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

Mobile Pay is Booming in China (QR Codes Utilized as Payment Links)

Posted on February 10th, 2018 by

Some of the biggest news to come out of China recently is that cash is no longer king. In fact, cold hard dollars and cents are effectively dead there. The Chinese have taken massive steps to live in the financial future by using mobile pay almost exclusively. And, at the crux of mobile pay, is the QR Code – scan the code, pay for your purchase, get on with your day. China and its love affair with mobile pay can be analyzed in four major touch-points:

1. In 2016, mobile payment volume in China doubled to $5 trillion, according to Hillhouse Capital’s Analysis data.
2. In mainland China, both service providers and stores have become increasingly mobile-pay centered around apps such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. In fact, WeChat Pay cornered 40 percent of the mobile payment market, and Alipay took more at 54 percent during one quarter according to an extensive financial study. Alipay is owned by an affiliate of Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services, and it boasts 520 million users on its international website.
3. Mobile pay has grown so fast in mainland China that foreigners can find it quite difficult to go about completing even the most basic transaction without it.
4. Mobile transactions’ dominance in China could also lead to better data collection by their government.

QR Codes Vs. Cash

At one time, when shopping or eating out with local friends, the Chinese consumers would ask a merchant if they accepted credit cards, while now they ask if they accept WeChat Pay or Alipay. Then, they pay simply with the scan of a QR code right at the table or a customer shows a code to a store clerk on their Smartphones. In fact, the Chinese often joke that a beggar would prefer a mobile pay donation to cash.

Spreading to Other Countries

The mobile pay habit that has taken over China has started to trickle in to some other countries. More than six million people from China went traveling abroad last fall for their national holiday called “Golden Week.” That travel – plus China’s change to using mobile payments and QR codes – ended up putting a certain amount of pressure on places like Hong Kong and Japan to start adopting mobile payment services, since they are popular destinations for Chinese tourists. In fact, the total number of stores that accept mobile payments is expected to double to approximately 45,000 stores this year, according to a report from Nikkei.

Major Progress

So, as mobile pay has completely changed the daily commerce in China, an entire society that was once limited only to using bills that were less than 100 Yuan denominations has now become one where QR payment codes are the norm. Since there is very little red tape in China coupled with a financial system that is much less developed, the Chinese have actually managed to surpass most developed world in the practice of readily accepting mobile payments.

300 Trillion Yuan by 2021

According to CLSA, a research investment company in Hong Kong, the volume of Chinese electronic payments could quadruple by the year 2021 all the way up to 300 trillion Yuan. In addition, according to Research, mobile payments in China rose to $5.5 trillion in 2016. That’s approximately 50 times the size of the $112 billion market in the U.S.
For the Chinese imports that the States have brought in over time, the writing is on the wall that mobile-pay, and those QR Codes associated, are only set to grab a larger hold on payment methods other time.

What This Means for Countries Outside of China

While countries such as the United States may not be going completely cashless or cardless in the very near future, the momentum toward a fully digital currency is inevitable. With this, QR codes will remain one of the most practical ways to facilitate such transactions. While it may not be a sexy new technology, QR Codes are reliable, platform independent, and ubiquitous worldwide.

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , Read more by

Apple Breathes New Life into QR Codes: Updated iPhones Support Native QR Code Reading

Posted on February 1st, 2018 by

2018 is set to be a huge year for the QR Code world as iPhones updated with iOS11 now fully support QR Code reading natively. For the first time ever, the camera app built in to your smartphone can quickly and easily (and we mean super easily), read QR Codes.

For those in marketing and advertising, this opens up a whole new landscape of possibility. No more having to install a third party app. No more issues with downloading. No more ads, no more dilemmas with readability, no more – in essence – slowing the rebirth of QR Codes!

As it’s the holiday season and you’ve been out and about shopping, you’ll see more and more products boasting their QR Codes. To get details on the specific product, all you’ll have to do is pull out your iOS11 equipped iPhone, open the Camera, and point it at the QR Code. From there, the screen will show a small box in the upper part of the screen with the QR Code type and the action to be performed. The camera will recognize a URL for the product, and the iPhone will suggests opening the product website in the browser.

Beyond your holiday shopping, there are a number of other ways that QR Codes, and this new utility that the iPhone camera presents, including:

– Apple now allows easily connecting to Wi-Fi networks directly through a QR Code.
– Adding a date to your calendar for 2018? With a calendar QR Code, users can encode an event to a QR Code that is added their iPhone’s calendar upon scanning.
– A QR Code with a message encoded can be sent as a SMS message.
– QR Codes with mobile deep links encoded can bring user right into an app.

Apple’s iOS11 built in camera utility is fully supportive of QR Code reading and it’s reliable, quick, and super easy (did we say that already?). No longer needing a third party app to read QR Codes will cause more and more businesses, brands, and marketers to utilize the QR Code. Simply put, the QR Code will take major steps towards being a viable marketing tool in 2018.

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , Read more by

Snapchat and the Resurgence of QR Codes

Posted on November 30th, 2017 by

With its 173 million users, Snapchat is certainly one of the most widely used apps. While the demographic is younger – it’s been predicted that by the end of this year, Snapchat will be bigger than both Facebook and Instagram in the US among 12 to 24-year-olds – the platform is seemingly everywhere. And, with attention like that, it means that businesses are working on how to utilize the platform to market themselves, boosting brand awareness and sales.

QR Codes, on the other hand, were a utility that seemed to fade – like a boxer on the ropes, down but not out. They were on ketchup bottles, real estate flyers, the walls of subway tiles – and all users had to do was point their camera, scan the black-and-white squares, and be redirected to a desired URL. The future in our hands. Except, you had to be sure your phone had a camera that could do QR scanning, download an app, maybe download another app, to finally read the code just to end up on the wrong website or a webpage not suited for mobile. The future, sure. QR Codes were simply ahead of their time.

Not only are QR Codes back and prevalent, but apps like Snapchat (and Facebook) are pushing the future of QR Codes. Sure, they may have different names – Snap Codes and Messenger Codes among others – but the technology and the way people can utilize it have caught up to what QR Codes were always meant to be.

Two years ago, when Snapcodes were rolled out, users were creating their own codes and adding friends using the platform. These were QR Codes in a different form, and with a different utility, from anything that had been seen before. The fact that Snapchat always opened up to its camera was inviting the use of these codes. Fast forward to today, and now using the codes users can unlock filters, get animated lenses, or even discover different channels and content groups with the app. And yes, the most recent development allows users to create a code that links to any website. When users scan the code, they are natively brought to the mobile page while remaining in Snapchat.

With this ease of use, and the potential advertising and marketing barriers being taken down, we are starting to see more businesses looking to start using Snapcodes in their marketing. And, now that Snapcodes have made it into the limelight, many are looking back on the previous renditions of QR Codes and now figuring on how they can be best put to use. Snapcodes got users accustomed to simply scanning with their phone, and since Snapchat’s scanning app supports QR codes along with Snapcodes, it means that anyone with Snapchat can effortlessly scan a QR code as well.

Using the platform in this way is giving businesses and brands a very powerful connection to an audience obsessed with Snapchat. Promoting their product or service through images – and QR Codes – instead of basic URL clicks is more substantial for branding and brand recognition. Leveraging QR Codes, businesses can:

– Easily create a B2C connection. Instead of ‘adding friends’, users could now check out a business, make an online search or purchase, and save or send web links.
– Have greater reach. Snapchat is storytelling with imagery, and with one click of a QR Code businesses could hold a conversation and further tell their story. Businesses like Starbucks and Whole Foods are using Snapchat as the portal for their advertising, allowing for special giveaways and features to be ‘unlocked’ when scanning their code.
– Collect payment in a seamless way. Much in the same vein as Apple Pay, users will be able to connect and pay for items with the simple scan of a code.

There is an entire greenfield in today’s world when it comes to utilizing Snapchat for QR Codes, and for as much growth and understanding as we’ve seen in the last year or so, there is still a ton of which is undeveloped and there is still a lot to learn. New technologies, best practices, and more efficient ways to utilize Snapchat for QR Codes in marketing a brand on the platform, are efforts that are only going to increase with time. This much is certain – QR Codes aren’t dead. They are very much alive.

 

References:
https://www.recode.net/2017/8/24/16198632/snapchat-instagram-teens-comscore-study-growth-users
https://www.wired.com/story/the-curious-comeback-of-the-dreaded-qr-code/
http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-expands-qr-code-reach-2017-2
http://mashable.com/2017/05/08/qr-codes-1app-snapchat-facebook/#yf.iO0BFM5qA
http://fortune.com/2016/05/13/snapchat-qr-code-reader/

 

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Read more by

Google's Mobile Search Changes - Are You Ready for Mobilegeddon?

Posted on April 6th, 2015 by

Mobilegeddon - Are You Ready?

“Mobilegeddon!”–as it has been so dubbed–is an algorithm that will make mobile-friendly websites in Google’s organic search a priority. As mobile usage increases by the multitudes on a daily basis, it is the logical choice for Google to want to provide their mobile users with mobile websites.

So now you’re asking… ”How do I know if my site is mobile or not?” Check things out for yourself by simply searching for your site on Google. With a mobile device, check to see if your site has the “Mobile-Friendly” label by it in the organic search results. In addition, the Google developers didn’t want users to feel completely alone in this, so try out their mobile-friendly test:
https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/

If you get the “Mobile-Friendly” label by your site when you search, or if you receive the “Mobile-Friendly” analysis in Google’s test, then congratulations! You’re good to go for April 21st.

However, if you receive the ‘Not Mobile-Friendly’ diagnosis, then it’s certainly time to make some changes.

It goes without saying: ideally your website should be mobile-friendly. It is 2015 after all and more than half of all web viewers are surfing on a mobile device.

However, there are still a large number of businesses and organization that do not have a mobile website. With knowledge of Google’s recent announcement of a pending update, paired with the continued expansion of mobile usage, it is undeniable that your site must be mobile-friendly.

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So what does this really mean? In short, if your website is not mobile-friendly by the end of April, your site will suffer from diminished search rankings – which will lead to less site visits, and which will, in turn, ultimately lead to fewer customers.

To make things crystal clear: Make the change, or suffer the consequences.

There are a number of methods for creating a mobile-friendly website – one simple approach is to use the Qfuse mobile website builder to easily create a full-featured mobile-friendly website. Another approach is to invest in building a “responsive” web presence using responsive web design–an approach that scales a single website to the screen size of the device displaying it. Whichever option you choose, do it fast. The deadline is around the corner.


 

Contact us today if you’d like to learn more and how Qfuse can help you beat the clock and make the most of your mobile presence.
No Comments | Tags: , , Read more by

NFC Usage Statistics & Qfuse Functionality

Posted on September 24th, 2014 by

NFC Usage Statistics

It is hard to say the actual usage of U.S. phones with NFC enabled. Most devices these days have NFC capability, but the one big exception has been iPhone, which as most people know has huge market-share. A significant development has been that the latest iPhone 6 does have NFC, but it appears to be locked down only for the Apply Pay feature at this time. Still, many speculate that this is a positive indication for future growth of NFC. If you search around the web, you can find many articles speculating on NFC growth, for example: http://www.cnet.com/news/nfc-enabled-cell-phones-to-hit-416-million-shipments-report/.

Because NFC is still an emerging technology for many/most users (even those who have it and may not be aware of it) it’s typically a best practice to also include a QR code and/or a short-URL (Qfuse also generates short-URLs) in order to provide an alternate method of engagement for non-NFC users. But it really depends on your use-case and target audience/device.

Qfuse URL Structure & Default Functionality

By default our Qfuse platform’s mobile site URLs are formatted as qfuse.com/site-name. However, with an Enterprise account we have the capability to also have sites resolve to a custom URL of our clients’ choosing; so it would be your-url.com/site-name. This way our clients can can provide their customers the direct URL (or link to the URL) and it would show on their custom domain.

No Comments | Read more by