QR Codes: The Definition of Retail Tech Gone Wrong

Everything is marketing, that is social media and marketing guru Scott Stratten's mantra. The Twitter personality was on stage to kick off the 2014 Retail Technology Conference and devoted a large part of his well-received talk on the misuse of QR codes.

Stratten described QR codes as "the definition of retail tech gone wrong." Not because the technology itself is a loser, but because it is constantly misused and mismanaged.

The social media expert provided example after example of poorly designed marketing campaigns that featured QR codes. Among the marketing misses he shared were QR codes place in ill-advised locales like: the side of a bus, in an e-mail, on a billboard, etc.

Stratten is a strong advocate of what he terms "unmarketing." The concept revolves around the idea that everything is marketing. Every interaction between a business and its customers is a marketing opportunity that if mishandled could lead to disaster — the loss of a customer, or worse, the dissatisfied customer taking to social media to spread the tale.

"We share experiences. It is all about the experience with the company," Stratten says. Whether that experience is positive or negative odds are it is going to be shared, and the speed at which a company reacts can be a defining moment.

When a customer takes to social media to air their grievances with a retailer, the retailer's response can be a make or break moment. Respond quickly with a genuine apology and offer to make the situation right can elevate the brand to a higher level in the customer's mind. By failing, apologizing and making a mends the retailer can actually increase its standing with the customer and increase the chance that the shopper will share their positive experience. As Stratten says: "We share awesome. So be awesome."