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QR Codes: To Scan or Not to Scan

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Post QR Codes: To Scan or Not to Scan   Sat Aug 13, 2011 12:31 pm

Have you seen those crazy looking black and white checkered boxes lately? They are not just in the Sunday paper, mail inserts, or at stores for fun. They are called QR Codes and they are the next generation of online advertising. These little boxes connect the consumer from a Point of Purchase directly to the product's website in seconds. A Point of Purchase is a form of signage in a store that draws the consumer to a particular product and gets them interested. The signage may have information about the product, but lately they can also have a code on them.

Recently, my boss Laurie went to Home Depot to pick up some flowers to landscape her yard. When doing so, she noticed QR codes on each information tag for each plant. If you scanned the code, it would take you directly to a mobile Home Depot site with tips on how to plant that particular flower and videos of Martha Stewart giving floral tips. So, not only do you get to buy your beautiful flowers right at the convenient Home Depot, but you also can get free tips from the pros on how to make your yard beautiful. It's a win-win.

Another cool use of the codes I noticed was when my husband and I were browsing through a Best Buy late last year. We both have smart phones and saw the codes on every hang tag for every electronic item. The reason these tags were so efficient is because they kept the information simple and organized in bullet points about the item. If you wanted more detailed information about the item, just scan the code that is conveniently located on the hang tag. We were really excited to see that Best Buy was paving the way for this modern and efficient use of technology.

When it comes to marketing, QR Codes can be very beneficial to business. You can offer coupons that are only available when scanning one. You can give more information about your product directly to consumers like Best Buy does, or you can even give free how-to's like Home Depot does. There is a plethora of ways to make the codes valuable in your business. Be creative. Send out post cards in the mail about your business and say, "Scan this QR Code to receive 20% off your next purchase!" Consumers will feel the urge to scan it in order to save money, and it will help your business earn more traffic to your store and website.

Do not be concerned about QR Codes not taking off. They are. According to D3 Interactive Marketing, "In a 2011 survey, 65% of respondents had seen one and 49% had scanned one. 70% of smartphone users would be interested in scanning a QR Code. 63% would use a QR Code to access more information. Usage grew 1200% in just 6 months from July - December of 2010. 57% of Facebook users have scanned one at least 1 time in the past year. With 40% having done it 5 or more times. 66% of smart phone users actively surf the internet for content using their smart phone."

So what does this mean for your business? It means if you don't already have a mobile website and a way for users to access it, you need to start now. Create a mobile site and QR Code that directs the consumer to it. You will generate more traffic and leads to your business. QR Codes are a win-win!

Allison Kahn is the Marketing Assistant at Princeton Marketing Group in Greensboro, NC. She has a BA in English Literature from Wesley College in Dover, DE. She has a passion for Social Media Marketing.

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