Wine Marketing – QR Codes and Cellar Key

Faith Shiraz - Cellar Key

Recently I had been hearing about a new way to have a unique identification of almost anything by QR codes.  I had seen some of these square set of dots and not thought much about about them.  Then out of the blue I see an on line initiative where a company called Cellar Key has arranged there QR codes and have a few wines that have their own QR code.  I was able to get a bottle of these and see this code for myself.  Well I thought now what?  So I downloaded a free iPhone App for a QR code reader and tried it myself.  So what happened, I hear you ask.

What does QR mean – well it is as simple as Quick Response Codes.  That is exactly what it is – very quickly a reader can put information at ones finger tips.

The QR reader when it scanned the code, directed the phone to a web site that showed me information about the wine that was in front of me.  Below is some of the information that was shown, including wine information, tasting notes plus winery data as well.

So what does this mean for us as consumers?

Well firstly, we can walk into a wine store and use a free resource to fins out a bit more about some of the wines in front of us, from the wide range of wines and labels that most of us have no idea what is likely to be in the label.  Sure Cellar Key only have a few wines this feature works for but one has to start somewhere.  I can see this concept getting stronger as we the wine punter sees how our iPhone (and I assume for Android phones as well) works.

Secondly, what does this mean for consumer products like wine – well the sky is the limit.  Special offers and data of all sorts could be delivered to your smart phone in an instant.  Who said I am too old to be interested in the new technology!

About Lonely Grape

Passionate about wine - particularly McLaren Vale wines. Check out my blog on different winery reviews and my wine sales web site
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4 Responses to Wine Marketing – QR Codes and Cellar Key

  1. simongarlick says:

    My reaction to a company using QR codes in this way lies somewhere on a scale from indifference to really disliking it.

    Why indifference? Well, Quick Response codes were developed back in the mid nineties when phones were a bit, shall we say, CLUNKY. Inputting text into your phone was hard and phone user interfaces were crap. Even just a few years ago, even with a decent network connection, it was hard to get information (e.g., search terms) into the phone and hard to decipher and use the information (e.g. search results) that came back. In such a world it would be easy to see why QR codes could be attractive. “I don’t have to type all that http:// stuff on this tiny little dumbphone keypad! awesome!”

    But then a company called Apple came along and decided that it was more sensible to make the phone easier to use than to have a hard-to-use phone that relied on a geeky technological solution like QR codes. Once the Iphone was released other phone manufacturers (or, rather, OS manufacturers like Google) followed Apple’s lead in improving the user experience and now entering URLs by hand on a dumbphone keypad sounds like the stupidest idea ever. That’s, like, Stone Age stuff.

    QR codes were a geeky technological solution to get around the bad user experience offered by phones of the time. We don’t use those phones any more. We have phones with good user experiences now.

    What do I mean by that? Well, if I were to walk into a wine shop, see St Hallett Faith Shiraz, and want more information on it, here’s what I’d do. I’d pull out my phone, hit the big Search button, say “Saint Hallett Faith Shiraz” into the phone, and then Google would present to me all the information in the known universe about St Hallett Faith Shiraz in order of usefulness. No messing around with cameras and QR code reading software. The bad user experience that QR codes were designed to get around does not exist any more.

    OK, next point.

    Why really disliking it? Because it’s just another way for a middleman to insert himself between a business and its customers. It’s the means by which a company like Cellar Key attempts to make itself the gatekeeper of information about St Hallett wines. If I were a wine punter using this sort of system the only information I’d be able to find about St Hallett wines is the information that Cellar Key decided I was allowed to see. I have a problem with that.

    You know who should be the biggest source of information about St Hallett wines? St Hallett should be the biggest source of information about St Hallett wines, that’s who. A QR-code scheme like this hands control of a chunk of a company’s online presence to a third party. From a marketing point of view I think that’s a bad idea. (I also think reliance on sites like Facebook is a bad idea for the same reason).

    That is all!

  2. simongarlick says:

    Aha – a bit of digging suggests that Cellar Key is run by Lion Nathan, which owns St Hallett, as well as every one of the other labels currently featured on Cellar Key, so in that specific example my point about middle-men is a bit off-target…

  3. PeterP says:

    “so in that specific example my point about middle-men is a bit off-target…”

    Perhaps Simon, but your point about the control of what information is presented isn’t e.g. in this case you only get info from Lion Nathan via St Hallett about their product so naturally what you read will be positive, kinda makes the whole exercise a little pointless

  4. simongarlick says:

    Cheers for the followup PeterP!

    Yes – as used by Cellar Key this isn’t really a “free resource to find out a bit more”; it’s just another marketing channel. The thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about this is the corporate relationship between Cellar Key and the wineries featured is never made clear to the end user.

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