Is Anyone In The UK Actually Using QR Codes?

Intrigued by a lot of what I’ve been reading recently, I’ve started looking for evidence of QR codes transforming how shoppers are interacting with retailers. The thing is all the evidence I see with my own eyes doesn’t back up this proclaimed uptake. I’ve never noticed a single one in a shop. Now, that could be because I’ve not been looking and if I’m honest, I’ve only had a phone capable of reading them for a few months.

Time for a quick bit of ad-hoc analysis (Health Warning: NOT OFFICIAL FORRESTER RESEARCH !!!)

In order to give this mini research project some vague semblance of credibility, I have adopted the rigorous scientific approach that Mr. Featonby, my A-level physics teacher drilled into me many years ago . . . 


My hypothesis is that retailers aren’t using QR codes in the UK, and furthermore, the average shopper hasn’t a clue what one is.


  1. I went to the local Tesco Metro and browsed the aisles, looking at every product I could find.
  2. I’ve looked through every store magazine and free paper and at every poster I pass in London, on the Midlands Mainline train service, and in Nottingham (where I live) for two weeks.
  3. I posted a picture of a QR code on my Facebook page and asked my friends (average shoppers one and all!) if they knew what it was.
  4. I never said this was a robust survey.
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Agile Commerce: Three Questions For Craig Shields, Vice President Of eCommerce At Jewelry Television


I recently had the chance to catch up with Craig Shields, vice president of eCommerce at Jewelry Television, to understand what impact the transition to agile commerce is having on Jewelry Television, its business strategy, and its organizational structure.

Jewelry Television was founded in 1993 and is the only television home shopping network focused entirely on jewelry and gemstones. Today the Internet plays a large role in the company's growth strategy including, auction site, and the newly launched  

Forrester: Craig, thanks for taking some time out to talk to us about agile commerce. We have been talking to clients about the evolution of their business from channels to touchpoints that span mobile devices, social networks, advertising, marketing, traditional channels, and various places online. Your business is a little unique with your use of TV as a direct response marketer. How are you looking at agile commerce and in particular the potential impact of iTV and other consumer devices such as tablets?

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The eCommerce Technology Selection Checklist

If you have not read it already, I encourage you to read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. In the book, Mr. Gawande explains the phenomenal results checklists can deliver in both routine processes and when processes go hay-wire.  Much of the book deals with Mr. Gawande’s experiences in delivering improved results when using checklists in performing surgeries — literally a matter of life and death. The book makes a compelling case for using checklists in any matter of activities to help even seasoned, highly trained individuals — such as surgeons and pilots — deliver positive results. 

While eCommerce technology selection is not a matter of life and death, still much goes wrong. And when things go wrong, there are many impacts, including cost and time over-runs, lost business opportunity, and the delivery of failed customer experiences. (And of course negative impacts on careers and reputations.) Many of those bad outcomes can be avoided. In our work with clients — and technology vendors who deliver products and services to those clients — we hear over and over again stories of what goes wrong. Many times these are problems that could have been avoided had simple best practices been followed. We have created this checklist to help eBusiness leaders and their teams to run technology selection processes consistently and routinely, following best practices.

The checklist illustrates these steps in a tool you can use as is or customize as needed:

Before you begin the selection process:

  • Business owner/project champion assigned
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Agile Commerce: Three questions For Saurabh Kumar, Director Of eBusiness At Blue Shield Of California


I recently had the chance to catch up with Saurabh Kumar, director of eBusiness at Blue Shield of California and a member of our Forrester eBusiness & Channel Strategy Leadership Board, to understand what impact the transition to agile commerce is having on Blue Shield, its business strategy, and its organizational structure.

Blue Shield of California, an independent member of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, is a not-for-profit health plan with 3.3 million members and 4,800 employees and is one of the largest health provider networks in California.

Forrester: Saurabh, thanks for taking some time out to talk to us about agile commerce. We have been talking to clients about the evolution of their business from a channel-centric focus to a customer-centric focus that centers on touchpoints as the new paradigm and one that spans the Web, mobile devices, social networks, advertising, marketing, traditional channels, and other emerging touchpoints. How are you looking at this, and what do you think it means for your business?

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Forrester Publishes Its First Online Retail Forecast For Brazil And Mexico

Over the past year, we’ve worked together with the forecast team at Forrester to help eBusiness professionals understand the size of different online retail markets around the globe. Last year we published our first look at the online retail markets in some of the major markets in Asia-Pacific — this year, we’ve just published our first forecast for two of the largest online retail markets in Latin America, Brazil and Mexico. Some findings from the report include:

  • Brazil is — and will remain — the powerhouse in the region. With more than 40% of the online users in the region and a steadily growing economy, it’s not surprising that Brazil’s eCommerce market will outpace all others by a wide margin. Brazil’s projected 2011 sales of almost $10B put it behind other major online retail markets like France and South Korea but ahead of smaller ones such as the Netherlands and Italy.
  • Mexico’s online retail market is small today — but growing by a CAGR of almost 20%. With less than half of the online users of Brazil and limited online spending, Mexico’s online retail market remains a small fraction of the size of Brazil’s. Average online spending per buyer will not increase significantly over the next five years, but the sheer number of online buyers will.
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The Lost Art Of Serendipity

ser·en·dip·i·ty  /ˌsɛr ənˈdɪp ɪ ti/ –noun

1. an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

2. good fortune; luck: the serendipity of getting the first job she applied for.

Internet retailers have been struggling with a challenge since the first time a shopper clicked “Add to Cart,” and so far I don’t think anyone has really cracked it.

Recently we’ve had a number of discussions in our office (and more in the pub) about the difference between the online and offline shopping experiences, and the subject of online product discovery is one we can’t seem to get to the bottom of.  It appears that many retailers are in the same place, and despite their best efforts, online retailers just can’t duplicate what we’ve termed serendipity.

That feeling of walking into your favorite bookshop and picking something up in a section you don’t normally go into just because the cover leaps out at you.

The moment when you stumble across some unutterably stylish, drop dead gorgeous dress in the store you don’t normally go into, but your friend dragged you protesting into.

That magic moment where you discover something.

Amazon has had a good go at it, and I confess I’m a huge fan of its “people like you buy stuff like this” functionality, but it does suffer from a major flaw. Like many of my Forrester colleagues, I use Amazon to buy a lot of gifts that I don’t ask to have wrapped. So Amazon thinks I’m crazily into books on vintage fashion and Waybuloo toys. Well I’m not. But my wife and 2-year-old niece are. Go figure which one likes which. So I regularly receive invites to buy more books and toys I really don’t want.

Anyone spot the odd one out on here ?

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