Over the past decade, it’s become an annual tradition to wonder if retail is soon to die. Mega e-commerce giants are shutting out brick-and-mortar retailers, traditional retail mainstays are vanishing one by one, and everyone is looking to build out a solid direct-to-consumer strategy — and QR codes are apart of that strategy.
The pressure to go virtual is higher than ever. Yet we’re seeing a revolution in retail rather than an apocalypse, one that features dynamic displays, personalized shopping experiences and contactless solutions.
On top of that, the expansion of 5G technology and the ubiquity of smartphones have allowed QR-code marketing to reach exciting new levels. But not all QR codes are created equal. While there are many benefits to using QR codes for retail as outlined below, leveraging Flowcode for retail experiences creates a more premium, custom, and secure experience for shoppers.
How QR codes are used in retail?
From self-service shopping to encouraging in-store engagement, QR codes can be used in numerous ways. Let's break them down!
1. QR codes for contactless payment
Contactless payment options such as “scan and go” were already on the rise, but are now becoming essential during the COVID era. Rather than printing the codes on physical media, brands can issue each customer a unique payment code. The code is typically accessed via an app, which cashiers can then scan to complete the payment.
2. QR codes for contactless self-service and shopping
Also, QR codes are increasingly allowing consumers to avoid contact throughout their shopping experience. For example, many restaurants have started posting codes that link to digital menus, rather than handing out print menus.
That’s not to say customer service isn’t important. In fact, consumers are ever more interested in personalized, fully supported shopping experiences. Before COVID hit, many retailers were beginning to roll out floor consultants, customized coupons and shopping lists, and information kiosks. Now, many of these amenities are going virtual and touchless, all handled through apps that cater to each customer’s unique needs.
3. QR codes for improved disclosures and selling techniques
As conscientious consumption and product transparency have become more important to consumers, many companies are providing enhanced ingredient lists, health advisories, and other key details via QR codes on product packaging. Also, clever merchandisers have learned how to create demo videos, interactive webpages, and other rich content that enhance product packaging.
One of QR codes’ chief benefits is that they can reroute customers’ attention back to the retailer. The practice “showrooming” is when consumers window-shop for products, then purchase the item for cheaper from an online retailer. Obviously, this is harmful to brick-and-mortar companies who can’t compete with online prices. Brands have tried several remedies, including BOPIS (buy-online-pickup-in-store), to encourage online shoppers to give them their business. However, most consumers prefer to shop in-store for products such as home appliances, computers, luxury accessories, and cosmetics. It’s all too easy for them to locate the model or style they want, then search for it online.
By placing QR codes on the product or its display, merchandisers can send interested consumers to their own content. A demo video, discount code, or valuable content can keep the consumer engaged — and therefore less likely to run off to an online retailer.
Creative ways to use QR Codes in retail
QR codes are now an expected sight in the retail environment. However, most people associate them with payment, more times than not the scan destination is a broken link, they aren't dynamic so you can't change where the scan goes to after a period of time, and they aren't always privacy compliant and secure with your data.
That's why Flowcode is the #1 QR code for retail. Our custom designed, privacy compliant, dynamic codes are immensely versatile, which makes them ideal for in-store marketing. Flowcode can direct to YouTube videos, social media accounts, Venmo, phone calls, AR shopping experiences, Flowpage, and more. They allow consumers to take control of their shopping experience with unlimited scans and codes that never expire.
In keeping with the retail trends we described above, here are some ways to use Flowcode to enhance your customers’ experience:
4. QR codes encourage in-store engagement without human contact
Want to provide exceptional customer service even if you’re short-staffed due to COVID? Allow people to answer their own questions by posting a Flowcode that opens a chatbot, store map, Q&A, or tutorials. You can also drive customers toward loyalty program signup, your social media channels, etc.
Remember, people like to have fun and feel connected to brands while they shop. It’s the simple reason that well-known brands continue to command sales even if cheaper, generic alternatives are available. A uniquely designed and valuable experience will always be more enticing than the opposite.
5. QR codes allow people to make appointments and request services via their phones
No one wants to wait in line anymore, so if your store offers consultations, service appointments, and so on, allow consumers to sign up
for spots by scanning a Flowcode. By making customer service available on-demand, you’re more likely to actually get bookings that lead to conversions. Plus, this tactic minimizes the number of people in your store if you have limited capacity.
6. QR codes encourage people to get your company’s perks
Coupons are an excellent way to drive sales. In fact, consumers who use coupons spend about 24% more on average, and multiple studies show that many people look for deals when making purchase decisions. That said, coupons are notoriously easy to lose, and most consumers prefer digital versions.
Make it easy for them with Flowcodes. Print them on product displays, store signage, or even receipts. Your customers can download coupons or instantly receive discount codes to use online or in-store.
You can also use Flowcode to encourage your customers to sign up for loyalty or referral programs. This is a great way to save paper clutter and minimize contact during the COVID era.
7. QR codes offer an immersive experiences for better conversions
Now, with the simple scan of a Flowcode, consumers can launch virtual try-ons, product customization simulations, branded filters, and more. These tactics all boost engagement and help customers envision themselves with the product — which is crucial to conversion!
Plus, these virtual alternatives are much more appealing in the COVID era. Many retailers have closed their fitting rooms and sample counters. There may not be enough staff on the floor to provide consultations or expert advice. How many sales are lost if people can’t assess their options? Augmented reality provides that — and even if your business cannot afford the full AR technology, the simple act of providing on-demand customer service helps convert and retain customers. This can all be done via a Flowcode that lead to explainer videos, chatbots, etc.
Ready to use QR codes in your store?
Adding digital enhancements to the real-world experience isn’t just a nifty parlor trick: it’s essential to the future of retail during the COVID era. Consumers are looking for ways to enjoy a customized shopping experience while staying safe. Flowcode can meet their needs — and drive overall brand satisfaction as well. As a link between the physical world and the limitless digital realm, Flowcode is already transforming retail. At such a low cost, it’s more affordable than ever to make your business COVID-safe and customer-friendly.
Check out Flowcode’s retail page for possible use-cases and to get started creating your own codes!