing presence was important – now, it was imperative to a brand’s survival. 

Touch-Free Transactions with Augmented Reality Solutions

Alongside stay-at-home orders and social distancing mandates, online marketing flourished. However, this brought about its own set of challenges, including the supply and demand balance coupled with shipping delays.

To meet these demands, brands have reinvented their digital marketing experience with an old playbook that includes the once-forgotten QR code. The QR (Quick Response) Code is an incredible owned-media channel that features the augmented reality solution necessary to reach consumers in an easy, affordable way. 

Today, a QR code strategy in retail often includes placing these labels on packages and packaging to quickly and connect in a contact-free way with consumers. It delivers a unique experience to points of purchase, helpful videos, contest registration pages, etc. And all consumers have to do is point their camera phone at the QR code and click to be led through the digital brand experience.

The Retail Brands Improving Shopper Engagement with QR Codes

This augmented reality retail strategy has worked well for organizations across a variety of industries, though it’s been a particular value-add for retail brands. Along the front lines of consumerism, retail brands have moved fast to merge QR codes into their current marketing campaigns. Here are a few ways this has led to more consumer engagement.

Ralph Lauren now sews QR codes into all of their clothing. This provides customers with a unique code and digital identity to which they can connect. In addition, this allows Ralph Lauren to reach out directly to their customers before and after a sale.

Puma is also connecting to its customers and potential customers with QR codes. And they aren’t just using them to give consumers a digital experience while in the store – the experience continues long after they have made a purchase.

Other retail brands like Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s, PepsiCo and H&M are investing in new QR code standards and strategies to combine the powerful smartphone in shoppers’ pockets with a direct-to-consumer mobile user interface. These brands now leverage a scannable QR code to improve the customer experience as well as their own point of sale system.

The QR Code as an Effective, Owned-Media Channel

QR codes are virtually everywhere now. A Statista report claims that, by the end of 2020, 11 million US households scanned a QR Code. And with over 81% of US adults having access to a smartphone, that number will continue to rise.

Not only does this make access to consumers (and their own access to brands) easier, it also extends the brand’s reach. When a manufacturer puts a QR code directly on their product or apparel, they create an opportunity for a point of sale with their customers. It encourages consumer engagement and creates a space where customers can order or reorder products easily.

Just think of the hundreds and thousands of products you could sell and the countless consumer connections you can create with a QR code providing easy engagement between you and your consumer. 

As we move into another Holiday season, the demand for online experiences is only going to rise. Adding QR codes to your merchandise is a quick and effective way to engage and track consumers so you can ensure a return on your investment.

Do you have a QR Code strategy built into your next retail marketing campaign? Let’s chat about ways to cut through the clutter and capture your audience’s attention at retail.

Request a free brainstorming session with Cliffedge Marketing.

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