Guest column: QR codes and retail

Home Columns Guest Column Guest column: QR codes and retail

Lauren Rhodes-Braden

FCNews Volume 27/Number 12, October 22/29, 2012

The flooring industry is not the first industry you think of with regards to technology and social marketing, but we are certainly making headway.

Many suppliers have gotten on board with advanced Facebook and Twitter pages, social apps where customers can learn more about a product, and are now incorporating QR codes into their marketing and branding. What are these square ink blots and are they helpful?

QR codes are informational barcodes that direct us to a location designated by the creator. It is the same concept as a bar- code directing the salesperson to the price and item name when scanning your purchase at a grocery store. QR codes have been around since the mid ’90s, but many of us didn’t start seeing them until a few years ago. They were originally designed as an industry-specific tool used for the Toyota Corp., but have now become main- stream across the globe.

The first step to reading a QR code is to have a QR Code reader on your smartphone. There are many different readers; some require you to scan the code and others require you to take a photograph of it. Regardless of the method, when the code is registered by the code reader, you will be directed to a website, contact information, a landing page for a company or even a picture.

Success story

When I joined our family business in 2010, we had a basic Facebook account, which was only able to be maintained once a week by our co-owner and marketing director. There was no time to put much effort into it. I took over all aspects of our websites and our Facebook page and added a Twitter— @FloorTraderGC—and YouTube account.

After getting a handle on everything, I decided we needed a new method of getting our information out to our customers.

Enter QR Codes.

I decided we needed two specific QR Codes with which to start. The first one was a custom code created by a local ad agency. It has our colors and logo and directs the customer to a landing page.

This page gives the user the opportunity to visit all of our social media sites—Facebook, Twitter and YouTube—as well as email us directly and click on our mobile site to see our products. It allows us to not only deliver our information, but our branding message as well. We put this code on everything that goes out to our customers as well as in store signage.

Our second QR code is one that directs customers straight to our “Monthly Promotions” page. When it is scanned, people see our current monthly flyer and any other promotions we have going at the time. This code is placed around the store and on a card we send to every customer after they have shopped in our store.

Like everything else, we monitor the statistics of our marketing efforts, and in just the first two-and-a-half months of using the QR codes, we had over 370 unique scans, 29 “click to calls” to the stores and nine “Map Me” requests to get directions to our locations.

The codes have provided a great way to talk to customers about our web presence when they walk into our store and see one of them. Customers get excited to see the code, scan it and compliment us on our for- ward movement in keeping up with the times.

We are moving this industry forward one scan at a time.

Lauren Rhodes-Braden is the social marketing and promotions director for the Floor Trader stores in Mississippi and Alabama. She can be reached at

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