How to Motivate Retailer Shoppers with QR Codes

QR code is a kind of a gateway connecting a digital world and a true life via mobile devices. Though nowadays more and more people believe QR code is going to die out or be replaced by other cutting-edge techniques, marketers still put so much effort into encouraging customers to scan the QR code. Last week Kelly showed us some giant QR code from the slide which tried to catch customers’ eyes. In fact, not only the size matters, I find a QR code campaign impressively initiating conversation by a novel experiencing of a 3D QR code created by sun and its shadow.

The case is E-MART, the largest retail chain in Korea, recently launched a QR code campaign called” Sunny Sale”. The company realized there was a sales gap during weekday lunch time. We might take this phenomenon for granted but the marketers came up with the idea of giving people a unique lunch shopping experience to increase sales during the period.
擷取1E-MART launched 3D QR code sculpture only readable from 12:00pm to 1:00pm, due to the position of the sunlight and shadow. E-MART expanded a concept of QR code from digital 2D image which is composed of 0 and 1 to analog 3D figure as an artwork which has width, height and depth. The unique time limit restricting chance to participate per day quickly brings the attention to many people. The campaign gives an added scarcity value to participants making obtaining the benefits more attractive. Consumers who scanned the QR Code were directed to the E-MART online store and received $12 coupons for products to be delivered in their homes. This action expanded to 36 locations in Seoul, increased the number of members by 58%, and led to a 25% increase in sales during the lunch hour.


So, what’s the reason the sun plays a key role in the campaign? According to the marketers from this campaign, they indicates that sun uses that time to direct to the location, and represents positive meanings such as happiness, and hope for the brand. The campaign definitely brings positive thinking about E-MART and their brand to potential and original customers through experiencing a novel QR code created by sun and its shadow. Since this campaign was so creative and successful, it won 5 Lions at the Cannes Lions 2012, 2 prizes at London International Awards and 7 prizes at Spikes Asia 2012.

Another interesting usage of 2D Code

Most of our experience of 2D Code is

l   Step1: Open 2D Code Scanner

l   Step2: Stabilize your hands and scan the 2D Code from the posters, magazines or brochures

l   Step3: Follow the link to a website, watch a video or trailer

2D Codes only bring people to the web page and then leave them there, so that’s where business falls short. However, it is more like extension of the advertisements or marketing campaigns. The book “Go Mobile” mentions that “ Don’t run 2D Code program in isolation. If you integrate the promotion with other marketing campaigns, the result will improve.”


I found that JC Penney, the US department store chain, has come up with an ingenious use for QR Codes called “Who’s Your Santa” campaign, in last Christmas. JC Penney invited customers to personalize their Christmas giving with the use of 2D tags and mobile phone technology. When purchasing in JC Penny, consumers get a “Santa Tag” in the form of 2D Codes and enable so record a personalized gift message for each of their gifts. Attaching 2D Codes to gifts allows givers to record a 60-second message. The gift receivers scan the 2D Code on the gift and listen to the blessing message. At the same time, the codes enable the user to reply with a thank you note to the giver.

In fact, customers can complete the same process through e-mail or voice message instead of 2D Code. However, the process would be lack of the instant feeling of gifts being on hand and listening to the wish immediately. It is a small creativity but it breaks through the application of 2D Code for just accessing the website. The novel campaign is able to interact with the customers and improves the impression of JC Penney.