Tag Archives: marketing

Deck the halls with QR Codes? A Cautionary Tale.

By all accounts it is too early for this post. The mentioned of the ‘C’ word should be taboo, but the season of Christmas marketing is almost upon us. Marketing departments are starting to finalise their campaigns and try to find something different.

We will undoubtedly see many QR Codes as they try to capture the growing mobile markets. With the number of smartphones now used it is clear that they are a key part of how consumers interact with companies. Those companies who wish to spurn this development will be missing out on a large slice of the market.

However, despite reading many articles predicting a landslide of QR Code campaigns I think caution should be exercised. As I have mentioned many times in this blog you cannot force people to take the 20 seconds or so to scan a QR Code, you must offer them a reward! A shiny commercial for your product does not count, make it something worthwhile; a discount or some content of real value. What is more let them know what they will get before they scan, otherwise your QR Code may be lost alongside the thousands of others.

If you want to get your phone ready for QR Codes then check out our free barcode scanner app in the google play store or our Software Development Kits.

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Instant Quote for Used Phone…Enabled by QR Codes

Everyone has seen adverts for these companies, the model obviously proves profitable. Old smartphones can be traded in, for money, to be recycled. These companies make money, the consumer makes money and the phones do not end up straight in the landfill. However the process is not flawless, the companies like to view the phones before they pay money for them and consumers are easily put off by such obstacles. This means that only around 10% ever get recycled in such a manner.

So what is the solution? QR Codes of course. American company MaxBack has released a QR Code which, when scanned, assesses the phone and makes an instant offer. This clever use of the QR Code works in several ways. Firstly its entire target audience has smartphones so can scan the device, secondly it is self selecting. If someone has a smartphone which is so run down it will no longer scan a QR Code then it cannot get the offer. Finally it means that when someone sends their phone off they can do so with a good awareness of what they will receive in return.

So don’t get bogged down in the numerous terrible uses of QR Codes, embrace those who do the technology justice! For more information on our Mobile Barcode Reading SDK check out our website.

Jack

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Barcodes for Small Businesses

In charities and small businesses there is no room for waste, even small changes can sometimes be big decisions due to the resultant effect on already tight cash flows. However if you want to keep an organisation running smoothly and efficiently, investments must be made.

The Watford Observer has reported that the county council has awarded £750 to the Rickmansworth Toy Library to allow them to implement a barcode lending system. Many people working in business will be reluctant to take lessons from a local toy library, however it is something worth paying attention to. An efficient and automated system not only provides a check on human error but it also allows staff to concentrate on the less monotonous tasks which can really propel an organisation forward.

In small business there is always the option of a manual workaround, and often they do save money, but a long term view can help a small group of people have a big impact. For more information on what barcode reading could do for your business check out our ready-to-use barcode application.

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USPS Look to Book Festive Business with Barcodes

The United States Postal Service have announced they will once again be looking to raise awareness of their seasonal offers through encouraging people to engage with mail through new technologies such as mobile barcodes. This will allow business users of the mail service to qualify for a 1-2% discount on delivery over the period; a substantial sum for many firms. To qualify the companies simply have to include a QR Code on their mail, which can be read by the recipient, to take them to a personalised webpage or online catalogue.

In tandem with this is a campaign to encourage the distribution of coupons and promotional offers for mobile shoppers. For obvious reasons the USPS are keen to encourage mobile shopping, if you buy on your phone it will be them who are paid to get it to you! Therefore this seems very sensible, a company taking the initiative in ensuring the market moves in the direction that suits them as quickly as possible. This also demonstrates how QR Codes should be used, not as some weak promotional gimmick but as the link to something which encourages business whilst offering something to the customer.

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Mobile Giants Battle over Barcode Patents

We have all heard recently of the patent battles raging between Samsung and Apple; Samsung now have to pay huge sums of money to Apple. This is nothing new and seems to have become a rather ugly side to the world of business where legal departments do battle. Aside from the fact that a patent should be an ‘unintuitive’ step, which most of their patents for ’rounded edges’ are not, it means that the consumer loses out. Less choice and higher prices seem to be the inevitable outcome.

However the patents that companies are battling over does show clues as to the future of mobiles technology. With this in mind I have been very interested to see in the news patents for mobile barcode technology being awarded to the large mobile companies. They appear to be mainly related to capabilities for enhanced shopping experiences where you can scan a barcode to add something to your shopping list. This is not a new concept with Tesco including it within their mobile shopping app quite a while a go. This point aside, though, it is clear that the expansion of barcode enabled mobile shopping is going to arrive.

If you want to get ahead of the game with mobile barcode technology then check out our website.

Where do you see mobile barcode technology going?

Jack

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QR Code Use on the Rise

The use of QR Codes has in recent years started to get a bad press in some quarters, their gratuitous use of annoyance to many. This has led to many predicting their speedy demise to be replaced by NFC which can offer more information. However is appears that for all the negativity the use of QR Codes in the USA has increased 40% year on year (taken from BBC website).

This will come of little surprise to those who have used QR Codes since unlike NFC there is little (almost no) cost in implementation. The only cost is in the printing of the QR Code and all the complicated information which you may wish to convey is simply held on a website. Especially at a time when companies do not have the money to invest heavily but still need to innovate the choice of QR Codes seems obvious.

It should also be seen as a consumer driven trend. Although every phone you now see advertised comes under the ‘smart phone’ category there are still many new people changing to smartphones each year; the market is not yet at its full size. Therefore as more people invest in smartphones the effectiveness of QR Codes can only increase. So if companies follow the basic rules or using short web addresses to keep the barcode simple and ensure that the user is offered something for their effort then QR Codes will continue to flourish.

Want to read QR Codes on your android? Check out our FREE application in the Google Play store. Alternatively if you want to learn about integrating barcode reading into your software then visit our website.

Jack

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Corporate Responsibility and Compliance

Compliance is big business these days, ensuring that your business is showing the appropriate level of responsibility is key to safeguarding the companies future. However this is easier said than done. Tracking where your products are going and who is using them is possible though, and has many more applications than simply compliance; it also lets you target marketing and resources more effectively.

Barcodes are ideal for such a task. Their implementation is incredibly cheap and straight forward. This has led the home ministry in India to seek detonators, which are largely produced in the private sector, to be barcoded so they can be traced. With political extremism and terrorism a big issue they want to be able to trace where detonators have come from.

But don’t think that just becuase you don’t work in a sector involved with terrorism or high level explosives that this is not relevant to you. If you want to ensure that your products are being sold by the people you choose to represent your corporate image it is worth making sure you can trace your goods.

For more information on barcode reading applications of Software Development Kits check out our website.

Jack

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Promoting QR Code Use

In previous posts I have talked of how many people offer QR Codes to consumers with little in the way of incentives. The presence of a QR Code does not mean it will be used, people need to think that what they receive from doing so is worth while; this is why a QR Code linking to banal advertising will only discourage future use.

However Kenya and Uganda appear to be leading the way in making the most of this new technology. Small shops may not be able to introduce their own loyalty cards in the style of Tesco of ‘Nectar Cards’ in the UK but using the foursquare model of ‘checking in’ they gain both promotion and loyalty. So when a customer purchases something at a small business, say a cafe, they get a QR Code they scan which means they ‘check-in’ online and gain loyalty points. This seems to be a very logical solution, far better than reality many of us face with wallets and purses jammed full of loyalty cards you might only use a couple of times a year.

So it leads to free stuff for the customer and free advertising on someones timeline for the company and all without the use of a loyalty card. Sounds like Kenya and Uganda are leading the way in this area.

Jack

Want to know more about integrating mobile barcode scanning into your software/business? Check out our SDK here!

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These aren’t just QR Codes.. they are M&S QR Codes

British retailer Marks and Spencer are introducing wifi into ten of their shops alongside QR Codes so that customers can make the most of the information. Although some retailers have expressed concern at making it too easy for customers to view in the shops and then purchase elsewhere online history has proved that it is only those who embrace new technology who survive. As the mp3 music revolution has shown it is pointless to try and stop the progression, better to try and direct it in your favour!

The use of QR Codes in shops is obvious, for example if you find something you like but not in your size then stock information can be quickly found, or even order a delivery straight to your house! This saves both time and money for store and consumer.

It will be interesting to see if these schemes end up rolling out nationwide, I have not heard any more recently of the Oxfam QR Code trial; although it has only been a few months so I’m not jumping to conclusions.

What do you think of these changes?

Jack

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How To Market your Business using QR Codes

I have had several thoughts on this recently and seen a large amount of advice I’m dubious about on the subject so here we go… my top tips for using QR Codes to promote your business.

  1. Keep it simple – you will often be told about how great it is that with QR Codes you can change the colours around, put pictures in the middle or encode large amounts of data. These are all very possible but keeping a QR Code looking like a barcode actually helps it stand out and be easily recognised. Everyone is now so familier with QR Codes that it is no bad thing for it to obviously be one, then people know exactly what to do with it! Furthermore use link shortening sites such as tinyurl or bit.ly which can allow for a simpler, cleaner and easier to read barcode.
  2. Incentive – there is no point in getting a customer to scan a QR Code which just takes them to more advertising, either show them the advert in place of the QR Code or use the QR Code for what it is good at… linking the physical with the online. The great thing is you can track how effective your advertising is since you get to view statistics, however people will stop scanning QR Codes if they find them leading to vacuous content. So make sure the consumer knows they will be getting a great deal or some vital information if they scan through!
  3. Placing – you must make sure that wherever the QR Code is that people are likely to scan it there. Pubs, bars and cafes are prime locations for this. People will often be sat idling away time in such locations often sat next to there smart phone. Contrast this to crowded public places where the awkwardness of scanning a QR Code is likely to put most punters off.
  4. Get Social – QR Codes are great for linking into social media. Especially if you run a business with a set premises you want to promote then use some of the various ‘checking in’ apps/tools which work with facebook or twitter to let people share with there friends that they are enjoying being at your business!

These are just a few simply rules but ones which, if followed, can make QR Codes marketing a very cheap and effective way to do so.

Do you have any further suggestions for QR Code marketing?

Jack

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