Mobile Geeks of… Marks & Sparks? [UPDATED with QR Code Quick-Reference]

by Ben Smith on 22nd September 2009

Marks & Spencer, long-time staple of the British high-street and department store choice of the middle-classes has been enjoying a bit of a revival of fortunes of-late… changing its image from the place where your Nan bought her undies to amongst other things, a high-end food retailer.

NOTE: This post has been updated – see the note at the bottom for full details and a QR Code and Data Matrix quick reference.

Marks & Spencers... a hotbed of mobile innovation? Picture by Informatique - used under Creative Commons license.

Marks & Spencer... a hotbed of mobile innovation? Picture by Flickr user 'Informatique' used under Creative Commons license.

So I was quite surprise to see – advertised on the shelf – a mobile service… Printed up on the side of their juice bottles. It uses a short-code to provide a free download of some reader software (I tested S60 and iPhone successfully, Android’s our of luck) and a QR code Data Matrix printed on the side of the bottle links to current offers, information and a feedback form.





[Continuity error follows... I was thirsty]


Overall, it’s not a hugely ambitious project – a few discounts and access to information about the store (focusing heavily on their Carbon-reduction plan) but it gets QR codes the concept of Object Hyperlinking and mobile services into an entirely new set of ‘normobs‘…

… and whilst the Data Matrix step feels a little unnecessary (the site the code reader is downloaded from also hosts the other content!) it’s clear this is more of a test for M&S. The system to vary codes and provide customised content isn’t far behind once people are familiar with the process.

And it made me buy an extra juice so I could try it out.

So they’re already £2.50 up (probably).


UPDATED: Thanks to commenter Mark who correctly identified that M&S are using a Data Matrix, not a QR Code:

QR Code v Data Matrix

This Data Matrix (left) and QR Code (right) contain the same short-link to this page

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