QR Codes for Oxfam

QR codes are one of the biggest stories in the world of marketing and can now be spotted all over the place, from the bottom of posters advertising films to the pages of magazines or the scenes of a popular TV show, and charity Oxfam is the latest group to jump on the opportunities QR codes offer.

The charity has just launched the Shelflife phone app, which gives Oxfam shop browsers the chance to access information about the past of the item they are looking at or buying. The QR code will be attached to the secondhand item by a tag and when scanned, buyers will be taken to a page containing information about the item which has been provided by the donator.

This could be anything, from where the piece was originally bought to how old it is or whether it holds any special sentimental value.

Oxfam reckons that showing the life of a product and giving it a story will encourage more people to buy, and speaking to the BBC Emma Joy from the charity used the example that “someone might donate a record and add that it was the song that they danced to at their wedding to its tag”.

Dr Chris Speed, from the Edinburgh College of Art, commented that the new scheme “has the potential to transform shops from places of consumption into places of stories and reflection”.

If you shop in Oxfam then it is likely that these kinds of schemes will appeal to you – a piece of vintage jewellery with a lovely back story is going to appeal to those with an interest in heritage and the past, and could also make charity shop items a real talking point among friends.

The Shelflife scheme is initially going to be rolled out in ten shops around the Manchester area, and if successful, could be launched at other Oxfam stores all over the country.

Would finding out an item had an interesting past make you more inclined to buy it?