Amazon to test SmileCodes in US magazines

If you’ve checked out the Amazon Mobile app lately you may have spotted that they’ve updated their image search options with the most significant new feature being Amazon SmileCodes. Having tested them sparingly in the UK and EU, Amazon now appear ready to roll out wider tests in the US.

SmileCodes are QR-esque barcodes which are scannable but only able to be interpreted by Amazon. They appear to be intended for a number of uses for anything from billboard adverts to magazines or advertising on Amazon lockers and of course when you scan one it takes you to a product or landing page on Amazon.

TechCrunch reports that Amazon will be trialling them in the US in magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Seventeen and have already made use of SmileCodes for customers collecting purchases from Amazon Treasure Trucks over the Christmas period as well as the ‘Home of Black Friday’ pop-up store in London.

SmileCodes could be used for anything from a quick way to find a product from an advert to getting a discount in Amazon Restaurants or retrieving your Amazon Locker code.

QR codes never really caught on in a big way although you’ll still seem them around. Amazon may be the people to change this however but it will take strong marketing combined with a compelling reason to purchase so whilst they may not work for plain adverts they may well be effective in magazine features, fashion and lifestyle blogs with a strong following and for must have desirable goods.

For Amazon this is a real win win situation as when SmileCodes are displayed the only place the consumer will purchase will be on Amazon. For retailers it’s a bit of a double edged sword, they now have to decide if they’d rather go it alone and promote QR code links to their own website or (if Amazon makes code creation readily available) promote SmileCodes to their products on the Amazon marketplace.

Ultimately it will be consumers who decide how useful the new codes are. They have to be willing to scan them and to find the SmileCode scanner in the Amazon app (Click the camera icon in the Amazon mobile app and then ‘See more’).

Would you make use of Amazon SmileCodes to promote your products on Amazon or would you prefer to send traffic to your own website?

0 likes0 dislikes


Disappointing that Amazon have chosen to go for a proprietary 2D-Code that will require the use of an Amazon app rather than being able to read by existing QR readers already installed on users handsets. For this reason....I full expect "smile codes" to fail. We've seen this experiment many times before. Dean Collins

Dean Collins • 5th February 2018 •