QR codes are getting more and more traction as I wrote last week. But many companies don't know how to get the consumer to use QR codes.
Yankee Group said that 41 percent of consumers in North America are likely to choose a phone with an advanced operating system for their next device. At that pick-up rate, smartphone volumes will make up about 38 percent of all handsets by 2013 in North America. In the U.S., the average consumer has had four phones, which increases their likelihood of wanting to have more sophisticated features for their fifth device.
But for QR codes smart phone is not necessary, only a phone which has a camera and a QR code reader available. However it is a good idea to target only smart phones because the user can choose which QR reader to use and these phones have better web browsers.
None smart phones mostly don't allow to install software and when a phone does not have a QR code reader then a camera does not help.
Before a company decides to utilize 2 dimensional barcodes, they have to know their target group. Aiming retired people or very low income households would not be a good group to introduce QR code. They won't have smart phones or are not aware of such technology.
QR codes can do a lot. Either guide the user to web page which educates the consumer to the promoted product, or a web page where the user can get coupons. A QR code can even start a download for a digital business card.
Another possibility is to have an app which the user has to download to get specials through QR code.
A company should not start to think to use a QR code but to think where a QR code can be helpful, to get more branding or more customers.
Very helpful are these codes on product displays in stores like Walmart where the retailer does not allow additional display space. The code is small enough to fit on packages or as an extra on a display.
Important is that, if the target groups is not very up to date, not only to print the barcode on the package or label, but as well to give the consumer a hint.
Very strong are sentences like "Want to know more? Then scan the code below".
Not everybody with a smart phone has a QR reader, therefore it is a good idea to engage the consumer to send a text message to 5555 (your short dial number) to receive a link to the promoted page, like "or text GETME to 5555".
Smart phones are like PCs 10 years back. We need to build the web page for different browsers and screen displays. There are right now a few common browsers for smart phones:
Safari, google chrome (android version), opera mini, skyfire and a few more.
Some of them might not be able to support flash. Either way the page should be much smaller in kilobyte size than a PC web browser page. Smart phones over wifi or 3G or Edge are not as fast as computers. The page should not take longer than 5 seconds to load.
Some smart phones have keyboards, some have only touch screen. All this should be taken in consideration when building a mobile web page.
A QR code should not link to a normal web page. Even if the smart phone has a full browser and a fast Internet connection, the screen (between 2.5 and 5inch) is too small to read a full page.
If you decide to have a TV commercial with your campaign, then include in the commercial some education about the QR code and how users can find special info by scanning a two dimensional code.
QR codes are not yet common enough to give the consumer only some product information, when introducing these codes the company should offer some incentives to scan the code. A good incentive might be a discount which the user can only get when scanning the code.
If it is good executed the consumer will post about this in Facebook, mySpace or Twitter and more people will look for the QR code in the store.
Talk on the company or product website about the code and where the user can download a barcode reader. Neo Reader, as an example, has for many phones a download. Neo Reader will recognize the phone, when the user uses his smart phone to navigate this page.
The user just needs to follow the instruction.
As a company you should as well post on your Facebook fan page that the company uses QR code, where they can't be found and what special offer the consumer gets by scanning the code. If you have a Twitter account then tweet about it as well.
The beauty behind a QR code is that you never need to change the code, you only need to change the content of the underlying page.
This means you can print the barcode with no problem on labels or packages and still have every month other messages behind.
It is important to change the results behind the code. If you don't do it then the user will not scan it anymore. A good interval is every 4 to 6 weeks.
If all your products will have QR codes on their package or a label, then it might be a good idea to build your own iPhone or Android app.
Having your own app allows you to do so much more with barcode. You can let consumers collect points or play with them scavenger hunt. The limit is the sky.
The only contra is. that you need to advertise for your application, because otherwise the consumer won't have it. There are over 250,000 iPhone apps and over 80,000 android apps, it would be lucky if many people find this app.
Make sure in the app is the possibility for the user to send a link to friends to invite them to get the application. Offer them a reason to send the invite and offer a reason to download. The reason can be as simple as to get a chance to win a car or complex as getting loyalty points. The more invites the more points which can be redeemed within the application.
Same for the people who received the link to the app, give them a chance to win a car or to get points when they sign the first time in your app.
Promote this app on your website in your commercials and on your social network.
I hope somebody will follow the recommendation, I am sure the success will speak for it.
Please check out goggles from google. This is the coolest app ever. It not only can scan and translate QR codes but you can make a picture of anything you want and google will search the Internet for it. I saw a painting I liked but did not know who painted it. I took a picture and used goggle. Within a blink of an eye i got the answer from google. Pretty cool.
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I have worked on computers since 1982 almost every day. I had my first internet connection in the early ’90s. Since 1994 I am more or less in online marketing. I tweet, I bing, I facebook, I wrote books. But I never ever wrote my own blog. I never thought I needed to, but too many people are telling me I should share my thoughts with others. By the way, you might think my English is weird. You are right; I am originally from Germany. Please excuse any uncommon grammar or unorthodox spelling.
Saturday, October 30, 2010
Use QR code but do it right
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