Ocado realising the potential of mobile? 

A few weeks back we reported on an innovative use of QR codes by Tesco in South Korea. They created a virtual store in an underground station, designed to look exactly like their shelving and stock in a physical store, except users purchased using their mobile.


It was a rare example of QR codes not only being used in a genuinely creative way, but also having a substantial on the bottom line – a reported 130% increase in online sales. Now the internet grocery company Ocado have borrowed the concept, as Internet Retailing reports, with the introduction of their first ‘bricks and mortar’ store in the City of London One New Change shopping complex. The trial finished on the 1st September, but crucially the move is not seen simply as a marketing gimmick and if results prove to be positive, the virtual store concept may be rolled out in the coming months. This demonstrates that innovative businesses are starting to think seriously about integrating mobile into their business, rather than seeing it as a PR/marketing gimmick – these are the businesses that will successfully harness the potential of the channel.

The rise of the QR Code

As we mentioned there is still skepticism as to the true benefit of incorporating QR codes into marketing campaigns. Ubiquity of barcode scanners and customer education have historically been problems but a recent infographic demonstrates that the tide may be turning and they may be becoming popularly adopted.

A few highlights from the infographic:

  • QR code uptake has increased 4589% from early 2010 to early 2011
  • 56% of QR codes appear on product packaging
  • The majority of users expect to receive a coupon or deal from scanning a QR code
  • 11 out of 50 Fortune companies are incorporating QR codes into their marketing strategy
  • 68% of QR codes are scanned via an iPhone

Google Catalogues – search giant creates new revenue stream

Digital Buzz blog picked up on another mobile solution that marries rich content and the ability to affect the bottom line. It’s the Google Catalogues tablet application which allows users to browse a range of retail brand shopping catalogues, explore additional content such as videos and product details, and then ‘click to buy’ through the merchant’s website. It looks like it’s been well made, and is a fun way to explore browse and explore products. Users looking for something specific can also search across all the catalogues in the range which means that the application also has a practical application for those looking to compare prices. Google have already signed up major US brands such as Urban Outfitters, Williams-Sonoma, Sephora, Macys, Bloomingdales, Crate&Barrel, Lands’ End, Nordstrom, Patagonia, UGG and others. It looks to us like another example of mobile enhancing existing successful channels.

Tablets trumping smartphones for purchases through applications

When done right, tablet applications inevitably offer a better mobile experience for shopping than smartphones – given the inbuilt hardware advantages of screen real estate and speed. Perhaps it is to be expected therefore that this better experience is resulting in more transactions through tablets compared to their smaller siblings. New research from IMRG shows that 30% of tablet users have used their device to make a purchase, compared to 25% of smartphone users. Interestingly, this increased engagement crosses over into product research when in a store - as New Media Age reports, 48% of tablet owners have used their devices to research a product while in physical retail outlet compared to 29% of smartphone owners. It’s worth bearing in mind that with the numbers involved, this still represents a far smaller number of tablets being used for both of these activities than smartphones – it perhaps suggest that users who have forked out £500 or so for a tablet are more engaged and keen to incorporate it into their everyday lives as much as possible.


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