Sorry to say, my shopping excursion at Safeway did not yield a bounty of QR Codes. When I approached the store manager to inquire about QR Codes, I was surprised to learn that he did not even know what I was talking about. I provided a quick lesson on the advantages of the technology and continued my search.
I finally uncovered one QR Code in the produce department. It was printed on a Del Monte pineapple tag and, when scanned, it led me to a mobile landing page where I found various pineapple recipes. A very cool idea in my book.
I think it’s safe to say that QR Codes have not yet infiltrated the U.S. marketplace. To me this means a great opportunity exists for creative marketers and advertisers. Over the last two months more and more articles have been written on the subject on a daily basis. These articles illustrate how QR Codes can be integrated into most any marketing campaign effectively.
One of the most effective and successful uses that I came across it the one implemented by Korean grocery chain, Tesco. The company created a “virtual” store in a subway station. The billboard-like displays were reproductions of actual store displays that you’d see inside a grocery store. Each item in the virtual display featured a QR Code. Therefore, while waiting for their trains, shoppers could do their grocery shopping without ever having to step inside the grocery store.
They shopped simply by using their smart phones to scan the items on the “billboard.” The items went into a shopping a cart and then, were delivered directly to their home. This convenience allowed the shoppers to convert their subway waiting time into productive shopping time.
10,287 consumers visited Tesco’s online Home Plus store resulting in a 130% increase in their online sales. A very creative and functional use of both QR Code and Mobile technology! One that U.S. marketers might want to pay close attention too. Check out the Tesco Home Plus YouTube video at http://youtu.be/h7HnR02kJxY
Branded or customized QR Codes is another way I feel QR Codes could be better utilized. More often than not, I see print ads with QR Codes placed down in the corner with no explanation of what it is or what to do with it. It’s very irritating to me and to those of us trying to promote the proper use of this innovative technology.
Here are two simple direct marketing steps that I think would greatly enhance the adaptation of QR Codes to an advertiser’s marketing efforts:
1. Include a “Call to Action” so consumers know what a QR Codes is and what to do with it.
2. Brand the QR Code to reflect the product so you creatively engage the viewer.
In the last month, I introduced the branded QR Code concept to two of my clients here in Denver: The Butterfly Pavilion (see QR Code to left) and Thor Travel Services (see QR Code to right). The final results of these efforts are not in yet. However, where they had once seen QR Codes as boring and unnecessary; by creating a custom QR Code that speaks to their prospects while reflecting their brand, these 2 companies discovered the value behind this useful marketing tool.
If we as marketers can also provide creativity and apply basic rules of direct marketing to the utilization of this device, it can only help our clients to better understand and embrace QR Code technology.
Neal Sceva is a Certified Direct & Interactive Marketer (CDIM) and an integrated marketing solutions specialist. A 30-year veteran of the print and direct marketing industries, Neal may be reached at 303-345-5188 or follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/nscevaJr