I was lucky enough to get to spend Christmas and New Year in the great city of New York and while shopping up a storm (purely for professional research purposes of course), I noticed how many retailers and advertisers were using QR codes.
For those of you who don’t know what a QR code is, it’s a form of bar code that when scanned by the right device (normally a smart mobile device, like an iPhone), accesses information like website addresses or product information.
QR codes in retail are generally used to extend the labelling on a product, by giving more details so customers can make an informed decision about their purchase, or as part of an integrated ad campaign (entering competitions, driving customers to download an app, or sign up to a website or Facebook page).
Clearly marketers in the US and Europe see value in using the codes, but for some reason, QR codes in retail environments have not really taken off in Australia, despite our high smart phone usage. It seems odd to me that such a simple tool is being generally ignored.
Why is it being ignored? Well as with most new retail technology, Australian retailers are unwilling to invest in it if they don’t understand it, or it doesn’t immediately hit the bottom line. To be fair, QR codes have had their teething problems, but as I saw in the US, their use should be part of the mainstream marketing mix.
So if you’re thinking about using a QR code, the good news is that they are relatively simple to set up, but for your QR code to be effective, you need to think about a few things:
- Do your customers know how to use a QR codes?
If they don’t, tell them in a simple and easy to understand way on your point of sale or labelling.
- Are your target customers likely to own a smart mobile device?
If they’re not, then QR codes are not the medium for you.
- Where are they accessing your QR codes?
If they can’t get to your codes, or aren’t going to dwell long enough to scan them and be directed to your site, then there’s no point using them.
- Where does your code link to?
Don’t forget that they’re probably using a mobile, so if the site you send them to is not mobile friendly, it may not work.
- Is the information or offer that’s accessed from the QR code useful for your customers?
Remember, if your customer goes to the effort of scanning your QR code, then you need to make it worth their while. Offer them something interesting, or valuable for their efforts.
- What are you going to do to continue the interaction?
Ideally scanning your code is just the first step. Once they’ve accessed your site or offer, give them an opportunity you to continue communicating with them.
Have you seen good examples of QR code use in Australia? If you have, let me know.
Brand & Strategy Director