QR codes are an innovative and interactive way for businesses to connect with their consumer base. Many businesses now use these codes to provide smartphone users with access to exclusive information, coupons, and special offers. If used correctly, QR codes can be one of the most powerful tools in your ecommerce marketing arsenal.
Defining QR Codes
For those who missed our last blog post about QR codes, and for anyone else who may not be sure exactly what these strange little symbols are, QR codes are sophisticated versions of the barcodes that we have all become used to seeing on products in stores. Unlike standard barcodes, however, QR codes can encode data horizontally and vertically, which greatly increases the amount of information that they can store.
If you don’t know how to create a QR code, don’t worry, there are many free and paid QR code-generating sites to choose from and the process is a relatively easy one.
One thing that is unique about QR codes is that they are both online and offline marketing tools. Not only can people scan these codes with their smart phones while they are shopping online, they can also scan codes when they appear in print ads, newspapers, store windows, etc.
What this means for advertisers is that it is important to make sure that:
- Your QR codes are at least one inch square and link to a mobile-optimized URL
- Instructions on how to use these codes are provided, if possible
- A message reminding users that they may need to install a QR code reader is included.
Since QR codes can serve dual (online and offline) marketing purposes, the possibilities for where QR codes can be placed are virtually endless. In addition to placing them in print ads and on store windows, some businesses have also placed these codes on hats, t-shirts and other apparel items, effectively turning anyone who wears them into walking marketing advertisements.
For ecommerce site owners and employees, QR codes placed on business cards can allow people to quickly download contact information, and additional information about a business, quickly and easily. This way, if someone happens to lose your business card, they won’t have to search for your contact information, since it will already be stored in their phone.
Stores that have both a physical and an online presence can also place QR codes on merchandise tags as a way to provide additional product information, and direct consumers to their ecommerce site at the same time.
In the same way that your customers can use their smartphones to shop wherever they are, QR codes can reach your customers wherever they are, instantly connecting them to your ecommerce site.
Driving users to your website is only one way to market with QR codes online. Think of your QR codes as a roadmap, directing your customers to the places that you want them to go, and you’ll realize that there are many other places that you can send them.
Need more fans and followers? Sending customers to your Facebook or Twitter page, for example, might encourage them to click the “Like” or “Follow” button. Once they’ve done this, reward them by re-directing them to an exclusive promotional code that they can use in your ecommerce store.
You can also use QR codes to direct customers to videos that you have created and uploaded to your YouTube channel or to videos on other video sharing sites. Have a great blog post, a news release, whitepaper, or other marketing content that you want to share? Create a QR code that sends your readers directly to it.
What else can you do with QR codes online? Use them to send your customers to the websites of charities and causes that your business supports or sponsors. Or create a quiz related to the products and service that you sell and direct your customers to it via QR code.
In short, the possibilities for both online and offline QR code marketing are limited only by your creativity. Be creative, don’t be afraid to experiment with new ways to use them, and if you come up with a creative and unique QR code marketing idea, feel free to share it with us.