Despite the overzealous floor displays, the holiday season isn’t quite here yet. But that hasn’t stopped retailers from preparing for the onslaught of holiday shoppers. This year, Target is hoping to beat the competition by integrating QR codes into its stores.

QR codes are the black and white square patterns you see popping up on airline tickets, business cards, and even store windows. These barcodes can be read by QR scanners as well as smartphones.

Starting October 14th, Target will showcase its Top 20 toys at the front of aisles with signs featuring QR codes. Shoppers armed with iPhones or Android phones can scan the QR code of the toy they wish to purchase and have it shipped for free to any location in the U.S.

Not only does this help keep gift purchases a secret for parents, but it also allows customers to buy from Target, even when the product isn’t available in stores — which is a fairly common occurrence during the holidays. The downside is that this is currently limited to toys, leaving non-parents to shop the old-fashioned way.

Many marketers and businesses have adopted QR codes as a potential way to connect with consumers. While Target has come up with a clever way to integrate the technology, there have been plenty of misuses as well. The success of these campaigns strongly depend on the execution. Before you hop on the QR code bandwagon, consider whether it’s adding or removing complexity.

[Via: Mashable, Image credit: Clever Cupcakes]