July 20, 2020 · 3 min read

QR codes and Walmart partnership landscape

Last week we talked about how traditional retailers are rushing to embrace e-commerce in response to the pandemic-led social distancing and ‘death’ of on-site retail shopping.

Needless to say Amazon and Ocado as well as bricks and mortar companies which have been quietly investing in ‘digital offerings’ are having their moment. Walmart is a good example. The infographic below maps out Walmart’s partnership landscape aimed at digital transformation.

Now that we have seen how a traditional retailer can shift online, this week we are going to see how we can keep our physical distance by managing foot traffic at a physical location.

This week, we are going to focus on QR codes.

QR codes have been with us for a while (invented by DENSO 26 years ago!), though personally, I have never had an incentive to scan those tiny little dizzy squares (because I'm a smart consumer who doesn’t get played around by marketing gimmicks?). Then the pandemic hit us and we had to come up with ways to minimize physical interaction including queuing, having conversations, exchanging paper and so on.

I also like the idea of ‘saving the planet’ and not printing hundreds or thousands of business cards (although they are still a big part of the business protocol in some cultures). If you have a Linked in profile too, you can get the QR-code which is YOU. Just click on the miniature ‘QR’ code which appears in your Search bar when you open linked in on your phone, then ‘My Code’ and ‘Save to Photos’. That is it. Anyone scanning this on their phone will go straight to your Linked In page!

Below are some use cases of QR codes that retailers could adopt. The use cases are laid out in order of customer journey from customer acquisition, in-store, sales, to customer retention. The steps marked in orange can be especially helpful to reduce physical contact.

To help your understanding, a few scenarios are developed.

Scenario 1.

You see a pizza advertisement at a bus stop.

You scan the QR code and it displays nearby locations of the pizza chain.

You order your hawaiian pizza (would my audience allow this?) online and go to the pizza place to pick it up.

You join the pickup queue by scanning a QR code. It will allow you to virtually queue so you can wait in a less crowded space (e.g. a park nearby) and get notified when yours is ready.

At the pickup desk you could scan a QR code that gives you a 50% discount for your second order in the future.

Scenario 2

You see an advertisement telling you that company X’s toilet paper could change your life (and is the only luxury you can indulge in for now?).

You scan the QR code to find out more.

You are totally buying it, so you go to your nearest Walmart.

The household section presents you ten different options so you scan the QR codes on the packaging to learn about the materials because you are an eco-conscious person.

Using Scan & Go that lets you add items to cart as you go without having to unpack at checkout to read barcodes.