Ever see one of those barcode-ish, matrixy looking sort of things on the back of a product?
If you don’t know by now, those things are called QR codes—or quick response codes—and believe it or not, they’ve been around for two decades. But it wasn’t until the proliferation of smartphones and tablets that we really began to start seeing them pop up everywhere.
QR codes work like this: A person uses his or her mobile device to scan the code, and voila, they’re digitally ushered to a website of a company’s choosing that ostensibly contains useful information.
But while smartphone and tablet adoption rates continue to climb, QR codes aren’t necessarily enjoying a similar renaissance. Is that because QR codes are a waste of time or is it because they’re not being used correctly?
Research shows that a whopping 97 percent of consumers have no idea what QR codes are. So while there are a good amount of people who regularly scan QR codes, new mobile device users aren’t necessarily going through the trouble to learn the technology. It makes sense: Devices don’t come with pre-installed QR scanners, so customers have to first download an app and figure out how to use it. And that’s too big a hurdle for many.
Still, marketers would probably be wise to educate their audiences. After all, QR codes help bridge the gap between the physical world and the digital one. By simply scanning a code, customers are able to access a slew of data – from food ingredients to manufacturing specs to instructional videos – and the digital and physical worlds become one.
As you begin researching whether QR codes might be right for your brand, you’re certain to find just as many articles affirming the merits of the technology as those declaring it dead. The truth of the matter is somewhere in the middle: QR codes will work well for some companies, and they won’t work at all for others.
Here are five reasons companies refuse to quit on QR codes:
1. QR codes boost Web traffic and engagement.
Any time a customer scans one of your QR codes, he or she will be directed to a website of your choosing. So it follows that you stand to gain a lot more traffic when customers start interacting with your codes. You can create different codes for different products, making sure that more eyes land on all the content you create.
2. QR codes will help grow your email distribution list.
QR codes give your brand yet another avenue through which to get customers to sign up for your e-newsletter. Who knows how many customers you’ll net through that medium? But really any number makes such a campaign worthwhile.
Want your customers to follow your brand on Twitter and like it on Facebook? Create QR codes to help meet that end. The technology makes it a whole lot easier for customers to start promoting your brand on social networks.
4. QR codes help your customers make better informed decisions.
It’s easy to feel good about making a purchasing decision with more information on hand. With QR codes, your customers are able to access a considerable amount of data related to a product they’re thinking about buying. They can then make better informed decisions. Who wouldn’t appreciate the help?
5. QR codes give you valuable data.
You can collect the data associated with QR scans to see what’s working and what products and services your customers are most interested in. You can then use that information to adjust your campaigns so that you’re catering more directly to your audiences in the future.
Thinking about giving QR codes a try? You’ll find there’s no shortage of free tools you can use to create them. So why not give it a whirl?