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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Oxfam launches QR code app

Monday February 27 2012

Mobile app offers charity shoppers opportunity to explore human stories behind donated items

Mobile app offers charity shoppers opportunity to explore human stories behind donated items

 

Oxfam is today launching an innovative pilot scheme that aims to connect customers to the stories behind items for sale in its stores through mobile technology.

 

The Oxfam Shelflife app, launching in 10 Oxfam shops across Manchester, uses QR codes tell the stories behind Oxfam’s donated, ethical and Unwrapped products, and even allow customers to share their own stories for the items they donate.

 

The project aims to promote sustainability by encouraging people to look beyond disposable consumerism and demonstrate how the stories behind vintage and second-hand items are all part of their desirability.

 

Mobilising sustainability commitment

 

Sarah Farquhar, Oxfam head of retail brand, said: “Every item has a story to tell and Oxfam Shelflife enables people to share these stories. We’ve found that items with an interesting story behind them are instantly more appealing to our customers, so we hope Oxfam Shelflife will encourage people to love items for longer. This commitment to sustainability is an important part of what Oxfam shops bring to the High Street.”

 

The scheme allows donors to ‘tag’ a QR code to their donated object, using the free Oxfam Shelflife app on their iPhone and share the story behind the item for the next owner to discover. Shoppers who visit the participating Oxfam stores can then scan the QR code on the item, via the app, which will take them to the story behind the object.

 

Academic development commercialised

 

The concept behind Oxfam Shelflife is based on an original idea developed by the Tales of Things initiative (TOTeM: Tales of Things and Electronic Memory), a collaboration between five British universities: University College London, The University of Edinburgh/Edinburgh College of Art, Brunel University, the University of Dundee and the University of Salford. The TOTeM initiative was funded by a £1.4-million grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

 

Dr Chris Speed, from the Edinburgh College of Art and part of the TOTeM team, said: “Oxfam Shelflife has the potential to transform shops from places of consumption into places of stories and reflection. Shopping is no longer about buying things from unknown people in unknown places, instead the Oxfam Shelflife app will allow people to ‘write’ their stories on to products and help prevent them heading for the landfill.”