Monday, October 10, 2011

Scannable QR Codes on Television

This past weekend, the Home Shopping Network introduced something new to their channel and to television. A smartphone scannable QR code in the corner of the television links consumers to the product page on From here, there is a convenient “Add to Cart” button that takes buyers right to the webpage where they can complete the checkout process and have the item shipped to them. This technology allows consumers to purchase the product without having to call and speak with a representative or look the product up on their computer. The QR codes are seen as beneficial for high end brands like Rachel Zoe and Ralph Lauren that have even customized their QR codes with their respective logos.

As a smart phone owner and HSN shopper, this new technology allows for spur of the moment purchases with the touch of only a few buttons on my phone. While my previous HSN purchases have been only through and never through phone call, this technology would allow myself and other HSN viewers to simply walk a few steps to the television and scan the code to buy the product. If HSN decides to launch this new technology as a permanent element of their channel, it could attract a larger consumer base including men and young adults.

For those with smart phones but new to scanning and using QR codes, the home page of has a direct link to a help page about the barcodes. The answer to “What is a QR code?” gives a description as well as where to find the app for the QR code scanner for a certain phone. This allows HSN to help their consumers who may not be technology savvy to understand the new technology that was implemented this past weekend.

While the QR codes are convenient for those with smart phones, to non-smart phone owners, the code is simply a black and white box in the corner of the screen. Also, the code is only scannable for those with an HD television. The QR code on a standard non-HD television has too low of a pixelation count for it to be scanned. While most people own smart phones as well as high definition televisions, for those who do not, this new convenient technology does not affect them.

The other pitfall of QR codes on television is although many people own smart phones, not many owners scan the codes which have also been printed in magazines and newspapers for quite awhile. The QR code scanning system has just recently emerged into the average consumers life within the past ten months. Some consumers may feel more comfortable purchasing an item by calling and ordering with a representative or by using a computer, rather than quickly scanning the code and hitting “Add to Cart”.

This technology first used by HSN on a major television channel, could be very lucrative for HSN as well as the brands and products shown.

Clifford, Stephanie. "Scan-to-Buy Gets a Trial on Television." New York Times 07 Oct 2011. n. pag. Print.


1 comment:

  1. This sounds exactly like that video we watched in class with the Asian company. The only difference being that it utilizes the time we spend in leisure (watching television) as opposed to traveling (video example: waiting for a train)to generate business. By catering to the exponentially increasing number of customers who utilize smart phones they are providing a stream lined outlet for them to impulse buy. Ever heard the expression "never give your wife your credit card"? After reading this, you may never want to give her a smart phone either.