How QR codes can help your business
Have you seen an increasingly large amount of those quirky, square-shaped, two-dimensional graphic images floating around recently? QR codes probably started popping up noticeably in 2012 and have since been a prominent marketing tool used by tech-savvy whizzes and consumers alike.
QR code, an abbreviation from ‘Quick Response Code’, is the trademarked matrix barcode that originated from the automotive industry in Japan. The code is made up of numerous black dots that are subsequently arranged in a square grid on a white background. The information encoded within this matrix may be made up of four standardised kinds (“modes”) of data- numeric, alphanumeric, byte/binary, Kanji- or through various supported extensions, virtually any type of data.
Technical terms aside, in recent times, the employment of QR codes has largely risen due to its ability to store vast amounts of data. Compatible with smart phones such as the iPhone, Blackberry or Android, we simply need to download a QR reader (I like the ‘i-nigma’ QR app) onto our devices and voila - start scanning! Today, you’ll find them anywhere, from online ticketing options to band fliers stamped with a QR code linking fans to a music video on YouTube. The Australian marketing brains have been quick to jump on the bandwagon. JB HI-FI has plastered them on their DVD packaging inviting self-made movie critics to view movie trailers on the spot. Sportsgirl has integrated QR codes on their online shopping website and shop-front window banners, luring teenage girls in to peruse their latest collections.
It’s pretty obvious that this new nifty QR code thingamajig can do wonders for any kind of business, whether it’s hospitality, entertainment or any big corporate firm. So what’s the problem? Apparently, 62% of Australian consumers reported that they don’t even know what QR codes are (Source:Econsultancy). It has become apparent in some cases, that poor implementation has led to disastrous outcomes. Information overload, lack of consumer education, weak engagement… These can all lead to consumer apathy which promptly renders the marketing campaign, embedded with QR codes, virtually useless.
So here are some quick (albeit obvious) tips:
1) Make sure the QR code is a reasonable size before printing. If you can’t scan it, why bother? It’s hard enough trying to keep a steady hand while scanning, don’t make it an even bigger hassle.
2) If in public, display the QR code where it is easily and conveniently accessible. Please don’t attempt putting it on a giant billboard on the freeway or a crowded stairwell in a busy shopping mall. Consumers need to have time and space, if you want them to leisurely engage with and absorb your marketing campaign’s information.
3) Have some geo-location processing imbedded in the code. That way, you’ll be able to keep track of the scanning hotspots and fast-track your next campaign to success, with maximal response rates.
4) Make the experience pleasurable and inviting. Don’t just slap it on your business card and simply link it back to a non mobile-friendly website or a similar vicinity. No one likes to waste their time.
5) Don’t try to embed some huge message in the QR code because that’s just doomed to fail. You don’t want your consumer’s QR code scanner to crash every time they attempt to scan. Make wise use of URLs and link shorteners- this means you can constantly update and refresh the available information.
6) Protect your QR codes from malware, a bad code is an open invitation to scams and unauthorized access to the user’s device. Consumers don’t want to find out that their privacy security has been compromised.
Put simply, the ultimate key to all mobile campaigns is value. You want to deliver value to the customer so that they will feel enticed and want to keep coming back. You want them to spread the word or recruit new fans, at no cost on your behalf. The higher the adoption rate, the further your campaign message will spread.
While the QR code still needs further improvement and proper functioning, it is yet another promising touch-point for businesses to connect with their consumers.
Melinda Le is an intern at Marketing Eye.