5 Ways QR Codes Can Help You Connect With Customers
Odd-looking square pictures of squiggly lines are showing up practically everywhere. You see them on ads, product packages, brochures, and even business cards. Those little squares are called Quick Response Codes—also known as QR codes. They can be scanned with a smart phone to connect the viewer immediately with additional online content. And they have become a marketing craze in Canada and around the world. Why? Because they provide an easy, effective, and innovative way for businesses to communicate with consumers. Here are five ways you can use QR codes to connect with customers and grow your business.
1. Make it easy for consumers to learn about you.
QR codes are targeted to smart phone users on the iPhone, Blackberry, Android, or Windows mobile platforms. The codes might be programmed to connect users to a mobile video, website, social media site, or app. First, the user must download a free QR code reader app—a one-time effort. Then, one simply uses the reader to scan the QR code and instantly open up the related content. Whether the mobile users wants to conduct research for an imminent purchasing decision, learn more about an interesting new service, or connect with a compelling brand story, QR codes provide instant gratification.
2. Tap into an old emotion in a new way.
Adding a QR code to a marketing piece is usually inexpensive and sometimes even free. For very little cost, QR codes provide an innovative, efficient, and effective way to communicate with existing customers and potential new customers. They're compelling for the consumer because they tease one of the most basic human emotions, curiosity. They're innovative because they leverage the popularity of smart phones and the relatively recent demand for constant access to information. But they're ultimately satisfying for the consumer because they fulfill a critical need: making informed buying decisions.
3. Tell the right story about your business.
As technology advances and consumers' mobile activities become more widespread, it is important to show current and future customers that you are keeping pace with technological trends, no matter your size or revenue. You may have a great product or service, but if you don't connect with the consumer in as many ways as your competitor does—or you don't showcase it appropriately in the media frequented by your potential customers—your hard work will not reach its full potential.
4. Be smart about smartphones.
Smartphone users are smartphone shoppers. The number of smartphone users in Canada is currently at 25 per cent and will continue to grow. 50 per cent of these smartphone owners use their phones to help them research products (iModerate and Chadwick Martin Bailey, January 2011). You want to be present where your prospects shop.
5. Set your brand apart.
Ultimately, QR codes can benefit your business because they benefit the consumer. In a world in which consumers are offered an array of purchasing options at point of sale—and often, very little differentiation among brands—a QR code that directs them to key product specifications can be a welcomed helping hand. By offering this quick support to your potential buyers, you are beginning the two-way communication consumers crave. QR codes offer a simple way to deliver a superior customer experience, emphasizing your desire to help even before your product is purchased, and setting you apart from the competition.
Ready to explore using QR codes to market your business? First, you'll need to determine your target market's smartphone usage so you can decide how much budget to invest on the QR codes as well as the linked marketing material. You might choose the inexpensive route by linking a free-generated code to your social media sites. Or, you might opt for a more complex campaign. You can put the QR code on labels or retail signage, then collect usage data to learn how many people scanned your code, how much time they spent on the landing page, and more.
Next, research the different QR code generators available online. Be sure to check if there are any restrictions on codes generated for commercial use.
Finally, don't forget to prepare for the potential new flow of customers. Ensure your business is prepared with the right tools to manage payments, invoicing, and inventory. Customer service is key to keeping your customers coming back and, ultimately, growing your business. Your marketing efforts may be in vain if not backed by excellent customer care, accurate inventory, and efficient payment handling.
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