Crystal Vilkaitis is today’s guest blogger. The owner of Crystal Media, a company dedicated to helping retailers and manufactures integrate proven social media and mobile marketing strategies into their businesses, Crystal will be presenting at The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market® in January 2013. Her first Education Center seminar, Seven Sure-Fire Social Media Tips to Increase Traffic and Sales, will be at 1 p.m. on Friday, January 11 and again on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Her second seminar, Proven Mobile Marketing Success, will be on Friday at 3 p.m.
Crystal’s post offers a look into how Quick Response (QR) Codes work and the potential future of this expanding technology.
Mobile Marketing with QR Codes
QR Code Marketing has been adapted by businesses around the world with ease and excitement. Along with social media, the new deal phenomenon and flash sale sites, mobile marketing is changing the way we sell goods and services. Before all of these innovative game changers surfaced, the business landscape looked much different.
For those of you who are new to QR Codes, the QR stands for ‘Quick Response.’ To scan a QR Code you must use a QR Reader application, which are free, using your smartphone. You simply open the Reader application and scan the QR Code just like you would take a picture. Once scanned, your phone will display a message and take you to a URL or something else depending on what the code is being used for. Often these codes are black and white, but now they can be any color. Below you’ll see an example of a QR Code. If you have a smartphone, I suggest you download a QR Reader application and scan the code it to test out this technology.
Now, “back when I was kid,” tech companies were strategizing how to get businessmen, families and qualifying individuals to buy a machine that sat on a desk, plugged into the wall, turned on, dialed up and allowed you to talk to others around the world. We no longer had to hand-write a letter. We didn’t even have to pick up the phone anymore, the Internet completely changed the way we communicated with others.
Businesses had to adapt and figure out how these tools could speed up their processes, produce more for less money and increase their exposure, both online and in the physical world. Marketing changed. We started building websites for our businesses, buying online banner ads, creating email addresses and trying to collect email addresses to digitally send marketing communications.
Now, a business can create a black and white (or red, yellow, blue, rainbow) QR Code in seconds that is filled with a message to their customers. It’s a real-world hyperlink that takes you to a video, website, Facebook Fan page, product information, special savings code, phone number, email address and more. Then, you display it wherever you’d like it to be – in the window, at the cash register, on a t-shirt, sticker, hat, sign, post-card, building – anywhere! To create a QR Code for your store, check out http://qrstuff.com.
More consumers are becoming familiar with this technology, especially with the help of big brands. Last year Toys“R”Us® ramped up their holiday mobile marketing strategy by integrating QR Codes into their The Great Big Toys“R”Us® Book catalog, which allowed shoppers to learn more about their products before making their purchase. Simard also used QR Codes to increase website traffic and conversions by placing them in magazines their target audience was reading. Each code led to a video hosted on their site highlighting kitchen trends and designs. Through this mobile marketing effort Simard doubled the average time a visitor stayed on their website and sales increased by 18% from the previous year.
Looking to the future, I think we’ll see more social integration and sharing of QR Codes, such as liking a code on Facebook and displaying it on our Wall or in a photo album to gain viral exposure. You’ll begin to see more websites offering better code design features, such as clip art, the ability to turn logos and photos into codes. More products will feature QR Codes directly on them, which may include product info, price or a YouTube video about the item.
The possibilities show us that now, more than ever, it’s important for independent retailers to drive traffic into their stores and provide value so customers won’t turn to doing all their shopping online. Attend my Market seminars to learn more about how to use QR Codes to market your store, as well as gain insight on other mobile marketing tactics. Visit my retail-focused blog and sign up for free social and mobile marketing tips at crystalmedia.co.
– Crystal Vilkaitis