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QR Codes for the Harried

Studies have show that QR codes are best aimed at certain demographics–usually male, upper income and beyond the teen and twenty-something years. Another category, some retailers are discovering, is the harried commuter., an online retailer of health and beauty supplies, has borrowed a retail concept–the pop-up store—and adapted it to the digital world via a QR code. Pop up stores, usually seen around the holidays, are temporary small-sized outposts usually established to take advantage of foot traffic in a certain location. set up its site at a key commuter hub in Toronto, catching harried commuters’ eye with images of Pampers diapers and Tide detergent, the Globe and Mail explains.

Shoppers, via a smartphone app, scan the QR code to buy the product, which is usually shipped within 24 hours free of charge. Other Retailers is not the first retailer to try to target people rushing about their day via a QR code strategically placed in a transportation hub. Like the brick and mortar pop up store concept, a handful of forward-looking retailers tried out the concept during the holidays.’s move to set up a store suggests it is a concept with legs that can work outside of the holiday shopping season. Late last year MRT, Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system allowed several virtual shops to open at its stations, including Supermarket chain Cold Storage.

It used specially-QR code equipped posters from which commuters were able to order from a menu of 20 Christmas food items and have the order delivered. Toys R Us installed posters for a QR code-enabled virtual store in New York’s transit system during the holiday season. Sears installed a series of mobile shopping walls throughout the country at airports, malls, movies theaters and bus shelters, through which customers could buy toys via QR codes.

Beyond Intuitive Reasoning

The case for targeting people on the go with an easy shopping app is an intuitive one–especially during the busy holidays. Now, new statistics from the International Council of Shopping Centers better quantifies this opportunity, showing exactly why it is worth marketers’ efforts to grab people’s attention at transport hubs.

It conducted a nationwide survey of office workers and ask the respondent to describe the retail availability around one’s office building as well as their shopping patterns to and from work. It found average aggregate spending per office worker per week—excluding transportation and online purchases made from the office—was $129.18.

Moreover, this current study found that markets with ample retail tend to experience significantly more spending—approximately 140% more—than in limited-retail venues.


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