QR Code "Shelf Talkers"

The Port Townsend Food Coop, located in Port Townsend, Washington, launched what is believed to be the first QR code video “shelf talker” program in the country with Olympic Peninsula cheese maker Mt. Townsend Creamery. When the shelf codes are scanned they resolve to videos, which feature the Mt. Townsend Creamery’s head cheese maker talking about what makes their cheese unique. 

While it is too early in the program to know scan/success rates, it’s not too early to see how useful these barcode shelf talkers could be in other retail settings. For example, how many times have you gone into a big box retail electronics store and found the staff to be less than knowledgeable about the products being sold. For me, plenty. To be able to scan a code and get a complete and detailed product description and or product review, right there on the spot, would be extremely useful and serve to enhance the shopping experience for most. What’s unfortunate, however, is that companies may come to rely on barcode shelf talkers or kiosks to provide this type of information, as opposed to properly training their floor staff, but that’s fodder for another article altogether.

The instructions which appear next to the Food Coop’s codes reads, “free app for your smart phone, http://get.beetagg.com” and the only comment I have is that this copy does not  fully explain what the app is and why anyone may need it.

It will be interesting to see where else 2D barcode shelf talkers start popping up.

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8 thoughts on “QR Code "Shelf Talkers"

  1. It's an interesting concept, with the immediate problem being that it's a one-way conversation and doesn't allow the Customer to directly engage.

    Far more interesting would be a conversational SMS exchange that then delivers a contextually relevant video.

    That said, really, the last thing I want when I'm in a store is a video that I have to watch and listen to. It's counter-intuitive to the location and consumer experience. Who has time to stand around and watch a 30-60 second video when they are shopping? No one I know.

  2. Again, thank you for commenting. I don't see it as an “immediate problem” in the sense that the consumer can choose whether or not he/she wants to watch the video. Could there be a more targeted solution, perhaps, but the offering of additional product information, to me, simply enhances the shopping experience and may help move a consumer further along in the purchase process. Frankly, I would rather learn about a product through a well-informed video than from a non-informed retail sales clerk. How well the product video is designed and laid out is another story and of course is essential to ensure a great experience.

  3. I agree, Roger. It's all relative to what's appropriate to the shopper's needs. If the video (or other mobile experience) adds value in connection with a relatively unknown product, then it has passed the engagement test. Recently, a honey product company used QR Codes on their labels to provide recipes (for the parent), plus a cross-promo clip for an upcoming Disney video (mainly for the kid in the shopping cart seat.)

  4. I concur that it's a step in the right direction. It offers specific information at a specific location toward a specific item.

    But, video is de facto a “passive” medium, which you are interjecting into a mobile and interactive space.

    Oil. Water.

    Not that all video for mobile is a bad idea. But, I don't see it as the killer app coming off of a QR Tag.

    I guess I'm looking for interactive, drill-down, personal, fun and value. But, I'm pretty hard to please.

    I'd really love the numbers on how many people FINISHED watching one of these videos? Or, those who cut it off in under :10 seconds? Maybe people want video when they are in-store? But, unless we get data beyond # of scans and completed viewing (hard to parse that; even internet video analytics are shaking in that regard), but, we need some indicator as to User satisfaction from passive video in active spaces before making too many commitments in that direction. I know pushing out a video off a Tag is “the thing to do” (Calvin Klein et al), but, is it the right thing to do?

  5. Food for thought….

    There is nothing to prevent sales people from accessing the shelf talkers to learn more about the company/product/FAQ/etc.

    Content on a QR Code shelf talker is changeable. One week it can link to a video, the next a recipe, the next a FAQ, the next a customer story, the next a video channel, the next a coupon, etc. The group that created the 2d code has control over where the link will go and when it will change.

    Consumers don’t have to spend time learning about products in the isle of the retail store. They can snap information on the run and access it later on their phone or PC.

    Regarding it “doesn't allow the Customer to directly engage”. If the sales people are knowledgeable, then the customers are happy to engage with them.

    The big question is. Will 2d shelf talkers increase sales?

  6. Jack – I agree with what you say and believe it is spot on. The only thing that I would add is that if you change the code resolve to something different each week, for example, then maybe you indicate this update on the shelf talker card some how, so regular shoppers of the store will know that the resolve has been updated.

  7. Roger – True. For example, “Wednesday” can be added to the shelf talker to indicate new content is available every Wednesday.

  8. At Curd Collective (http://curdcollective.com) we're planning to roll out a couple of QR-related solutions (see way down below). It'd be great to get your feedback.

    What we provide users…
    Direct engagement via cheese-in feature. User's can say that they're at the location (via Foursquare) and say what they think directly.

    Additional product information via information directly from the producer. But, our goal is to have more information than what's provided on the producer (reviews, crowd-sourced information). Pregnant women and vegetarians are target users.

    More info below…

    Individual cheese QR codes:
    When scanned a user would be redirected to the cheese's data in our site. Here you will find reviews & ratings, community tasting notes, nerd facts, and more.

    Venue specific QR codes:
    Each venue in Curd Collective has a digital cheese case. This is an inventory system that tracks cheeses. It is populated by user cheese-ins and via a drag & drop interface (controlled by the monger). So, we're planning to build a QR code that links to each venue's digital cheese case on Curd Collective. Therefore it's one scan and then into the digital case. Here you can filter cheeses and make a more informed (by seeing producer facts) purchase decision.

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