QR codes were first created in 1994 by a Toyota subsidiary in order to track vehicles as they were assembled.
Since then, they’ve grown in prevalence and use, especially at Left Coast CrossFit in Laguna Niguel, California. Tim Brooks, a co-owner of the gym, said it all started with a frustrating point of sales (POS) kiosk system — it was slow, there were too many checkout screens, the system would randomly crash, etc.
“It was a major choke-point for our members and retail sales, and we suspected a significant amount of lost sales from either people’s frustration in trying to buy something, or even sometimes taking drinks or product intending to purchase it later when they were not in a rush and then forget,” he shared.
One day, a member finally had enough. Brooks remembered being told, “It’s almost 2020. I feel like I should be able to just take something of the shelves and pay for it from my phone.” That comment gave him an idea. After some digging and testing the Squarespace eCommerce platform connected to the gym’s website, he created QR codes for each product in their store.
“For those members who do not have a native QR scanner built into their smartphone camera, we also created short links for all of our products so it’s easy for them to open their web browser on their phone, punch in a few quick letters and it brings them to the same product just like the QR code,” said Brooks.
The gym can use QR codes in a variety of ways: manage inventory, track sales, offer discounts or time/quantity limited promotions, integrate Apple Pay, have members create a personal account for quicker purchases, abandoned cart recovery, create email campaigns, etc.
Brooks noted the benefits go beyond backend headache relief:
Having QR codes for your products isn’t necessarily plug-in-play though; Brooks noted it took a lot of time and research. He also mentioned it increased the cost of their Squarespace subscription, and there was a learning curve for members.
But if it’s something you want to pursue, he did suggest checking out CrossFit Tustin’s Instagram, as they recently posted a video of how to use QR codes at their gym. Or, view the resource he shared. “We made posters which we placed throughout the store to help walk people through how to make purchases,” he shared.
Do you think QR codes could be the next big thing for your business? Then do the research, test it out and see if this is something you can implement.