The Powerful Combination of QR Codes and ESLs

Paul Milner

In the early 2010s, QR codes were everywhere. They were all the rage amongst marketers and others who wanted to offer smart phone users quick access to information with a simple scan.

While they may not have been as prevalent in the last couple of years, QR codes are experiencing a steady resurgence these days. Social media platforms like Snapchat and Facebook have begun utilizing QR codes to link to profiles and websites while Spotify has introduced codes that allow users to immediately play songs once scanned. QR codes are far from dead. This is true in the US, UK and especially in other corners of the world such as China, where QR codes are still widely popular and utilized virtually everywhere.

In the retail and grocery industries, many organizations are adopting the best aspects of QR codes to enhance the in-store user experience. Even within more traditional grocery stores, QR codes are being explored as an avenue to provide shoppers with details about their food. In fact, the US Department of Agriculture has been considering the benefits of using QR codes to disclose GMOs as a way to comply with labelling and disclosure laws.

As technology continues to embrace QR codes, retailers now have a unique opportunity to utilize new technologies to deliver a better in-store experience for customers and associates. ESLs are well-equipped to lead this charge, providing shoppers with easy access to information right on the shelf edge.

Here are some examples of how ESLs and QR codes work together to improve the in-store experience:

  • Customer engagement: ESLs enable retailers and brands to share recipes, meal recommendations or special promotions based on a shopper’s allergy or dietary needs via a QR code on the label. They can also help to build trust with shoppers and improve customer interaction - especially with tech savvy, experience-driven Millennial and Centennial shoppers.

  • Improving operations: With ESLs, retailers can display inventory messages to help staff efficiently restock shelves and advise customers on stock availability. They can also provide merchandising guidance. For example, by scanning QR codes on ESLs, store associates can view training content on mobile devices to help them keep shelves stocked and create consistent and engaging environments across stores.

  • More information: QR codes can be displayed on ESLs to give shoppers with smartphones more information at their fingertips including further product details via the retailer’s website, product videos, sustainability information, source of origin and customer reviews and ratings at the shelf edge. All of these pieces of information help inform a shopper’s buying decision. 

  • Easier to order: Displaying stock levels on your shelf-edges, along with a QR code that can be scanned by a smartphone to link the shopper to a simple home delivery process, can help secure potentially lost sales due to out-of-stock issues.

New technology is working to make QR codes more efficient and effective in delivering information to consumers. As brands and retailers continue to embrace these tools, we can expect to see QR codes offer new possibilities for both stores and customers. Combined with ESLs, retailers now have the power to utilize QR codes to the fullest, offering customers the information they want in a simple and engaging way that builds trust and loyalty.

About Displaydata

Our Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) bring the shelf-edge into the Internet of Things era, helping to create shopping experiences that are more engaging, rewarding and personalised – and profitable. We help retailers optimise sales and margin at the shelf-edge, where 90% of purchases are still made.

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