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How To Capture Powerful Insights from Retail QR Code Campaigns [Case Study]

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Can QR codes provide measurable insights that other marketing tools cannot? Check out the powerful analytics from this retail case study and learn five simple steps to capture and leverage metrics for your next QR code campaign.

As a new technology, QR code marketing can be intimidating. The key is determining how it can add value and produce tangible ROI. To do that, let's take a look at the actual analytics for a QR code campaign and review the insights.

QR Code Analytics - U.S. Retail Case Study

Below is a screenshot sampling of QR code analytics from the Delivr QR code management platform depicting actual metrics from a national retail QR code campaign. (The campaign owner wishes to remain anonymous.) The product was sold nationally across the U.S. at retail stores. QR codes were placed on the exterior product packaging and linked to additional use instructions and tips. Take a quick look at some Delivr QR code analytics for this retail campaign.

Global Aggregate Report - QR Code Scans (Delivr Screenshot)

U.S. Activity Map - QR Code Scans (Delivr Screenshot)

U.S. East Coast Activity Map - QR Code Scans (Delivr Screenshot)

Based on these charts we can make the following assessments:

Key Insights:

  • Even though the campaign was run in the U.S., it captured some international attention
  • Scans generally appear in clusters, likely around stores
  • A decent number of small scans appear outside clusters, likely in homes, post-purchase
  • The link in the barcode is being shared (3.9% of traffic was via desktop, not mobile)
  • Scanning peaks late afternoons on weekends

Action Items:

  • Schedule in-store visits/demonstrations on Saturday or Sunday between 1-5 p.m.
  • Target local advertising options (i.e., newspaper, radio, TV) around scan clusters
  • Investigate and test potential selling locations near smaller scan clusters
  • Compare store location sales and scans to assess QR code impact on conversion rates
  • Ensure the landing page adds value for both pre- and post-purchase
  • Consider post-purchase-specific QR codes to gather customer reviews and feedback
  • Update the landing page with display logic for both desktop and mobile-friendly viewing
  • Optimize and encourage link sharing on the landing page (Use a different URL to distinguish analytics)

Some of these actionable insights are extremely powerful. For example, without the QR codes, determining the best 1-hour timeframe to visit a store for demonstrations would have required a lot of trial and error. Understanding the radius of an engaged target audience proximate to store locations is an insight otherwise not available.

How to Gather Powerful Insights for Your QR Code Campaign

1. Define Your Business Objective & Success Metrics

A campaign should always begin with a business objective that adds value for the user. (See my QR Code Best Practices & Campaign Worksheet.) Common objectives include improving conversion, generating leads, driving web traffic, and building loyalty.

Defining your objective also includes selecting metrics to measure success. Brand awareness is a common objective that few companies fail to actually measure. Since you'd need an unbiased response, consider something like an in-store survey asking shoppers to rate their awareness of brands on a list. Once you have the metric, even if it's your first campaign, set a target goal for success.

2. Select a QR Code Management Platform

Delivr QR Code Management

Select a QR code generator that includes a platform for tracking and managing scan analytics. (QR code generators and management platforms are dependent. You can't generate a code with one tool and track it with another.)

QR Code Management Platforms:

Note: These are just some of the available platforms. We're not endorsing any of these products.

3. Make a List of Known Data and Available Metrics

In order to evaluate metrics, you need to take inventory of what you know and what you can measure. Consider data throughout the marketing process. For example:

Marketing Data: Barcode Metrics: Website Metrics:
  • Location of products
  • Location of QR codes
  • Dates product is available
  • Date of product sales
  • Location of product sales
  • Active advertising/promotions
  • Scanned content/URL
  • Activity date and time
  • Mobile device used
  • Activity/User location*
  • User demographics**
  • Bounce rate
  • Time on site
  • Page views
  • Repeat visits
  • Source (referral, direct entry)
  • Purchases

(I use the term "activity" because it's difficult to distinguish a mobile scan from a QR code URL directly entered into a mobile web browser.)

User Location Accuracy*

Since mobile users are connected to the Internet, their IP address provides general scan location metrics to the approximate city level. Wi-Fi networks can narrow the location down to a small neighborhood.

The greatest location precision comes when users enable their QR reader app to use their current location. Many users fear "big brother" and don't allow apps to use their current location, so neighborhood and city metrics are likely the best you'll get.

Availability of User Demographics**

Some QR reader apps include profiles or accounts for users to enter personal demographic data. Providing this data can enable personalization of campaign offers like targeted coupons and local price shopping. Most users are hesitant to provide personal data, so the sample size is generally too small to make educated assessments. It's still worthwhile data to review when available.

4. Review QR Code Analytics

In general, a list of scan metrics provides limited value. Select a QR code management tool like Delivr that provides visual displays such as trend lines, pie charts, and maps. These features allow you to more quickly gather insights and actionable takeaways.

5. Determine Actionable Insights

Based on the available information, document your conclusions and your questions.

When you're reviewing analytics, always investigate and report on the "why" as well as the "what." (For example: What: Highest scans were on weekends. Why: The target demographic works on weekdays. What: Scans were highest at stores A and B. Why: These stores included a promotional display featuring instructions for scanning QR codes.) It's the "why" element that produces a relevant understanding for teams involved in the campaign. If you don't know "why," it's imperative to investigate.

Questions to ask for understanding the "Why":

  • Is there a recognizable user behavior pattern consistent with previous campaigns?
  • What other advertising campaigns were running simultaneous? (i.e. email, radio, etc.)
  • Did the campaign get mentioned by online bloggers or local news?
  • Where was the product located in the store? (i.e. end cap, near checkout, back wall, etc.)
  • What competing products were nearby?
  • What was included on the promotion display?
  • How was the store lighting? (Shadows and reflections can complicate code scanning.)
  • What guidance was provided to help users scan the code?
  • Were store representatives on hand to assist users?
  • Was there something else taking place in town that day at that hour?
  • Was the store running special promotions during the campaign?
  • How do location demographics differ? (i.e. tech-level, education, age, income, etc.)
  • What would compel a user to scan a code after making the purchase?
  • Are there any barriers to scanning the code post-purchase? (i.e. damaged packaging)
  • Why are users bouncing from the landing page?
  • Is the ad context and landing page content consistent?
  • Is the landing page mobile-friendly?

To draw better conclusions introduce A/B testing and segmentation to your campaigns. Consider unique URL links for different geolocations or stores. Cross promote your QR code campaign in different advertising channels. Add a lead form to your landing page. In all the tactics you do, just be sure it's measurable and ties back to your business objective.

Now that you've seen impressive analytics from this QR code campaign, will you start a QR code marketing campaign for your retail products? What retail campaigns have you done or seen? What insights did you gather? Please share your thoughts in the comments below!


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