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Macy’s leverages in-store QR codes for Black Friday giveaway

Macy’s is drumming up more excitement for Black Friday shoppers by enabling users of its mobile application to scan QR codes in-store to receive digital gift codes and prizes as part of an instant win experience.

The retail brand will be awarding $1 million in prizes during its Black Friday sales, beginning at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. Customers will have the chance to unlock gift codes worth up to $250 when they use their Macy’s mobile app to scan QR codes available in-store.

“The lure of a giveaway always spurs downloads,” said Scott Michaels, executive vice president and partner, Atimi, Vancouver, Canada. “This is both for in-store and those that can’t make it there (which is an important audience as well) as giveaways support entering the contest without being there.

“Since this particular promotion / contest has such a high prize value, I believe its going to be very effective. The gain for the end consumer is obvious.”

Changing prizes
The pool of Black Friday prizes is scheduled to change at the end of each hour so consumers can play again and receive more opportunities to win. For those interested in attaining the digital codes, users of the Macy’s app must scan the in-store QR codes during doorbuster hours to enter the instant win experience.

After each scan, customers can see if they have won a code worth $10, $25, $50 or $250. Guests may play up to five times in one hour, and use the prize during the promotional period.

One million dollars in digital codes will be given away, and purchases are not necessary to enter.

Consumers are encouraged to download the Macy’s app ahead of time to facilitate a more streamlined experience once they arrive at stores. Macy’s believes that the instant win codes will add another layer of excitement to the already highly-anticipated deals and specials being offered this weekend.

More retailers are now using mobile apps to engage with shoppers in-store in addition to remotely, providing for a more customized experience designed to stir up excitement with surprise deals and offers. While brands are increasingly using mobile for features such as in-store maps and gift lists, Macy’s serves as a reminder to marketers that mobile can also be used in-store to supplement a fun shopping experience.

Doorbuster sales will be available from 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 27 to 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 28 as well as from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 29.

Holiday ambassador
Macy’s is also introducing a new holiday ambassador to help bolster excitement for Black Friday: popular undersea animated character SpongeBob SquarePants. Macy’s is hoping that SpongeBob, who will be featured in a special television spot airing this week, will add new elements of fun, optimism and cheer to the Black Friday promotions.

Macy’s Black Friday television spot focuses on several customers’ excited responses to first hearing about the giveaway with $1 million in prizes. One family, along SpongeBob and his friend Patrick the starfish, discover the giveaway via breaking news and break out into a celebratory reaction.

The retailer will also be offering an exclusive SpongeBob SquarePants holiday plush toy in-store and online, with the item featuring a special code on the tag that consumers can use to unlock new content.

The brand has been developing a strong push for its mobile strategy for the holidays, with shopping list functionalities available for consumers on mobile and tablet and the rollout of a visual search technology designed to attract younger consumers to shop from their smartphones (see story).

“As the expectation is that all consumers will have a phone on them, it’s more convenient for the shopper, as well as being much more measurable for the retailer,” Mr. Michaels said.

“The benefits for the retailer are straightforward: more data points (location, plus any demo data they are collecting), follow through on marketing (via push from the installed app), chance to convert to sales within the larger installed base and ability to A/B test different offers within the mobile user base.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York