In this guest blog Charles Benoualid, VP Research & Development for Visual 2000 International Inc., explores how QR codes can be used in the world of fashion.
QR codes have been on the rise in the technological world since their birth in the late nineties. They are popular throughout the marketing world, as seen on advertisements and billboards, but are most commonly used on food labels and boarding passes.
But, what about QR codes in the world of fashion?
Fashion companies use very intricate systems to manage their business processes, and as a result are often late adopters when it comes to technological trends. QR codes utilize Quick Response technology, and are generally used to send specific information to a specific audience, to simplify access of information quickly and efficiently.
How could this be embraced in the world of fashion?
Designers travel the world to find inspiration and catch the latest trends; they do their best to keep up with the fast-paced runways of New York and the style boards of Vogue magazine. So, what if QR code technology, connected to a PLM system, could be utilised to push fashion and trends out to the public quicker than ever before?
In order to truly understand this technology, let’s go back to the basics for a moment. QR codes are essentially links – like a web URL; QR codes, just like the barcodes you see at a grocery store, can be scanned using a particular device. Thanks to mobile technology, we can now scan QR codes using any smart device (including Android, iPhones and tablets) with one simple application download. When scanned a QR code can send data, prompt an action, or establish a link to anywhere on the Internet. By displaying QR codes on their hangtags and marketing materials major retailers, such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci, can ensure they are on trend, now and in the future.
How would this technology ‘fit’ in Fashion Product development?
In order to illustrate its functionality, I will lay out a few scenarios vendors face daily. When a supplier sends you hundreds of samples, the process involves identifying and gathering information about each one, all with simple hangtags. This process is not only time consuming, but often does not provide sufficient information regarding the sample. QR code technology could be used to scan a barcode with a phone or tablet, and instantly obtain the complete pedigree of the sample. This could easily speed up the procedure and simplify tasks, allowing for better allocation of human resources. Taking this a step further, if that web page containing the sample specifications contained a sample tracking and capture area, the whole team would know where the samples are, what sizes they came in and how many pieces you currently have on hand.
Not only can this technology help the inner workings of your business, but also aid in the buying process. This can be demonstrated when a fashion buyer is in your showroom. While viewing your samples, they can easily scan the QR codes attached to a garment with their own phone and immediately obtain and save the information. That style may have just piqued the interest of the buyer, eliciting an inclination to purchase more clothing from that line. As demonstrated in the online shopping user experience, when you offer clients an easier process (and the targeted information needed to make the buying decision) they are more likely to complete the transaction faster and with confidence. QR codes can also be generated to arouse even more interest in product development as they can direct different departments to different pages of a tech pack, or even bring a supplier directly to a costing page.
Although there may be a stigma surrounding QR codes, arguably due to their useless proliferation in advertisements, it has been demonstrated that QR codes can be employed more efficiently than this. Specifically, this technology can be utilized in fashion product development, streamlining daily business processes. Both technology and fashion are constantly evolving, and it is time that they began to work together.