QR Codes make a comeback in retail


December 10, 2021 | By RetailME Bureau

Word by Sander Maertens, Head of Middle East at Adyen

The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a massive shift across our daily lives, from digital payments to online shopping and virtual customer experiences. Contactless payments grew dramatically when consumers pivoted to online shopping. Amidst this evolution, QR codes have emerged as a versatile tool, a come-back king of sorts, whose obsolescence has been predicted for almost the past decade

QR Codes are an easily implemented, low cost, high impact solution for the contactless economy, where retailers do not need to invest in a check out page. As QR codes are a cost-effective way to solve multiple problems in shopper journeys, the solution is accessible to more brands.

In fact, QR codes are quickly becoming the go-to link between our physical and digital worlds. With consumer preferences continuing to shift towards touch-free interactions, this has become far more critical. QR codes are being scanned across sectors, so people don’t have to touch a menu, kiosk, or even a point of sale (POS) terminal.

The region has rapidly adopted QR codes – including the UAE government offices and many private establishments – and we are witnessing just how helpful this easily implemented mobile technology can be. The government of Saudi Arabia is set to implement a national QR code for payments in the Kingdom as part of its objectives to reach an e-payment target of 70% by 2030.

In restaurants, customers can scan QR Codes to view menus, order, and sometimes pay with a snap of their smartphones. Amidst this growing acceptance of QR codes, it must be noted that the QR codes have to be adopted throughout the entire customer journey and not just at the starting point. Otherwise, the journey could still be disrupted, increasing the probability of customers not completing transactions.

Let us look at how QR codes can make shoppers’ lives better:

Putting touch-free experiences within easy reach

For most shoppers, switching between physical and digital channels is just how they shop. And that’s increasingly becoming true for how they pay, too. When checking out at the retailer’s POS terminal, they want to be able to use their favourite method, whether digital or physical.

Employing QR codes in checkout flows helps bridge these two worlds and lets the customers use online payment methods in-store, be it a retailer displaying dynamic QR codes on their terminals to enable purchases, or a hotel scanning a customer’s unique QR code at checkout, or a restaurant putting a QR code on tables that directs customers to their website.

Moreover, with the Covid-19 pandemic accelerating the need to go for touch-free payment experiences and methods, consumers increasingly prefer contactless options, and QR code has been fast lapped up as the perfect solution.

Removing friction from the customer journey

Since anyone with a smartphone can use their camera to scan and pay,  QR codes put a whole world of immediacy within easy reach. That translates to less friction along the shopper journey, from discovery to consideration to purchase. For instance, a consumer is able to scan a menu using QR codes, then place their order using the code and even complete their payment using it. As a result, no time is lost on waiting for waiters to bring the menu card, deciding on what to order, placing the order, waiting for the bill, and then settling the payment at the cashier. With QR codes, the entire process is frictionless, contactless, and smooth from a customer point of view. There is also no need for a cash register system [POS Hardware] as all payments can be accepted through the retail app.

Making loyalty programs a breeze

Paying in a business app via a QR code can enable loyal customers to add loyalty rewards without hassle. Once customers see their rewards growing, they feel appreciated and encouraged to spend more. Research shows that companies with strong loyalty marketing programs grow revenues two and a half times faster than their competitors.

Whether in person or via a mobile app, QR codes are one of the easiest touch-free payment methods that businesses can offer customers. If QR codes are implemented through the whole shopping journey, it will only help increase convenience, speed and ensure safety and hygiene in the current Covid era. This adds up to the complete shopping experience in a simple, seamless manner, and encourage more shoppers to return.

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