Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

How Not to Use QR Codes: Part 5

Posted on June 20th, 2013 by

QR codes are a fantastic tool for almost any business or organization to use, whether you are a one man band or a large corporation, QR codes can help to improve your advertising and marketing effort, and even help boost sales.  There are, in fact, few ways you can’t, or shouldn’t use QR codes; and yet people always seem to find these ways to use them and somehow come to the conclusion that it is worth wasting resources on.

The problem with this isn’t just that the poor QR code use is a waste of time and resources for the individual or organization that uses it, but it’s even more than that.  When people continue to use QR codes in bad ways, or don’t abide by general best practices, they make the QR code tool in general look bad and it creates a certain stigma for the technology, hurting the QR codes users and preventing consumers from scanning codes in the future.

Airplane QR Code Here is a perfect example of how NOT to use QR codes.  In the photo right, you will notice a plane towing a large QR code.  At first you might think that this is a creative use of QR codes, and perhaps it is creative, but it is also incredibly dumb.  Even creative QR codes need to have a one main ingredient or they are completely useless, and that one thing is scanability.

There are really three main problems with this QR code usage.

1)      For a QR code to be scanned it must appear large enough on a smartphone screen.  This QR code being pulled by the plane may indeed be large, but it is nowhere near large enough to be scanned from the ground.  To get a QR code large enough to be seen clearly by smartphone cameras the code would have to be MUCH larger than this, and likely towed by a Boeing-747.

2)      Even if this code was MUCH larger and being pulled by a Boeing-747, it still likely would be tough to scan.  A code needs to be clear to read, but clarity becomes a problem when the code is moving as it creates distortions and the scanner cannot read it.  Having a code pulled by a plane is certain to cause the code to move in the wind and become unscannable even with the proper size.

3)      The last issue with this code, and probably the biggest issue, is that someone decided to spend probably a hefty penny to hire a pilot and to have this large QR code banner created.  For a fraction of the cost they could have put together a much more useful QR code campaign using more traditional media and seen a much great bang for their buck.

Before you decide to spend resources and time launching your QR campaign, please make sure you have thought it through and aren’t going to find your QR code highlighted on a blog like this.  Follow our best practices, use a platform that will help ensure you do everything right, and don’t mess up your QR code usage as it makes all of the users look bad.

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Misto® Olive Oil Spray, QR Codes and Product Packaging

Posted on June 18th, 2013 by

Misto1I was recently dragged out on a shopping trip on a beautiful Saturday by my lovely girl-friend, and found myself somehow roaming around a home goods store looking for vital necessities to liven up and beautify our kitchen.  You would be hard pressed to find a better way to spend a Saturday.

As I eagerly looked for the perfect product to place on our kitchen counter, I was soon drawn to a particular accessory I never knew I needed until now.

The product that caught my eye was the Misto® Olive Oil Sprayer.  It caught my eye not just because of the sleek look, but because of the beautiful product packaging and predominantly placed QR code.

I have written before about how QR codes can be utilized on product packaging to achieve certain ends, for example: to help sell a product, drive sales for related goods, or simply provide additional value for the product at hand.  This particular example of Misto® on the other hand provides additional value, but also instructions on its use as well as its other benefits over competitors.

The QR code is one of the few things you notice right away when discovering the product for the first time.  My eyes, at least, were drawn to it immediately after I learned what the product was.  I then proceeded to scan the code to find out more about the product.

Misto  Scanning the code took me to a website with a video, clearly meant to be watched by the consumer.  This video then went on to explain how the sprayer worked as well as emphasize how the Misto® Sprayer does not use chemicals or propellants like its competitors, making it the better choice for the environment.

This use of a QR code is very close to ideal in how such codes should be used on product packaging.  The one big exception is the lack of a mobile optimized landing page which makes navigation for the consumer very difficult.

The only other issue, though not a serious one and not necessarily one that was performed here, is that QR codes work best if the consumer feels as though they will benefit in some way from scanning the code.  For this to happen it usually works best to offer the consumer something and make it clear in the call to action.  In this case Misto® is simply offering more information about the product and a visual guide as to how to use their product.  This is less about offering the customer something like a coupon or discount and more about educating the customer and providing instructions for after purchase.  A productive use nonetheless.

Product packaging is a perfect place for QR codes to be used, just remember to adhere to our best practices, and use a platform that will make your QR code experience easy and provide you with all the tools you need to ensure a successful campaign.

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London Buses and NFC Tags

Posted on June 16th, 2013 by

bus-contactless-payment-topIn December of 2012 the Transport for London began installing NFC compatible readers into their 8,500 buses.  The purpose of doing so was to make the customer’s experience better and decrease the number of cash transactions (cash transactions are costlier than other transactions).

This adoption of NFC technology allows any customer who has an NFC enabled card (most are compatible already) to simply swipe their credit or debit card over the sensor and pay the fare.  The alternative is digging around for change or purchasing a separate bus pass.   Not nearly as convenient.

As of April 2013 TfL reports that they have now surpassed 1 million NFC scans, from over 10,000 commuters, and the number of NFC users are growing by 1,000 every week.  These NFC payments account for 20% of all bus payments.  And to date, every single bus of the 8,500 bus fleet has recorded at least one scan though with certain bus routes getting much greater NFC usage than others.

PrintThis is a perfect example of how the NFC technology can be of great practical use.  It allows for a much more efficient payment method, ensuring quicker payments, safer payments, and more convenience to the customer and the business.

This type of usage works well for large companies with millions of transactions, but it is certainly not limited to such companies.  Even small companies could benefit from this technology by providing easier payment transactions for customers, whether in a retail store, park, or any other business setting that accepts payments.

With the success of this NFC usage in London, you can likely expect other cities to begin copying this use, and it’s about time.

For help with your NC campaign be sure to check out the Qfuse platform and see how it can make you life much more efficient.

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NFC and Virtual Stores

Posted on June 14th, 2013 by

yebhi-virtualI have written in the past about using QR codes as a way to set up virtual stores where customers can simply scan the codes on each item graphic and make a purchase with their smartphone, but I have not discussed this same possibility with NFC.

In the same way QR codes can be used to allow a virtual store to be placed anywhere—a train station, a street corner, etc.—NFC can also be built into the same graphics and used as a way to make purchases as an alternative to QR codes or simply in addition to QR codes.

This trend towards QR codes and NFC for such purposes is only speeding up, even abroad in countries you might not suspect.  In fact in India a company called Yebhi.com is using NFC in this exact way.

Using NFC Tags to Drive Sales

Yehbhi is an Indian fashion and lifestyle retail company and last month they launched a NFC virtual store campaign (QR code compatible as well) throughout some 30 cafes in Delhi and Bangalore.  Each poster will have photos of particular items, and each item will have a corresponding NFC tag and QR code.  To purchase the item you simply wave your smartphone near the item or scan the QR code and the item will be shipped to wherever you desire.

This is a great way to drive online sales and allow the customers to physically interact with a brand.  It allows customers to literally make an impulse purchase upon seeing an item they might like, and do so with incredible convenience.

Obviously these sort of virtual stores work best in areas of high traffic, but not hectic traffic.  They are best where people are mulling about or waiting for something like a train or bus.  But the potential of such a use of the NFC tag (or QR code) is impressive, and this should certainly be considered by any retail store looking to drive online sales through mobile websites.

If you are looking for a all-in-one mobile marketing solution to help you run your NFC or QR code campaign look no further than Qfuse.  Your life will be made easier by giving it a try.

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Mobile Advertising and Toys “R” Us

Posted on June 13th, 2013 by

Toys R UsThe future of advertising is on mobile, and if you are not there yet you need to start planning to be.  Desktop advertising is still important, but with the switch of many internet users from desktop to all, or mostly mobile internet usage, mobile advertising has become vitally important to any business.  It is also important to note that this trend towards mobile is not going to slowing down any time soon.

The growth of the smartphone and tablet industry is fueling this transition, and companies—both large and small—must learn to adapt.

One large company that has fully grasped the power of mobile is Toys “R” Us.  They recently announced that they will be starting a massive new push of mobile advertisements, something they have used similarly and successfully in the past.

This new advertising push by the company will offer mobile coupons to customers to entice them to click the ad; a great way to drive up the conversion rate for their ads (offering the customer some valuable benefit is always a good idea if you want your advertising campaign to succeed).

Along with the coupon there will be a store locator that allows the consumer to find the closest retailer if they would rather shop in a physical store, or they can simply shop on the mobile optimized eStore.  The coupon can then be redeemed in-store by simply showing the cashier the coupon on their smartphone, or by entering the coupon code at the online checkout screen.

This sort of mobile ad is something all companies should be doing, whether you are a larger company like Toys “R” Us or a smaller more local based mom and pop type store.  No matter what the size of the company mobile advertising can be used to fit your target audience and help increase sales the same way desktop ads can be customized to your target audience.

If you do start to use mobile advertising be sure you follow Toys “R” Us’ example and run an enticing ad that clearly indicates a great value to the customer and links to a mobile optimized website to ensure you do not lose a customer to your hard to navigate desktop eCommerce store.

Also be sure to have the professional backing and support you will need to a successful mobile advertising campaign.  Qfuse, after all does a lot more than just QR codes.

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