Target: Customers on the Go

With cafes on nearly every corner in Vancouver, British Columbia, Ethical Bean Coffee Co. needed a way to stand out. The answer was an odd bar code with a maze of black boxes instead of the usual straight lines.

About eight months ago, the three-store chain started putting these “quick response” codes in its train ads. When customers scan the little squares with their smartphone cameras, a coffee menu pops up on their screens. Then they can order a cup of coffee on the train–and have it waiting when they arrive at one of Ethical Bean’s shops.

Business has doubled since then, says Chief Executive Lloyd Bernhardt. “We catch people who are on the go and don’t have a lot of time,” he says.

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