COVID-19 or no COVID-19, merchants are bringing QR codes to the forefront of the in-store environment. The digitally-savvy square can supplement product displays and give more information to shoppers via their mobile devices. This aligns very well right now with social distancing guidelines that create less interaction between customers and store staff.
Apple and other retailers are using QR codes throughout their stores, and this trend should continue. Many restaurants are also using QR codes for diners to access menus rather than the paper or plastic ones that have been eliminated due to COVID-19 health guidelines.
Additionally, watch for more QR code-based payment systems in stores as contactless transactions have become the preferred checkout method of consumers and store staff as well. As one example, PayPal and InComm will be rolling out QR code payments at CVS locations throughout the U.S.
The following excerpt from a 9to5Mac article reports more on the topic:
The Apple Store experience in 2020 has been defined by COVID-19 safety measures. But in the background, Apple has been steadily iterating on new ways to educate customers through improved store navigation. QR codes and NFC tags are beginning to serve an important role in how we shop and receive support.
Apple’s latest wayfinding designs emphasize scannable tags that help customers spend less time waiting and act as field guides to the store. Apple Stores have long been noted for their absence of cluttered signage, and these tags add rich context to in-store features without compromising aesthetics.
QR codes and NFC tags for Apple TV+ and Apple Arcade have recently been added to the Avenue displays at some stores. The small tiles are Apple’s first use of NFC tags with a call to action in the retail environment. Customer iPhones are directed to pages in the TV app and App Store where they can learn more about Apple’s services.
This isn’t the first time Apple has augmented the store experience. Anyone who’s visited an Apple Store during the pandemic will be familiar with Apple’s most successful use of in-store QR codes so far. Easels detailing service capacity and support options flank the entrance to every store, accompanied by codes that offer quick access to online shopping, in-store shopping appointments, and Genius Support.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group