5 Interesting QR Codes That Are Changing Advertising

qr code grocery shopping train station

Every now and again a technology is introduced that has the potential to change the face of an industry. We may not remember who invented the MP3 player, but everyone remembers when iPod got it right. QR (Quick Response) codes are facing a similar change, and are on the brink of a major explosion in usage.

It falls in the hands of advertisers and marketers to reach out to consumers in a way that is relevant to them while still making sales conversions for their advertising efforts. The fact is QR code campaign efforts are still working within a limited audience, but the number of people who use QR codes is rapidly growing.

At this point two thirds of consumers don’t know what QR codes are, but research indicates that QR codes popularity is on the rise among smart phone users.

The Inevitability of the Integration of QR Codes in a Common Marketing Method

The smart phone is a major gateway into the life of the consumer. They use it while at stop lights, out at the bar and even in the bathroom. Presently, around 79% of smart phone owner’s use their smart phone to help them shop according to a recent study. Persuading them to make the jump to using QR codes regularly will be the trick.

All technologies face slow and steady adaption until they reach an inflection point where the use of the technology rapidly increases into an explosion of use. Right now, we are before the inflection point, but it is hard to predict when we will be there. Businesses that integrate QR codes now will be there when the boom in usage goes up, and those who avoid the technology will find themselves left in the dust by their competition.

The great thing about QR codes is that we do not have to bombard our customers with unwanted emails, text messages, etc. to spark their interest. We can allow the customer to interact with the QR codes, so they feel that they are actually part of the advertisement. With creative approaches to QR scan, this can be entertaining to users. Here are some really innovative ways people are using QR codes to reach out to potential buyers already.

Or I could make a graph if you need something that reflects more specifically to technology.

1. Changing the Way We Shop

qr code grocery shopping train station

Super-chain Tesco created groceries in convenient locations, like the train station in Korea. The difference between these supermarkets and regular ones is that customers don’t grab products off the shelves, but instead they scan the QR codes with their phones. The groceries are then delivered to the individual’s home, at a set time of arrival.

The genius of this really is how convenient it is, even more so than shopping online. While people are waiting for the train, a normal idle time; they can get needed groceries. One has to wonder also, how much more a consumer will be willing to buy if they don’t have a physical cart to keep track of what they’ve gotten already. Perhaps an increase in impulse buys? It will be interesting to follow the success of the experiments with digital supermarkets.

2. Socializing Consumption

guiness beer spilling suds qr code

With social media culture everyone wants to consistently update what they’re doing, where they’re doing it and how much they like. Guinness took advantage of the consumer’s desire to use social media for everything by creating a QR code on a pint glass that would check-in on four-square, update Facebook status and tell everyone about the drink the person was enjoying at the time.

These posts serve as an advertisement that went beyond just the person drinking the glass of lager, because the person’s status serves as an advertisement to his/her “friends”. “According to a 2011 Nielsen survey on consumers’ attitudes toward different types of advertising, 76 percent of U.S. Internet consumers said they most trusted recommendations from personal acquaintances, while 49 percent trusted consumer opinions posted online.” Harnessing the personal recommendation via social media is the new word of mouth advertising, and QR codes are a great way to tap into that market.

3. Building Brand Recognition

(next visual stunning QR codes)

wine bottle qr code

QR codes are now all over food stuffs and labels, so that consumers can easily record what they like. The QR codes also can be used to tell customers more about the nutritional value, history and other information about the product. Having the QR codes on the products makes it so someone can just take a scan with their phone rather than bothering to write it down for later.

This is especially popular in bottled wine. If you have ever shared a bottle of wine with a loved one or friends you know that recalling the vintage, wine name and vineyard of the wine can be something that is covered by that all-too-familiar haze that more than a glass of alcohol can cause.

Adding a QR code to any product can allow the business to tell more about their product, building brand recognition. Over sixty percent of internet users are more likely to try a new product with a brand name they are familiar with, so it is vital to put efforts forth now to expand your business.

4. Visually Stunning QR Codes (next raising awareness)

Some companies are utilizing the visual gimmick of the QR codes to create a unique product that stands-out while promoting their business.

A cupcake shop, Clevercupcakes, is incorporating QR codes in a clever, tasty and edible way by topping one of the cupcakes with a QR code design. The code on the cupcake lets the user install and app and links them to a Science Museum they want to promote.

cupcake QR codes

On the naughtier side Victoria Secret’s (one of the many major brands using QR codes already) uses the QR codes in a flirty way by covering certain parts of the model to make them appear nude. In reality when you scan it, as many poor unfortunate males collectively sigh, reveals not their privates parts, but a bra or panty they are trying to promote.

Victoria Secret QR code

Catching a customer’s eyes with a QR code can be an interesting way to promote your business, although admittedly not suitable for all businesses. While we did mention at the beginning of the article that two thirds of customers actually recognize bar codes, with big brand names like Victoria’s Secret, Facebook and Angry Birds using them regularly we can expect recognition to go up. It is worthy of note that of the one third of the audience who did recognize the QR codes, more than half wanted QR codes to become more widely available.

5. The Nuts and Bolts of QR Codes

One important way to ensure your customers can use QR codes is by including a barcode scanner in your mobile app. This makes sure that they will be able to actually access your advertisement.

A clothing store, Debenhams, includes a bar code scanner in their app for customers. This means that customers will not have to go seek QR code scanner on their own. The less effort the customer has to put forth to adapt to the useful technology, the better.

Where Can I Get a QR Code for My Business?

The first thing you will need to do is choose a QR generator for your business. This will help you plan visually what you want from you QR code.

Kaywaallows you to create your design for free, and the paid version allows you to track the usage of the QR codes. The codes can link to text, a webpage, phone numbers, or SMS.

Custom QR Codes – is a generator that makes more creative designs with colors, adding pictures and lots of eye-catching stuff. The site will work with you to create and execute the type of QR codes that you would like.

QR Stuff is a good place to start if you are a little uncomfortable with the idea of QR codes. It has an easy to navigate website that explains to you all the different options with QR codes.

Integrate a QR Code into My Business

After you choose the type of code you want, how you want to stylize it, you have done some of the heavy lifting. Next you will need to figure out where you want it to link to. Do you have an app, a website or just a phone number that will lead your customer to more information about your product or service?
One of the trickier parts, beyond visual integration, is figuring out what you want your QR code to link to. Here are some ideas for what you can link to:

  • Direct link to your resume, LinkedIn profile or V-Card
  • Sign customers up for business newsletter, social media updates, etc.
  • Offer customers a discount via the QR code
  • Direct customers to your website that has more detailed information about a product.
  • Send an invitation to a webinar or teleseminar
  • Link them to a Youtube video that is an ad for your company
  • Easily post to Four-Square or Facebook about your Product.

Scanning Your Progress

Once you put your plan in action it is easy to track how the progress is going and to see if the campaign is actually working. Unlike traditional print mediums, you can see how many users are actually accessing your QR code. Find out if your customers are taking to the way you’ve presented the QR code or if they are just ignoring it? Knowing this information makes it easy for you to adjust your QR codes.

Questions for the Peanut Gallery

Are you already using QR codes? Do you plan to? What are some different methods you are using QR codes?

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