Saturday, 5 January 2013

Get closer to your customers by using QR code

QR codes have been used in many countries in many ways and for many years, but to many of us here it is still new.

Design by C. Yang

QR (short for “quick response”) code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by QR barcode readers or smartphones. They began as a method of tracking parts in manufacturing plants in Japan in 90s, but are now being widely used as a social marketing tool, from global luxury fashion brands to the café shops in the town, from fast moving consumer goods to local plumbers, everyday there is an increasing number of QR codes being created and published on magazines, billboards, posters, websites or even on someone’s t-shirt.

Although recently in marketing industry there is a hot debate about whether QR codes can effectively work for business and how far they can go, this remind us a famous quote from one of most successful football(soccer)'s  manager Bob Paisley If you’re in the penalty area and don’t know what to do with the ball, put it in the net and we’ll discuss the options later.” Truly for business people, it is better to get to know this new trend and score goals and let them debate later.
No matter how small or large of your business is,you could get closer to your customers in a number of ways by using QR codes. For example If you are running a café shop or restaurant in the busy streets of the town, you are able to use QR codes to generate a coupon and your customers can scan the codes and get a discount or points each time when they shop in, or you could use QR codes to offer daily promotion, such as lunch/dinner specials, for instance, in the morning time you list lunch special codes in front of your door, customers could scan the code and it will direct them to your website for the details and they could make an order online then pick up rather than waiting in line during the peak hour.  Another example is if you are selling products through both brick and mortar stores and online just like many big retailers what they are doing now, you might auto generate code next to every product display in your physical stores which contains all the product details and the URL link to the web page, so your customers will be able to scan and get more information about products rather than spending time on waiting for shop assistants and even they could simply forward the product URL link to their friends via the smartphone, recently Motorola has conducted a survey and found out that the number of shoppers who prefer to use their own mobile devices rather than waiting for shop assistants to guide their purchasing decisions has reached a new level, so for retailers if you don't want to lag behind and make yourself embarrassing, it is time to do something and use those kind of  technologies to bridge their physical and online stores together and bring the customers more convenience. The third example is if you are sales/marketing people or tradesman, you could add code to your business card containing your contact details, your LinkedIn file, your services or website/blog and  it could be very handy for other people to add you to their contacts and get to know more about you on their phone simply by scanning without typing anything.

In fact you could do much more with QR codes:  such as your product details,event details, Twitter/Facebook IDs or YouTube video links. And like many other marketing tools, you are always able to create and develop innovative and cool ways to promote your business by using QR codes.

Getting a simple QR code is an easy job and it is free, as there are plenty of websites can create black & white codes for you as long as you fill your information there. But your QR codes don't have to be boring, if you wish your QR codes can make a good first impression and make your brand image stand out just like those creative ones with brilliant colors or logo embedded, then you might need to use Photoshop or other graphic editing tools to make a clever design for you.

For more information about QR codes to your business you can log onto Gov digital business website or Google it.

Blog by C. Yang 


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