20.1 million Mobile phone owners in the U.S. used their devices to scan a QR code in the three-month average period ending October 2011 according to comScore. The increased number of Smartphone users and the easy accessibility to scanning barcodes opens up an opportunity to use barcode as a smart marketing tool. In the past couple of years, there has been a tremendous growth in the number people actually scanning QR codes in restaurants, theaters and market places. Research suggests that these numbers will grow tentatively, but the question remains, how marketers will tap this trend to their advantage.
Here are some creative, and interesting examples of QR code marketing that show QR codes have the potential to enrich the product experience and offer the customer additional value addition to their shopping experience.
1) Enhancing User experience:
Tech savvy establishments are always on a look out for an opportunity to conceptualize new methodology to create buzz. Recently we’ve observed cases of art Galleries have opened their arms to QR code technology and created some interesting experiences for visitors. Art galleries such as The Cleveland Museum of Art place QR codes next to exhibits to direct visitors to online or audio tours, or to provide more in-depth information on art pieces.
2) Easy payment gateway:
When major coffee retailers like Starbucks saw that they were losing customers due to the long queues and time consuming payment process, they opted for something super creative. Starbucks introduced QR codes to easy up the buying experience. Customers could then integrate their pre-loaded card and their phone app to pay more quickly. QR code also enabled them to learn more about the product and offers given away by the coffee chain.
3) Give customers what they want:
Offering incentives is common practice but clubbing a non-tangible extra like music paired with a beverage is creative! This is exactly what Mountain Dew did in association with Taco Bell. In an interesting QR code marketing campaign Mountain dew in association with Taco bell allowed customers to scan QR code on their cup to allow them to download free music. In simple words it was a renewed version of the old strategy “Give your customer what you want”.
Campaign outcome: This campaign resulted in more than 20,000 music downloads for the companies.
4) Access real time information:
If you are planning to give your customers what they want then you can also plan to give your customers services to ease their lives. That is exactly what the transport division in Frankfurt did. They recently introduced smart posters in train carriages, which provided commuters with travel information, transport connections, special events and points of interest, as well as special offers for travel card holders.
QR codes can take customers to real-time updates anywhere where there is a constant flow of information, for instance, train stations, bus stops, department store sales, live events, restaurant specials or airline booking.
5) Customized gifting:
Gifting coupons, additional discounts have always been the most used marketing tools. However gifts seem more special if they are personalized. , Retailer JC Penney allowed customers to add a personal touch to their gifts. When they purchased a gift from any JC Penney store, they received a “Santa Tag” with an accompanying QR code. By scanning the code, the giver could record a personalized voice message for the recipient. This small addition to the product made the campaign a big hit.
A lot of the criticism of QR codes especially with regards to effectiveness doesn’t address the issue of using them merely as link to websites or downloads. With a little bit of creativity, some incentive for users to scan and great execution, interesting campaigns and experiences would add value to retailers as well as mobile consumers.