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QR Code Usage

Updated on February 14, 2015 QR code QR code | Source

QR Codes Make a Comeback

Quick Response Codes, more commonly referred to as QR Codes was considered the "next big thing" in technology a few years back. Tech bloggers and the entire technology industry was buzzing about how QR codes will revolutionize marketing by engaging consumers directly in a very innovative way. Fast-forwards a few years later and the excitement and buzz surrounding QR codes seems to be fading.

Many people who forecast trends in the technology arena predict that QR Codes are making a come back. QR Codes have been revamped and are being used in popular social media apps such as SnapChat as well as popular mobile gaming devices. QR Codes Scanners are also being utilized by different companies to connect with their customers on a deeper level.

For example, Target recently rolled out the Target CartWheel App. This mobile application gives customers instant savings on certain products. Customers are able to scan products directly into the app using the built-in QR Code Scanner at the store to load special savings and discounts into their profile. The discounts are then applied to their in store purchases during check out. Target is able to compound the data from customers who choose to participate in this savings system on a macro level. This enable the company to complete micro targeting to specific customer channels based on the compounded data.

QR code on Heinz bottle
QR code on Heinz bottle | Source

QR Codes Usage in Marketing

QR Codes, since they first rolled out, where being used mostly by marketing teams to market their product. A QR Code could easily be displayed directly on a product, billboard, or display advertisement. A consumer who had a QR Code scanner downloaded on his or her smartphone could scan in the QR Code on the advertisement and then navigated automatically to a specific URL.

This has the potential to be an effective form of direct consumer marketing for many reasons:

  • Marketers can control their messaging and what was information is being given because the consumer is being directed to a specific URL page instead of the URL Home page
  • QR Codes eliminate errors during the first entry point by the consumer because they don't have to manually enter the URL
  • Usually a specific URL page has a longer URL associated with it therefore marketers are apprehensive to provide a long URL directly on marketing material because in increases the error rate when entered into a search browser by a consumer
  • The downside of not providing a specific URL page and instead providing only the home page URL is it could lead to an increase in the consumer's bounce rate. The consumer is forced to navigate through multiple pages to reach the exact destination page
  • There is an increase in conversion rate among consumers because it is more efficient to scan in the QR Code instead of typing in the URL webpage
  1. Marketers can gather information regarding the consumers usage and behavior. This data can be compounded and allow marketing team's to do micro targeting to a specific demographic or consumer group that follows a simillar attribution pattern

Reader's Poll about QR Codes

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Why QR Codes Usage Stalled

The main two reasons why QR codes usage seemed to stall is because:

1. QR Codes were rolled out when Smartphones were first becoming popular but not mainstream

  • QR codes only work if someone is able to scan in the code, usually in the form of an app on a smartphone
  • If not enough people had smartphones and were also not utilizing a QR Code Scanner, it would not be cost effective for businesses to invest in QR Codes for marketing purposes, in social media, or mobile gaming

2. QR were not being marketed as being "useful" to consumers

  • QR Codes, when they first came out, were only being utiized by businesses to use as an alternative marketing channel or for educational purposes to provide information
  • QR codes were not being marketed as being useful for consumers to create and use in their daily lives
  • Since the direct value to consumers was not being marketed, QR codes were not be utilized and reaching their potentials but smartphone users
  • This made it very confusing for consumers to understand how to use a QR code as well as how to generate their own

QR code scanner
QR code scanner | Source

QR Code Uses and How to Create A QR Code

Below is a list of common uses for a QR Code and how to create a QR Code using a QR code generator. You can create a QR code for any URL but other uses include:

  • Social Media Profiles
  • Your Blog
  • Medical Id
  • WiFi Access Information
  • Contact card
  • Event Card
  • Map Location
  • Email address

Below are step-by-step instructions how to create your own QRL codes and creative ideas how to use QR codes.

QR Code Generator Instructions

  1. Log into a free QR Code Generator website or use the QR Code Creator function on your QR Code Scanner app
  2. In a different web browser window, enter the URL of the site you want to generate a QR Code for. Right click and select copy
  3. On the QR Code Generator page, Under the "Type Menu", select "URL". Click on the empty box to the right of the "Type Menu". Right click and paste the URL of the website you want to generate a QR Code for.
  4. Press enter to generate a unique QR Code. Click on the "Save" button to download the QR Code to your computer. Once dowloaded, save the QR Code image as as jpeg or png.
  5. Copy and paste the QR Code image into any document, send as an attachment, or upload to social media.
QR code business card
QR code business card | Source

QR Codes on Your Business Card

Place a picture of a QR Code linking to your website, profile, or social media profile on your business card. This makes your contact information and profile easily accessible to potential customers or clients as well as professional networks.

With the ever evolving Network of business professionals increasing online, there is still a need to network with people in person. This is very important to foster stronger relationships. Many people are turning to social media to foster greater work network on sites like LinkedIn or having their resume or profolio uploaded to their own website or app. The problem is career minded professionals still need a way to channel the network he or she creates in the real world to their online profile. Therefore, business cards will continue to be part of business social etiquette.

The exchange of business cards, a common social practice, has become more modernized because of QR codes. Utilizing a QR code on your business care is a very effective tool to channel your real world network to your online profile or activity. This is effective because it does not take any effort to reach the desired destination. Although a person can manually type in the URL of a person's profile, company website, or portfolio, it is a lot easier to scan in the QR code which will direct the person to the website accurately.

For example, if you are in sales, the QR code could direct the potential customer to the exact item you are trying to sell instead of having the user navigate through the entire website or not reach the destination because the customer did not type in the URL Correctly.

QR codes work as a bridge between your online profile and your real world profile.You can create your own Passbook Pass Business Card in your iPhone that includes a QR Code as well to share your information directly through your smart phone via text, email or Airdrop.

bridal shower invitation with QR code
bridal shower invitation with QR code | Source

QR Code on Invitations

All though the use of online invitations is becoming more and more popular though websites like Evite or Paperless post, and more people are going paperless to invite guests to their events, more traditional or formal events still require a formal invitation in the mail.

This social etiquette will not likely change in the near future. A way to modernize a traditional invitation used for a formal event such as wedding, banquet, or charity event is to include a QR code on the invitation. Including a QR code on the innovation enables guests to access important information about the event directly.

For example, including a QR code on your "Save the Date" cards for a wedding allow guests to quickly access your wedding website with important information including travel arangements, the wedding event itinerary, directions to the event, registry, and other important information.

Using a QR Code instead of just including the URL of the website is better because it channels guests quickly and directly to the site as well as eliminates errors from manually entering the URL online. Also, it makes the site more easily accessible on a mobile platform.

A QR code on a formal invitation that requires guests to show upon entry, such as a charity event, makes it more difficult for tickets or invitations to to be copied. It also tracks participants activities and attendance rate.

QR Codes on Holiday Cards, Birth Announcements, and Thank You Notes

QR Codes placed on cards such as holiday cards is a creative way to give your card recipients access to additional photos or information. For example, a QR code on your holiday card could give recipients access to photos of your family on an online photo book. If you like to give more updates about your family and life events in a more personal way, you can also post this information.

Sending out a thank you card with a QR code allows you to share pictures from a special event like your kid's birthday party or a bridal or baby shower to view online. This makes the photo sharing experience more personal instead of just post photos on social media. You can create a link to a specific photo album on a photo sharing site like Flickr.

QR code in social media banner
QR code in social media banner | Source

QR Codes on Social Media Banners

You can place a QR Code on your social media banner or photo icon so friends or colleagues can scan the code to access your website, other social media sites, or your portfolio.

QR code apartment rental flyer
QR code apartment rental flyer | Source

QR Codes to Advertise and Share Important Information

  • If you are selling or renting your house or apartment, include a QR code on the flier for listing or additional photos and information about the property.
  • If you are organizing your kids sporting events or after school activities, include a QR code on a handout to get immediate access to team information on a team website
  • If you are having a community meeting, include a QR code on a handout or enlarge a QR code on paper and post throughout the event location so participants can easily access important information such as the lecture slides and notes online or easily access you contact information
  • Other creative uses for QR codes include creating a QR Code scavenger hunt linking to different images or as a teaching tool in the classroom or at home

© 2015 Mary Ellen Block

I would love to hear from you! Do you have any creative ideas how to use QR Codes?

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