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Sears makes out-of-home ads shoppable via QR codes

November 4, 2011

Sears and Kmart are using QR codes on out-of-home advertising to enable holiday shoppers on-the-go to purchase toys directly from their smartphones.

 Sears is calling the ads “mobile shopping walls,” and is placing them in high-traffic areas such as airports around the country. The ads showcase many of the hottest and most popular toys form Sears’ newly expanding online toy shop and Kmart’s Fab 15 toy list.

“Using the Mobile Shopping wall is a simple way for busy customers to shop while on the go, whether they’re traveling for personal or business,” said Imran Jooma, senior vice president and president of marketing and the online business unit at Sears Holdings, Hoffman Estates, IL.

“We have seen a large growth in usage of QR codes as a promotional tool, driven primarily by positive response from our customers, and we will continue to shape our marketing strategy and shopping offers according to customers’ needs,” he said.

Integrated retail experience
The ads are intended to give consumers who are traveling or on-the-go during the busy holiday season an innovative and efficient way to accomplish their holiday shopping by bringing a shopping experience to frequently visited places. 

For example, shoppers will be able to shop for toys while they wait for the bus or a delayed flight home and have the items delivered.

The ads will appear in airports, malls, movie theaters and bus shelters.

QR codes for each item appear in the ads. Customers can scan the 2D bar codes to identify product information, imagery and pricing. Users can also purchase directly from their smartphones.

Sears has used QR codes in print material such as catalogs, Sunday circulars, and store signage and decided to extend the use based on these experiences.

“It is a great way to bridge our customers from print to online as they can scan to get more information on our products, such  as: Price, reviews, specifications, promotions and services,” Mr. Jooma said. “Ultimately, this technology is another way we deliver easy and convenient ways for customers to shop.

“From previous efforts, we learned that customers enjoy simplified shopping,” he said.  “Connecting the in-store and online experience through mobile offers more convenience and options in how customers can shop, which was well received from many.”

The ads are one way Sears and Kmart are using mobile to deliver an integrated retail experience to customers.

Last month, the company began rolling out Apple iPads and iPod Touch devices in nearly 450 Sears and Kmart stores for associates to help customers check inventory, access product information and order products online from anywhere in the store (see story).

Sears and Kmart also offer mobile shopping apps for their customers.

The Sears Toy Shop ads are found in select malls across the country, including the Galleria White Plains in the New York area and the Northeast Mall in Dallas.

The Kmart Fab 15 ads will go into movie theater lobbies in major markets, such as Boston and Los Angeles.

Additionally, shoppers can find the Sears and Kmart ads in airports in Chicago, Dallas, Denver and Puerto Rico, and at bus shelters nationwide.

“Sears has been leading the way in mobile adoption in the retail space by offering more choice, convenience and value for customers to shop how they want and when they want for years,” Mr. Jooma said.

“Over the past year, Sears has readily adopted more use of mobile and QR codes in our overall communication to our customers,” he said. “The quality of the experience that customers experience has improved as well.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York







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