Posted on November 18th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
Attempting to make the shopping experience easier and more efficient for customers is an objective for most business, and for good reason. By increasing the ease and efficiency of said experience this translates into more sales and thus higher revenue. Finding ways to do this however are not easy to find or create. There is, however, one possible technology that can greatly enhance ease and efficiency, that being QR codes.
Let us take the example of a catalog. Say you just got the most recent L.L.Bean Holiday Season catalog and are flipping through and see a bunch of good gift ideas for Christmas. This person has a couple options to make the purchase, they could call a customer service rep and place the order over the phone, or they could go online and make the order from their computer. In the first case many people hate the phone and simply do not want to call to place an order. In the second case the person may not have access to a computer at that moment, is lazy and doesn’t want to get up and go to the computer, or whatever. It is likely then that some number of people are going to either be inconvenienced not to place their order, too lazy, or because of the delay in browsing the catalog and having access to the tools needed to place an order they might forget to ever make the purchase. Sales are certainly being lost.
How might these lost potential sales be saved? Easy. Use QR codes.
What the QR code can do here is create an easy way for the customer to place their order at the moment they are most interested and with no inconvenience to them. This might be done a couple of ways. You might simply place a single QR code on the front cover or back cover of the catalog and with a call to action tell the consumer to scan the code and order right from the phone. The QR code would then direct the consumer to a mobile optimized website where they can search for their desired goods and place the order right on their phone. Or perhaps each item in the catalog would receive a QR code and, assuming an accompanying app, the customer could scan the codes of the products he/she wants and upon scanning their items might be placed into their mobile shopping cart, and whenever they are done shopping the catalog they simply make the payment from their app and as easy as that they have made their purchase.
This sort of QR code use helps to ensure the capture of more sales through the convenience factor and efficiency factor, thus driving sales and increasing revenue. But it doesn’t just stop there. For the catalog company themselves this might mean fewer customer service reps taking calls since more people will be incentivized to order right from their app, thus reducing company overhead, increasing profits, or helping to aid in a reduction of prices.
If you are a catalog company and you don’t use QR codes in this way it is almost a guarantee that you are losing out on sales. Stop it. The 21st century awaits you.
Just make sure you use a platform that will provide you with all the features you will need to run a successful QR code campaign.
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Posted on November 15th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I went to order from one of my new local favorite restaurants called The Kitchen the other day and pulled out their menu I had in my dresser drawer. After selecting my dinner of choice—their incredible Cuban sandwich—I went to place the menu on the table and noticed that they had a QR code on the back of their menu.
The QR code had no call to action and so I had no idea what to expect (this should have been my first sign of a problem), my mind starting racing about what interesting use this QR code may provide for me.
I thought to myself, perhaps scanning the code would give me with a coupon for some percent off my meal and incentivize me to order pick-up or delivery from them more often.
Or maybe they had easy mobile ordering so I could place my Cuban sandwich order without the hassle of calling and speaking to another human being and taking up their time when they could be preparing my food quicker instead.
Or perhaps scanning the code would take me to reviews of all their dishes and ratings to see which favorites I should be trying as opposed to sticking with my go-to Cuban sandwich.
So I scanned the code, expectations pretty clearly high, but my enthusiasm and that excited twinkle in my eye vanished instantly. What was their QR code directing me to? Their damn desktop website—though a pretty nice desktop website I will say. The exception being that they did have click to call, click to email and map buttons hovering on the bottom of the page for mobile users.
Can someone please tell me why you would use a QR code on your marketing and advertising media and simply link back to your website?! I swear 95 out of every 100 QR codes I scan take me to an irrelevant, hard to use, useless desktop website. Why? When will people learn that this is the least creative and worst way to use QR codes? Give me something relevant! Give me something enticing! Give me something I actually want!
If you own a restaurant QR codes can be incredibly beneficial. Obviously you have the possibilities I mentioned above that could be put on your take-out menus, but you have so many other uses. To name a few, you could put them on your in-house menu’s and incentivize your customers to scan them and check-in on social media sites to provide you with cheap quality advertising, or use them as a way to speed up ordering, or provide information about the ingredients being used in the meals. There are lots of great uses, but linking to your website, no matter how quality your desktop website is, is not one of these.
QR codes can do a lot for you, but only if you use them correctly. Make them work for you and/or your customer. Are they providing additional value? Are they driving sales? Are they creating interest? Are the engaging? If not, don’t use them!…Or just change them so that they are.
Luckily for The Kitchen their Cuban sandwich was amazing and I won’t hold their QR code use against them…much.
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Posted on November 12th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
Australia’s mail service has come up with a very creative value added benefit to their carrier service as an attempt to increase physical mail usage as letter volumes have steadily been decreasing over the years and they have been losing out to other parcel carrying companies.
What the mail service has done is developed what they are calling a ‘Video Stamp,’ or really just a QR code that they will use for the upcoming Holiday season. How it works is that the new QR code, if desired by the customer, will replace the traditional stamp on all parcels and letters. The sender of the mail can then upload a video message up to 15 seconds long which is then accessible to the recipient by simply scanning the code with their phone.
This is a great way to personalize packages and letters, bring the mail into the 21st century, and provide additional value to customers. Most of these QR code stamps will be free with purchase of mailing services and thus no extra cost to the consumer.
The mail service will also be advertising this great new service through national TV ads, digital, print and out-of-home advertising campaigns. The TV ads can be seen below.
This sort of added value is a smart way for any mail carriers or parcel carriers to provide additional value at little to no cost to the consumer or company. Amazing it took people this long to come up with the idea, but I am glad someone finally did.
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Posted on November 5th, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
I was reading my latest issue of Reason Magazine when I flipped it over and noticed that the back cover—doubling as a full page advertisement—contained a well placed QR code, and perfectly highlights what I believe is a perfect use for QR codes in print advertising.
The QR code itself was faultless. Low density for easier scanning; large enough to be noticeable but not too large to take away from the advert itself; a perfect call to action, telling the customer what they will get upon scanning and making it perfectly relevant to what the ad was selling; and lastly, the landing page was mobile optimized, ensuring fewer people exit the site due to poor functionality.
The most important aspect of this advert though, and the point I want to highlight the most, is for you to see how perfectly the QR code compliments the product being sold and will more than likely help drive sales that otherwise would have never occurred.
In this case the advertisement is for a book titled “Terms of Engagement.” Obviously it is geared to the subject matter and types of people that would typically be reading Reason Magazine. The write up is interesting and concise; there are a couple of great endorsements by the President of FEE (a big name among libertarian circles) and one of the most well known journalists/editorialists in the country, clearly this advert will draw some interest from readers and some—if they remember—will surely purchase the book.
What the QR code does to this advert though, is take that interest that the ad itself created and ensure that more of those people who said to themselves “you know, that sounds like an interesting book, I should remind myself when I get in front of my computer to go purchase it on Amazon,” and then promptly forgot to go purchase it, are given the opportunity to buy the book at the moment their interest is highest, and providing the accessibility to purchase the book without having to remember to do so later when their interest may have waned. A QR code directed to the Amazon page for the book is all it takes.
It seems to me that if you are running an advertisement for some product or service—like a book—it is incredibly useful, and sure to increase sales, by simply including a QR code with said advert, and providing your consumers with an easy accessible way to make the purchase when they are most likely to do so. If you aren’t using QR codes in such a way there is a 100% chance you are losing sales.
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Posted on November 3rd, 2013 by Timothy Boyle
My friend was walking through the mall the other day when he stumbled upon this large advertisement (right) near the mall entrance. It peaked his interest so he scanned the code and took some pictures.
The advertisement was done by Eye Corp Media (eyecorpmedia.com), one of the largest international out of home advertising networks, and was set right at the main entrance so that it is visible to everyone coming in and out of the mall.
The advertisement is interesting because it really doesn’t advertise anything, instead all it is attempting to achieve is for customers to take out their phones and engage with the advert. So despite not actually advertising anything what they have created is a fully interactive kiosk that has been made so by implementing QR codes and NFC tags, and really what they are selling here is the actual interaction.
Making advertisements and marketing materials engaging and interactive in this way can go a long way to improving the quality, substance and effectiveness of similar types of media.
Now the thing my friend also noticed upon scanning is that the content wasn’t spectacular. Though the content did vary depending on your sex and age—which is a cool feature—it did not offer anything terribly interesting. What you received was either a joke (a quite lame one at that), or some random fact. So nothing that would keep a customer’s attention for more than a few seconds.
I suspect though that this was being done more as a test run, since after you received your joke or fact you were asked what would you have rather seen, and are given a list of different types of content For example, videos or special offers in the mall. In this way Eye Corp Media is probably able to use the example advertisement as a way to generate beneficial market data that could be used for future adverts.
All in all this was a very good example of the potential for making things like mall kiosks interactive, and more useful using technologies like QR codes and NFC. Just make sure if you attempt to do the same sort of thing you are using a QR code/NFC platform that will help ensure a successful campaign by giving you every tool you could possible need.
| Read more by Timothy Boyle