Tesco: AR, QR Codes, Big Data and Beyond

Speaking today at Mobile Marketing Live, Tesco senior mobile marketing manager Mark Cody ran through the supermarkets impressively broad mobile strategy, which encompasses in-store wi-fi, apps, QR codes, AR, social media, location-based display and SMS advertising and much more.

QR vs AR

“QR codes get a lot of bad press, but they do work,” said Cody. The key, he said, is understanding how people use them – for quick, simple tasks – and deploying them properly – making sure they lead to relevant mobile-optimised pages.

Nevertheless, Cody pointed to image recognition – as the technology improves over the coming years – as a potential successor for these kinds of applications.

Tesco has been working with AR for around a year, starting with early proof-of-concept experiments. What the retailer has discovered, according to Cody, is that its a good channel to inspire and engage customers.

“Theres a high barrier to entry,” he admitted. “But if you get the value exchange right, the results can be great.”

Tescos customer magazine – apparently the most widely read magazine in the UK – features a variety of AR content in every issue, which yields an average CTR of over 20 per cent.

Bringing it together

A good example of how Tesco juggles the various mobile channels is its recent #LoveEveryMouthful campaign, combining on-pack QR codes, augmented recipe cards, geo-fenced display ads connected to out-of-home geofenced near OOH advertising, and location-based messaging, together with Weve.

With the breadth of channels, as well as bricks-and-mortar locations, Cody said its been difficult to pull together its customer data from places all around the country. “This is still a journey were on,” he said, and Tesco is working to unify all this data.

Beyond that, its exploring its options – Cody added that in future, the retailer might even share data back with customers to let them know what it knows about them, in order to offer added value regarding their shopping habits.