QR Codes & Uses in Supermarkets

M Brookes: WAB


QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode).

A barcode is a machine-readable optical label that contains information about the item to which it is attached.


Watch this Common Craft video on QR Codes to show ways that you can use a QR code:
  1. It is scannable with camera phone and provides shortcuts to information
  2. The app on smart phone allows the camera phone like a cashier’s scanner
  3. It grabs useful information such as a email address, follow on social media, go to a website
  4. Bascially it makes the really world clickable.

How a QR code works:
1. The big squares in three of the corners are the “Alignment Target” which allow the QR Code reader to see the size and position of the start of the code.
2. The Small square in the other corner is to give scale and help determine the angle of the code relative to the reader.
3. Going from the corner without the large squares, the reader reads the encoding mode (Numeric, Alphanumeric, Alphabetical, Kanji, Binary, Symbols and Control Codes). http://www.qrcode.com/en/about/
4. The reader then determines the length of the content of the code in the section above the encoding.
5. The reader then systematically reads all of the rest of the data.
6. Finally, the reader reads the error correction sections to ensure that the data presented is accurate.

Explanation and application

Example of usage in South Korea

Tesco's Home Plus supermarket chain has installed QR code walls into subway stations in Korea to facilitate QR code based shopping for passersby. This particular marketing stunt has created a new strategy that creates new marketing advantages for the company, these include:
  • Saving shoppers a lot of time from commuting to their stores, and the strategic location improves the chances for people to make use of it
  • It builds brand loyalty by convincing their customers that Tesco cares about the time and convenience of their shoppers through the use of digital storefronts
  • It also shows their customers that Tesco are on the cutting-edge of marketing and shopping technology, giving them a lead in the field.

Example of usage in Singapore

The supermarket chain Cold Storage is quickly following suite of Korean Tesco's QR-code subway shopping initiative, by placing similar centres in MRT (subway) stations in Singapore, namely Boon Lay and Bugis. The payment method is facilitated through Paypal and shoppers can sign on using their Cold Storage accounts to access their digital shopping carts.

Well.ca set up a virtual store in Toronto, Canada. They say a 15% boost in sales and their app was downloaded over 100 times in the first 3 hours. Since then, they have had double digit monthly growth and are planning on expanding their vital stores across the country soon.

Links to Social and Ethical Issues

Please note that not all issues need to be addressed. Please add the URL or source of any examples to support your suggestion. It may be helpful to RANK the issues in the THIRD column.

Social & Ethical Issue
Examples that specifically link to the concept and/or definition in the Case Study
1.1 Reliability and integrity

1.2 Security

1.3 Privacy and anonymity

1.4 Intellectual property

1.5 Authenticity

1.6 The digital divide and equality of access

1.7 Surveillance

1.8 Globalization and cultural diversity

1.9 Policies

1.10 Standards and protocols

1.11 People and machines

1.12 Digital citizenship

References and resources

Definition of QR code: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code