As e-commerce and social media continue to grow, one thing is clear: your customers want instant access to the information they’re looking for more than ever before. So it’s no surprise that Quick Response, or QR, codes, are quickly catching on and becoming a popular retail trend in 2011.
Scannable from any smartphone, these two-dimensional barcodes direct an audience to a designated message, website, or other piece of digital content, and can also activate phone functions such as email, IM and SMS. Though they may look a little overwhelming, QR Codes are an easy and effective method your store can implement to meet your customers’ needs and boost sales. Don’t know how? Let us help.
The first step in any new marketing strategy is always planning. Your store should decide what the purpose of your new promotion will be, how you will implement and track your progress, and most importantly, how it will benefit your store. There are lots of options when it comes to QR Codes, so explore different methods and see which will be the best fit before deciding.
Here’s a basic checklist of questions to consider in the planning phase:
•Who is my target audience?
•What is my goal? (provide information, increase traffic, enhance customer service, increase sales)
•Where do I want to direct my code? (URL, Google Map, Contact Information, Email Address, SMS, Text, RSS Feed)
•What type of marketing materials will I put my code on?
•What tactics will I use to distribute these materials? Where will they be distributed?
•How will I track my success?
Once you have a plan in place, it’s time to get to work! There’s a never-ending list of services that create QR Codes, free of charge, based on your store’s needs. You can start by searching for ‘QR Code Generator’ and browsing for your own, or go straight to the simpler services including Delivr, Kaywa and QR Stuff.
For the more adventurous, Kerem Erkan, another code generator, allows you to explore more innovative options such as linking to your foursquare location or even encoding a specific user’s last tweet. This service also offers options for further customization with the ability to change the background and foreground colors as well as the margin size. But, ensure your code sticks to the basic formula of a light-colored background and a darker foreground. Always ensure your code is scannable by downloading a QR Reader and testing before placing on any marketing materials.
After selecting a service, simply fill in the required information prompted by the Generator to create your customized QR Code. You can save your code to the computer to print on business cards or signs, or use its permalink to embed on your website or social media site.
MBS makes it easy for you to link QR Codes to your most relevant content by supporting mobile shopping on the inSite platform.
“Your store can create QR Codes for specific products on your inSite web store, as well for any webpage,” explained Carol York, MBS Requirements Analyst.
iPhone, Android and other mobile devices are all supported, but stores should check with their inSite Client Representative for the specific URL used to create the barcode, as they may be slightly different, she advised.
Now that you’re up to speed on how to create a QR Code, here are some innovative ways to incorporate them into your store:
•Talk the Talk: Create customized shelf-talkers for your most popular textbook titles to provide students with a seamless experience. By linking these QR Codes to your inSite page, your students will be able to see real-time price comparisons between your store and top competitors so they don’t have to shop around. This strategy greatly increases customer loyalty and keeps the sale in your store, providing commission on any competitor sales.
•Answer Questions: Have a large store? Give your students the customer service they deserve by posting stations in various high-traffic areas with text reading, “Have a Question? Scan Me!” Direct your code to load a phone number into the students’ phone, allowing them to call a specific help line equipped with a dedicated customer service employee who can answer their questions. This approach reduces customer frustrations and takes stress off sales floor employees who may be occupied at that moment.
•Extend Your Hours: Create a QR Code on a window cling instructing students to ‘Shop Online Now’ and hang it on your front display or door. Students arriving after closing will then be able to scan the code, directing them to your e-commerce inSite page. This lets them easily locate the product they need, converting an otherwise passive consumer, who would have likely gone on to the next store, to take immediate action with the power to make a purchase.
•Green Your Product Information: Kirkwood Community College Bookstore uses QR Codes as an eco-friendly alternative to take-away flyers. The store decided to save some trees by marketing their electronic products with QR Codes that allow smartphone users to view spec. sheets as well as product information on a bookmarked webpage from their mobile device.