But losses mount for the home furnishings e-retailer that went public in October.
Retailers use drag-and-drop tools to design custom promotions for any products in their catalogs. When a customer scans a QR code or walks within range of in-store wireless transmitters, the custom promotion pops up on his mobile browser.
The QR code has faded, but a new tool resurrects them as a way for retailers to offer individualized offers to mobile consumers.
The technology, from vendor Qliktag Software, allows retailers to create custom mobile-optimized promotions for individual products that customers access by either scanning a QR code or moving into range of an in-store wireless device, such as a beacon. Retailers can upload bulk batches of products or SKUs at one time. The merchant can then organize the products into groups, such as by brand, and design a template for the mobile promotion that will apply to each item in the group. The template can include special promotions, coupons, questionnaires or contests, Qliktag says. It can also include product information and images that load according to which specific item a customer scans.
“QR codes are not new to the retail industry, but their potential has barely been tapped due to implementation limitations which make it difficult to deploy and customize for a large number of products or SKUs,” says Qliktag CEO Dilip Daswani. “Qliktag has the ability to generate thousands of QR codes and unique promotions on the individual-product level so the customer gets a different experience for each item, rather than just a single brand-level promotion, which is how QR codes have been traditionally used.”
California-based craft beer maker Butcher’s Brewing has been testing Qliktag promotions in its tasting room for several months, and this month it will start including QR codes on all its bottled products, says co-founder Gabriel Tenneberg. In the tasting room, customers can scan codes to get more information about the beverages they are trying, such as the percentage of alcohol, ingredients and taste notes.
“We are getting a good response in terms of collecting data about our customers,” Tenneberg says. “Plus we have an interactive section where our customers can comment on our beers. Pretty funny comments coming from some that have tipped a few too many back!”
Butcher’s is now considering adding beacons, which detect and interact with mobile devices typically via Bluetooth Low Energy wireless connections, in its brewery and store, he adds.
“We think there is a lot we can do with Qliktag as we dive into it more,” he says. “Once our customer gets used to scanning for information we think we can offer other value-added promotions or incentives that will make them continually scan.” For instance, he says the brewery might use Qliktag to create mobile notifications that tell customers about more of the products it has available.
Putting the promotions together is a drag-and-drop process. Most of the banners or images a retailer may have already created for another marketing campaign are reusable inside the Qliktag software, the vendor says. “It took an hour to set it all up and now we can change any product detail or message instantly—it couldn’t be easier,” Butcher's Brewing's Tenneberg says.
For each SKU, the software automatically creates a unique QR code. A retailer can adjust which codes correspond to which promotions via the web dashboard. It can also change the settings for beacons and other broadcasting technologies to pop up certain promotions when a customer holding a mobile device walks into a certain area, Qliktag says.
The vendor also provides reporting in the web dashboard so a retailer can monitor how many times a product has been scanned, and which promotions are being activated through QR codes or wireless broadcasting, and where exactly they're activated, the vendor says.
Qliktag charges a monthly fee starting at $750, for 100 SKUs or less, and increasing based on the client’s industry and total SKU count. “It’s tough to do anything these days for under $1,000 that gives you an impact, whether it’s an event, a sponsorship, an ad or a beer festival,” Tenneberg says. “We feel directly connecting to our customer while they are enjoying our product is money well spent.”