An Easter Surprise, Using QR Codes for Instant Sampling

Which Wich

I’m a big fan of QR codes and similar technology. Maybe it’s my failing memory brought upon by encroaching middle age, but the ability to snap a photo of something rather than remember a URL is a big win in my estimation. In fact, we included 22 Microsoft Tags (similar to QR codes) in The NOW Revolution, so we could direct readers to a treasure trove of additional resources that expand and enhance the book.

I also really like the on-the-spot and in-the-moment potential for QR code usage. I had an excellent experience with a program of that type this weekend at Which Wich here in Bloomington, Indiana.

The fastest growing chain in the U.S. in 2010, Which Wich is a quick service sandwich restaurant that features uber-customization of your sandwich, and a unique ordering system (you mark a paper bag with your detailed preferences). Their sandwiches are excellent, as are the house-made salt and black pepper potato chips, and I’ve eaten at several Which Wich locations around the U.S. Until Saturday, however, I’d never tried a Which Wich cookie. But now I have. Here’s how it happened:

  1. I saw a sign promoting the Which Wich Facebook page. So of course I checked it out on my phone while waiting for our sandwiches
  2. I saw a Facebook wall post from the company about a QR promotion
  3. I showed my wife, who commenced operation “Find the QR Code”. She spotted it in the collection of customer-decorated paper bags that are present in all locations, and I snapped the code (nice bunny ears)!
  4. I instantly received a coupon, and redeemed for a free cookie

Which Wich QR CodeWhich Wich Coupon

And it was GOOOD. Based on this one, simple use of QR technology and instant sampling, the chances of me ordering a cookie next time at Which Wich went from 0% to 100%. That’s just smart business.

The only part of this program I would change is that their Foursquare page didn’t mention the QR program whatsoever. That’s a missed opportunity for integration and amplitude.

Otherwise, nice job by Which Wich demonstrating how on-premise use of QR technology can create real-time sampling and a subsequent increase in average order size downstream. Well played.

Facebook Comments


  1. says

    Groovy! I’m a fan of QR Codes too. The cookie promotion gives me a few ideas.

    Uber-customization? Any chance Which Wich has plans for locations in Southwestern Ohio?

  2. says

    I think the goal was likely less about selling cookies (if they are that good, then giving *everyone* a free sample on one given day will probably move the needle a lot more than just sampling the low single-digit QR code users) and more about simple market research into mobile activation and driving FB page participation.

  3. says

    Im a big QR fan also but I think this was a bit lacking. If you hadnt seen the FB post would you have scanned it? I get that they were trying to drive FB traffic into the store to scan the code but unless I was going out to eat lunch & couldnt make up my mind where to go I doubt that FB message would have gotten me away from my plans and into the store. If they are homemade cookies perhaps a QR code by the cookies with a message enticing me to scan (perhaps a behind the scenes video of them being made) might drive interaction better. I agree with Tom Webster in that this seemed to be more of a way to drive FB participation and research their FB audience tech knowledge than a mobile QR campaign. Funny thing is if they are trying to measure the FB community participation your scan is a bit misleading because you were already in store. I applaud them for being creative but would be curious to find out what exactly their intentions were with the code to see if it was the best method to do what they were looking to do.

  4. Erika says

    Hi there! Thanks for blogging about our Bun-ny Hunt QR Code promotion! We think it’s an innovative, fun way to keep our customers engaged with the brand.

    To answer your question, the Bun-ny Hunt was promoted several ways. We sent an eblast to all of our Vibe Club members informing them about the promotion. We also tweeted and posted on facebook – and made sure our page had the information on it as well. We haven’t seen a lot of traction with foursquare when we have done promotions, so we didn’t include that in the Bun-ny Hunt.

    We do a lot of testing at our Support Center, and you’ll definitely start to see more QR Code usage with our promotions. Thanks again for your comments!

    Erika Scheibe
    Marketing Manager – Which Wich

    • says

      Not trying to be a Debbie Downer but I miss the QR part of this. In the manner with which it was promoted it seems the goal was to drive traffic to the store. This could’ve been accomplished with a cookie coupon accessed via all the channels you used to market the hunt. I love scavenger hunts and any promotion that drives traffic but I dont get the extra step of scanning the code to get the coupon. Wouldnt you have driven more traffic by including the cookie coupon up front?

      • Erika says

        Jay – Thank you!

        Chris – Great point! As I mentioned, we’re all about trying new things and seeing what works. We hosted a free cookie coupon on Halloween weekend through facebook and our Vibe Club (e-marketing club) and didn’t see nearly as much traction as we did with this. We’ve also given them away on Valentine’s Day for those who drew a heart on their bag when they ordered their wich. The QR Code interaction has given us the best response thus far.

        We’re continually headed in the direction of implementing what’s cool and new, so just giving away a free cookie sometimes doesn’t capture that. Only those who heard about the Bun-ny Hunt through our Vibe Club or Social Media means were the ones that knew about it. This gives our loyal fans a reason to feel like they’re part of the brand.

        Erika Scheibe
        Marketing Manager – Which Wich

        • says

          Thanks Erika. It’s really an interesting point, and one that doesn’t get talked about enough in social media because it’s somewhat counter-intuitive. Sometimes, a sense of exclusiveness drives response rate, even if the mechanics reach fewer people. Seems to me that’s the effect in play here, if your more straightforward cookie promotions have been less successful.

          The QR program had a sense of discovery that an email coupon does not. I literally had to look around the restaurant to find it, and that was definitely my favorite element of the program.

        • says

          Thank you very much Erika. I am impressed you were willing to experiment, had the sense to measure, but floored that you are willing to respond here and share insight as well. This thread could have been filled with nothing more than further speculation had you not been willing to do so.

          Admittedly I am kind of a QR nut. I have literally been testing and watching QR codes, MS Tags, Jagtags, Scanlife, Beetags, and other variants usage for several years including, as some in this thread are aware, my QR code shirt and moo cards. For whatever reason, so far this year I have heard and seen more of them in the wild and more discussions about them. I for one and looking forward to finally seeing some traction.

  5. says

    Jay, Nice article.

    I loved the use of the MSFT tags in The Now Revolution, but found myself wanting…essentially, I found no program or utility which would allow me to use my computer’s web-cam to scan the tags, taking me to the URL associated with it.

    Trying to read a .pdf or look at some of the other examples on my Droid X isn’t what I want to do when reviewing a business (or any) book. QR Codes and MSFT Tags are great in the example that Which Wich uses, or other businesses driving local traffic to their stores, but I would have loved to be able to easily go to the URL on my laptop/desktop computers.

    Yeah, I could have saved the documents or copy/pasted the URLs into an email to myself, but that seems like more work that typing in a URL from a book.

    Am I missing something?

    • says

      Definitely QR and Tag technology is intended to be in the field and in the moment. At Which Wich for example, there were zero laptops being used when I was there (although it was on the weekend). Our premise with including them in the book was to demonstrate the technology and give people access to other material if they are reading the book when they are away from their laptop.

      • says

        I understand why in-the-field users would find this easy, and even understand it being used for “demo” purposes in the book. There’s no non-QR Code way to access the information other than a copy/paste/email of the URL or d/l documents that I saw, making that element the only negative for an otherwise exemplary tome.

  6. says

    Nice article Jay!

    Rhetorical question rant: How bias are you in the adoption of the content? What tech-savvy percentile are you in compared to the other x,xxx people who walked in the door? Did the promotion shift your buying habit or was it just a brand loyalty win? Did they measure? How was the cookie?

    Regardless to any of the above questions they still win a huge pink bunny button in my eyes. They are off the bench and trying… and possibly succeeding if for nothing else the promotion your post is giving them. :) What is there address?

    Final though… maybe lay a few QR coded jelly beans trails outside the door to extend the hunt.

    • says

      Thanks Kevin. I’d certainly say I am more prone to QR code usage than most, given that we included them throughout my book. Certainly, I would say I am more tech-savvy than most, but certainly not bleeding edge. I haven’t been back to Which Wich yet (it’s only been 2 days), but I guarantee I’ll buy a cookie next time. Thus, in my case at least, it’s a buying habit shift.

  7. Alexia @AYates says

    Seriously, that is a great example of QR code success. I’ve been watching QR codes for some time now to see how the market would start to use them. I’m glad to see them expanding beyond magazines! Also love it that you’re a Which Wich fan – just earned even more respect from your friends at @ClearpointPR. :)

  8. says

    Direct marketing made popular and easy to take advantage of!!! I love it. As a consultant AND a consumer.

    Now I just need to get my favorite 5 local businesses here on board with it so that I’m gettin’ deals every time I show up… which of course will get me showing up more often!!! Hahaha

  9. says

    Direct marketing made popular and easy to take advantage of!!! I love it. As a consultant AND a consumer.

    Now I just need to get my favorite 5 local businesses here on board with it so that I’m gettin’ deals every time I show up… which of course will get me showing up more often!!! Hahaha

  10. says

    Thanks for sharing the story. Very nicely done WW, great use of tying multiple (and FREE) social media marketing elements together. How’s that Yellow Page ad doing anyway???? Wish we had a Which Wich in Minneapolis!

  11. letstalkandchat says

    I just found a great company that builds websites for info products. To keep your costs low, they’ll mentor you on how to create your site, design a marketing funnel (one of the guys works in Hollywood and makes really slick videos), and the other guy programmed Myspace. If you’re looking to have professional web design for your small business and not waste any time or money then check their site out. Check them out:

  12. Abhinav Gupta says

    Hello, I want to make a smart card with a QR code.. So i need a system which can scan QR and retrive data and execute them(Identity, attendance etc.). guyss please help me how can i proceed this..

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