QR Codes Make A Splash At NAIAS

As I predicted earlier, QR codes would soon be everywhere, and at the North American International Auto Show they were. The new, high-tech bar codes were being used by several of the worlds largest automakers at the yearly auto show in Detroit. The codes, which can hold a link to a web page, a picture, or preset text, allows customers access to this information on their smart phones. For the most part, companies at the Detroit Auto Show were using these codes, posted on their cars, to provide more information about the car that you were looking at. Some companies took it a step further. One company used them to direct you to a page that contained information about their products and a $250 “Auto Show” discount on their vehicles. Yet another company used them to sign you up to receive information and enter you in a sweepstakes to win a car.

I was impressed with these large companies utilization of a relatively new phenomena. Plus, not only did they use them, they used them perfectly. They used them to improve user experiences at their displays as well as cut back on a lot of the paper associated with information packets. In addition, I would assume they set up some sort of system to track their total scans on these codes, providing usable data from their presence at the event.

Overall it made the whole experience, which is fun to begin with, far more interesting and interactive. That is why I love these things; they could turn a boring trip to the mall, or grocery store into an interesting, fun, insightful experience. Expect to see a lot more of these in the future.

Good News: Starbucks is Now Making it Easier For Us to Buy Their Coffee.

Are you one of those people that can’t live without getting their favorite drink every morning from Starbucks?

Do you also dislike waiting in line as people fumble with their money, or talk rudely on their cellphones and hold everyone up? Well a new technology might have an answer to both of those problems. Starbucks announced yesterday that soon you will be able to pay for your favorite coffee drinks using your mobile phones. Yup, your heard me right. No more cash or change or anything like that. Soon you will be able to pay for your drink with a quick scan of your phone at all nationwide Starbucks locations.

Starbucks released their Starbucks Card Mobile app a while back and, until now, it hasn’t been good for much other than checking balances on your gift cards. Well now they’ve made it so you can use the app as legal tender at their stores.

Here’s how it works. You get a gift card for Christmas, or you buy a refillable card yourself, and you input it into the card onto your smart phone. From there, any time you want to pay you just push a button and it generates a QR code which you can scan using their readers, and voila, you’re on your way. In addition, you can add to your card anytime using PayPal or a credit card. It’s truly genius.
My hope is that, similar to how everything social I do can be done on my phone, I hope that one day I will no longer need to carry a wallet, and never have to worry about money again. Wouldn’t that be nice? Every great adventure must first start with one small step, and this is that step.

QR Codes: The Coolest Thing You Haven’t Heard of… Yet

Have you ever been out and about and noticed those little scrambled black and white boxes? Well those are called QR codes and they are the future of… well I don’t know, but the possibilities are endless. QR codes, or quick response codes are essentially bar codes that are able to store much more information. They can store URLs, geographic coordinates or text, and can be read by any smart phone, or tablet, with a QR reader. When you scan one of these codes your mobile device will display the hidden content right there in your hand.

I’m going to let that sink in because it is pretty awesome. These little scrambled boxes are paper links that, when opened, take you to whatever information their creator wants you to see. From an advertising standpoint the possibilities excite me to no end: coupon codes on products, coded sponsorships, codes that direct to your site, even guerrilla codes, posted anywhere, that take people to your content. The possibilities are endless.

In addition, as a consumer, I’m equally excited for this. It’s like a scavenger hunt. I’m hoping for hidden codes that provide discounts to a particular establishment, or less excitingly, codes that provide more product information on something I see in a magazine, or in an ad. This can literally make any paper media an interactive, and digital experience. I bet newspapers are letting out a collective sigh of relief. This might save them. They could use codes to give more information or insight that you could read on your tablets or phones, allowing them to provide something that you can’t get online. You could use them in museums to provide interactive content to guests, on your resume to link to your online profile, or put them on your business card to provide a prospective client with more information without more paper.

I’m sorry if this is becoming a scrambled, or rambling post, but I am literally coming up with new uses for these things as I write, and my excitement about them is causing my thoughts to get ahead of my fingers.

Anyway, check these things out, make a couple, get a scanner on your phone and start looking for ‘em. They’re out there.

Mobile Marketing: Ralph Lauren Takes Window Shopping to the Next Level

As we press forward into the future, mobile marketing is increasingly evolving. Billions of people all around the world own and use a cell phone on a daily basis. Among the evolution of mobile marketing, QR codes have recently come about. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what these are let me explain. QR stands for “quick response” code where the code allows its contents to be decoded at high speed.  QR codes were created by the Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. Since then, they have emerged into the Japanese market and have become extremely popular. QR codes are still working their way into the U.S. market and are said to become more prevalent in the future.

Recently, popular designer and fashion icon Ralph Lauren has introduced QR codes into their print ads, mailers and store windows. When scanned with a mobile phone, the code directs the phone’s browser to a website where you can shop for RL products.  For those of you that are impulse buyers this could be heaven on earth. You now have the opportunity to see an item of clothing in a store window, scan the QR code with your phone and purchase the item on the spot without even stepping into the store.  Ralph Lauren hopes that QR codes will become mainstream sometime in the near future.

Rugby Ralph Lauren QR


While researching this topic, I found that most people are extremely skeptical about purchasing items using QR codes. Although it has become extremely popular in Asia, Americans are much more hesitant to put stock in QR codes. Many people felt that since the amount of information they had heard about QR codes was minimal, they questioned the safety of it. Also, others were hesitant about impulse buying and having to potentially whip out their credit cards on a street corner to buy a sweater.

For those of you interested in testing out QR codes here is how you would go about doing that. First, download QR reader software on your phone. (All phones aren’t supported yet so visit m.ralphlauren.com to check if your phone is compatible to download the reader).  Once you’ve downloaded the reader on your phone you can use it to scan any QR codes you see, i.e. the Rugby Ralph Lauren Store in Manhattan, New York.  Your phone will then be directed to that item’s website and you can buy it right there on the spot.

Innovative, yet skeptical this technological advancement is definitely something to be excited about. Keep a lookout for QR codes as they work their way into the U.S. market.  This breakthrough has taken the future of mobile phones to the new level. Ponder the thought, sometime in the near future, if this isn’t already the case, almost all of our personal and business transactions will have the capability to be taken care of over our mobile phones, thus, almost making it like a mini-computer. Oh the possibilities!