While there is a great deal of variety in the retailers using QR codes, it is clear that both a key demographic emerges and that QR codes are part of an overall mobile strategy, not an end to themselves.
The stores that targeted shoppers aged from 14 to 30 with moderately priced merchandise were more likely to use QR codes. Teen retailers such as aerie, American Eagle, and PacSun cater primarily to customers between the ages of 14 and 20 at a middle price range. Express and Madewell reach a slightly older group, primarily between 18 and 30, and a slightly higher price range. Sephora, Forever 21, Gap, BCBG Max Azria, and Pottery Barn Teen reach the same audience as well.
These retailers like to be seen as being on trend. QR codes are a way to demonstrate being on trend and an edgy way for the consumer to connect with the store, while receiving some benefits.
The benefit to the retailer is greater. App downloads and social sharing, a key part of the mobile strategy to drive a longer-term, measurable connection with the brand are being driven by QR codes.
While adoption of QR codes in retail may be a new trend, the nature of the stores using it and the emphasis on lasting engagement with customers indicates that it is a leading indicator of future QR code growth.