August 8, 2011, 3:08 PM

QR codes take to the road

Nissan adorns window stickers with the mobile commerce-ready bar codes.

Lead Photo

A scan of the Quick Response code can open web pages on a consumer's smartphone that include more information about a vehicle.

When heading out to shop for 2012 Nissan cars and trucks, car shoppers will want to bring along their smartphones. It could open a window to more information about the vehicles they’re considering.

Following a June debut on 2012 Nissan Altima and Sentra models, Nissan North America is placing Quick Response codes on the window stickers of all of its new cars and trucks.

QR codes are a type of 2-D bar code, black-and-white or color squares that can contain much more information than conventional one-dimensional bar codes, and that are increasingly being used in marketing to mobile consumers. A consumer can download a mobile 2-D bar code reader app for free. He opens the app and holds his smartphone above the QR code; the camera automatically reads the code, then links him to a mobile-optimized web page containing product information, customer reviews or product videos.

In Nissan’s case, the QR codes tap into specific vehicle information, such as all the available versions of a single model; video-based reviews; images; any incentives; a check of dealer inventory; a form to request a price quote; a form to join a mailing list; and information about the dealer.

Nissan says the test with the Altima and Sentra models showed that many consumers viewed multiple pages once they scanned the codes, and subsequently requested follow-up information about the cars.

“Nissan's new QR code program puts important decision-making information at shoppers' fingertips while on dealership lots,” says Jon Brancheau, vice president of marketing at Nissan North America, “helping sales personnel make a more effective presentation, as well as providing customers with a 'silent salesperson' if they are shopping the lot after hours."

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