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Crate And Barrel Deploys QR Codes To Promote Gift Card Contest

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Crate and Barrel has joined other leading retailers, such as Macy’s, Target and Wal-Mart, in deploying a marketing campaign featuring quick response (QR) codes.  With QR codes, shoppers can instantly receive special offers, free items, or gain access to a retailer’s mobile site by using their smartphone to scan a 2D barcode on in-store signage, billboards, ads or catalogs. This promise of special deals and coupons has increased consumer interaction with QR code advertising, according to recent survey results from advertising and interactive marketing firm MGH Modern Marketing.

In a survey of 415 smartphone users, MGH reported that the majority of respondents (70%) plan to use QR codes in the near future. Top reasons for this trend include obtaining a coupon, discount or deal (87%), entering a sweepstakes (64%), and accessing additional information (63%).

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This strong consumer response has boosted retailer investment in the marketing technique, according to Joy Liuzzo, Senior Director of InsightExpress. “I have spoken with a variety of different companies and they are envisioning QR codes as a way to make their print catalogs come to life and be more interactive,” she noted.

Crate and Barrel is using QR codes to maximize consumer attention through a gift card promotion. For the promotion, the home furnishings retailer placed a 2D mobile barcode on the back of its new catalog and offered consumers the chance to win a $500 gift card. The campaign also allowed shoppers to sign up for Crate and Barrel’s email newsletter and receive alerts when new products are released or when sales are announced.

The gift card promotion is scheduled to run from August 1, 2011 through September 30, 2011. One winner will be selected to receive the $500 gift card, which will be redeemable at any Crate and Barrel location, online or through the retailer’s catalog.

Crate and Barrel’s new cross-channel campaign is an optimal method to increase its opt-in database, according to Liuzzo. “It’s another channel for Crate and Barrel to connect with its customers,” she said. “We know that consumers are flowing between mobile and online, so acknowledging that by using mobile to recruit for email newsletters is a smart strategy.”

Barriers To QR Code Adoption

One stumbling block with QR codes, according to Liuzzo, may be the number of steps consumers must complete before reaching the final destination in a QR campaign. “My biggest hesitation with QR codes currently is that it is a four- to five-step process to get to the end goal,” Liuzzo said. “Download the app, open the app, scan the QR code, get the content and interact with the content. It’s definitely cooler than filling out a card at the register, but I’m not sure it’s going to generate more entries and engagements.”

To maximize the potential of QR code campaigns, Liuzzo recommends deploying valuable offers that are easy to access, rather than offering mass-produced coupons that only elicit one-time buys. “QR codes have potential but most campaigns still make consumers jump through too many hoops to get to something that isn’t that great in the end,” she said. “Making the end goal more relevant and less gimmicky (e.g., coupon, contest entry) will go a long way in demonstrating the value to consumers.”

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