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Gold’s Gym, Ford tap ShopSavvy for QR code marketing

October 21, 2010

Golds Gym is ramping up its mobile initiatives with QR codes

Gold's Gym is ramping up its mobile initiatives with QR codes

Brands such as Gold’s Gym, Ford and the Washington Metro are using Big in Japan Inc.’s “Scan with ShopSavvy” program to increase awareness and trial of QR codes to better inform consumers about their products and services.

Through the Scan with ShopSavvy program, brands overlay a badge on their QR codes to alert ShopSavvy’s installed base of more than 6.5 million users that they will find helpful product information by scanning the code. QR codes can provide consumers with product information while they are shopping, offering significant opportunities for marketers, per Big in Japan.

“Brands are intrigued by the use of QR codes in marketing and advertising, but the vast majority of U.S. users have no idea what to do with the strange symbol printed on labels,” said Alexander Muse, cofounder of Big in Japan, Dallas. “Unlike a 1D code, 2D codes are not used every day in commerce.

“If a brand includes a badge around a QR code that explains to a consumer that he can use ShopSavvy to scan the code, our data shows that the brand can achieve a 50 percent-plus lift in the effectiveness of the campaign,” he said. “The programs help ShopSavvy as well, since non-ShopSavvy users download the app so that they can scan the QR code—we currently get about 5 percent of our new users in this way.

 “While the target demographics vary brand by brand, one major retailer we are working with estimates they have 25 million customers who have either an iPhone or Android phone.”

Big in Japan specializes in bar-code-powered shopping by mobile consumers, with users generating 50 million product scans per month through the company’s ShopSavvy application and the applications of third-party licensees such as CNET and PriceGrabber.

Big in Japan’s AdOns UPC/GPS mobile advertising framework is designed to reach consumers at the point of highest purchase intent, sharing promotions, coupons and other relevant information about scanned products.

The company maintains a price comparison engine for local and online retailers, with links to the pricing and inventory systems of 20,000-plus retailers worldwide.

Big in Japan is funded and incubated by Architel, a Dallas-based managed services provider. 

Mobile bar codes are getting big
Gold’s Gym is currently using the “Scan with ShopSavvy” program in signage, product inserts and other materials associated with its fitness equipment, which is available at Walmart.

By scanning a QR code, users can view product demos of treadmills and elliptical trainers on their smartphones.

Mr. Muse said that he is seeing a greater interest in QR codes by both brands and ShopSavvy users.

ShopSavvy users are scanning QR codes at Best Buy, Gap, Dick’s Sporting Goods and other retailers.

Mr. Muse said that brands such as Ford, Heineken, Jones New York and Verizon are also using QR codes effectively.

The recent Warner Brothers film “Inception” was also promoted with QR codes, and more than 50,000 ShopSavvy users participated in that promotion.

Last month, Big in Japan released a free, single-purpose QR Code Reader and Scanner application for Apple’s iPhone.

There are also commerce applications for mobile bar codes.

“If a brand were to integrate payments within a QR code campaign, we think it could significantly enhance sales and commerce,” Mr. Muse said. “Throughout 2011, our push will be to power each bar code scan – 1D or 2D – to include a payment-actionable event.

“Display advertising is important on the Web, but it won’t be as important as actionable advertising that allows instant payment and commerce,” he said.

Final Take
Dan Butcher, associate editor, Mobile Commerce Daily

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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