Invented in 1994 by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, QR codes were designed to improve the manufacturing process, and that’s exactly what they did. A QR code can hold 300 times more data than a barcode of the same size, dramatically increasing accuracy, functionality, and storage. So what does that mean for retailers and their customers?
As a payment system, QR codes have a way to go to match the speed of NFC payments. However, QR payments also work away from the payment terminal (unlike NFC) which means QR payments can happen in-store, but also online, in-app, from an email, a DM or through a shop window. And once away from the terminal, QR codes are the quickest way to the payment page. In addition, QR codes’ data capacity means they can do much more than process payments.
The data capacity of QR codes means they can do more than facilitate payments, allowing merchants to respond to the customer in real-time with data and loyalty triggers. This is a big advantage over NFC, which is encrypted back to the issuer only. With QR codes, the merchant can build on the transaction.
By seamlessly connecting payments to loyalty schemes, QR codes can enable a much richer customer experience. Payment can be made through redeemed points, offers can be instantly triggered driving increased sales or deeper engagement. The QR code doesn’t just hold information, it can access personalised loyalty data, enabling personalised offers that recognise the customer’s overall relationship with the brand.
Picture a customer washing their favourite pair of jeans and realising they need a new pair. Imagine if they could just scan the QR code on the label and immediately go to checkout where the same colour, waist size and leg length jeans are waiting for them. There could be suggestions of other old favourites too, or a free delivery offer based on increased spend.
Nudges and offers can be tailored to the customer’s own journey or the product lifecycle, where buying a replacement part can trigger an offer on a new product. Whether the offers are taken up or not, the customer is being rewarded in real-time, and that increases loyalty.
Wpay is a retail payments platform that supports both NFC and QR code payments.