Korea’s Emart revives sundial in the age of QR codes
Faced with the challenge of boosting its lunch-time sales, Korea’s supermarket Emart came up with an innovative response: ‘The Sunny Sale’. In every major city in Korea Emart have placed a large 3D sculpture, which, specifically between 12:00 and 13:00, projects shadows on itself in such a way that a QR code appears. Customers who scan the QR code on their smartphone can get a discount coupon for immediate shopping.
While the simple but inventive device itself illustrates perfectly the innovation strategy which consists in making new (a QR code) with old (a kind of sun-dial), Emart demonstrates its mastery of a more fundamental secret of successful innovation: introducing art at the heart of the customer experience.
Compared with a traditional TV campaign advertizing lunch-time discounts the sundial/QR-code device turned out to be a much cheaper, more durable, and more fun talking-point in the urban landscape. Customers now enjoy the process of getting their coupon, arguably a lot more fun than cutting a piece of cardboard cereal box. They let themselves be amazed by the visual effect and pass the word to others, creating a sales multiplier. Fundamentally, they love to connect the sometimes uninspiring act of shopping with a work of art which adds meaning to their experience.
As people increasingly come to loathe having been turned into shopping-machines and crave to rediscover the human inside the consumer, the artist will play a more and more central role in business innovation. Watch this trend.