Screens & Places: Tell us how we are doing

Canadian Tire - QR Code at CheckoutThe intersection between digital, social and physical experiences

I have always been fascinated with the way people interact with the world around them. I guess that’s why I started my career in architecture. Even though my career has focused on designing digital experiences and using emerging technologies I have never lost sight of what I learned from those days studying architecture. We design for people.

Digital experiences weave in and out of our lives like never before. Customers today are hyper connected, and understanding how physical and digital experiences intersect is critical for brands. To illustrate this point, I’ll be dedicating a series of stories that highlight my personal experiences between Screens and Places. I’ll touch on how those experiences made me feel and what we at Delvinia would have done differently to improve the customer experience. My first story is a recent and simple one.

I recently dropped into my local Canadian Tire to pick up a couple of items. Using the Canadian Tire mobile app, which I love, I looked up the products to make sure they were in stock before heading to the store. I quickly found what I was looking for in the store and headed to the checkout.

Because part of my business is focused on gathering and analyzing customer feedback (AskingCanadians) I’m always on the lookout for ways to provide the brands I love with my thoughts and opinions.  At the checkout there was a shelf talker displaying a QR code asking for my feedback. I pulled out my smartphone, engaged my QR code reader and tried to take a shot.

Here is the experience I had.

1. I had to reach over other merchandise and weave through other ads to get a good shot of the QR code.

2. While doing this, the people behind me were not impressed with the time I was spending messing around with my camera phone instead of cashing out.

Canadian Tire - Mobile Survey3. The cashier said to me, in a very polite way, that I should not be taking pictures around the cash area. I explained to her that I was trying to provide feedback using their QR code. She did not understand what the QR code was for. After I explained it to her she finally just shrugged and said I shouldn’t be taking pictures around the cash area.

4. I finally did get access to a short feedback survey. It was simple and ‘almost’ mobile friendly.

Improving the experience

At Delvinia, we’ve been using QR codes in our client work since 2008 when we used one for a program we were working on with one of our financial services clients. At the time, QR codes were fairly new to North America. However, in the past four years, we’ve seen a vast increase in consumer awareness of this technology, which provides marketers with an opportunity to deliver engaging mobile experiences to an increasingly receptive public.

But there’s more to using QR codes than simply slapping one onto a print ad or poster. Our experience and research points to the fact that size, location, dot density, and putting instructions alongside QR codes increases the likelihood that consumers will actually scan the code and do something with it.

Here are a few points to improve the overall experience.

Location This seems like an easy one, right? Location is one of the most important factors to consider in QR code placement. Having it at the checkout was clearly not a good customer experience, not just for me but for everyone around me.

Training I’m sure Canadian Tire does a great job at training its staff. But it’s important when new technologies and innovations are introduced that the front line staff know how to use them and understand the importance of getting customer feedback in real time.

Survey When I was in line I still had the Canadian Tire mobile app open on my phone but I had to close it to use the QR code. Why does the app not have the same feedback system in it? Why not promote downloading the app along with the feedback system? Mobile apps (or mobile sites) should be part of the pre-shopping, in-store and post-shopping experience. This felt like a missed opportunity.

What would you do to improve the experience?