More than a decade ago, QR codes, which had been developed in the mid-90s to improve vehicle manufacturing processes, started to make their way into consumer marketing. The vision was there — tons of information, buying opportunities, and digital experiences packed into this neat little square — but the execution was…lacking, to say the least. Creating them was a hassle, and reading them required consumers to download special apps that may or may not work consistently, leaving potential customers less delighted by the QR codes’ capabilities and more frustrated with their limitations.
Today, though, as the pandemic ebbs and something resembling normal life resumes, consumers have noticed something: QR codes are back. For many of us, the initial reaction to seeing a QR code on the restaurant table instead of a menu may have been a groan. But (with just a little help from our younger friends and siblings), we’ve realized that the QR codes of 2021 are much easier to handle. We just point our phone cameras at them, and voila!
Now that the technology has caught up to the vision, QR codes are a snap. And, as their potential aligns with critical consumer demands and corporate marketing initiatives, their reemergence is catching on among local and national marketers in a big way. Here’s why:
Promote Health & Safety Through Contact-Free Interactions
As we’ve emerged from the pandemic, we’ve seen plenty of changes — big and small — in the ways we interact with others and go about our daily lives. We’re coming out of quarantine with an eye toward resuming normal life while also finding ways to distance ourselves from potential contagions a little more than we did in the “before times.”
QR codes are a powerful tool in this effort. From contactless menu, ordering, and payment experiences at restaurants to access to on-screen product information to virtual home tours, online forms, and more, these handy little squares are helping us minimize our contact with potential virus vectors now that the masks have (started to) come off.
Keep Us Green by Taking Paper Out of the Equation
A 2020 study by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that 70% of US and Canadian consumers think it’s important for the brands they buy from to be sustainable or eco-friendly. Here again, QR codes can help by minimizing the need for paper in brands’ interactions with customers. For example, a retailer could replace a bulky mailer with a postcard containing a QR code that takes customers directly to the online catalog. Or a bank could replace its stacks of paper forms with QR codes that take customers to secure, private online portals where they can input the required information.
Not only does this strategy support powerful multichannel marketing campaigns, but going paperless — or even “paper light” — with the help of QR codes is a simple way to bring a little more sustainability to your business while also saving significant time and resources on printing and postage costs.
Provide a Local Marketing Solution for National Brands
One of the biggest challenges national and global retail companies face is tailoring marketing campaigns to the different regions they serve (through franchises, retail storefronts, distributors, sales reps, etc.) without diluting or jeopardizing the carefully curated brand visuals and messaging.
Companies looking for local marketing solutions can turn to QR codes as a seamless way to direct customers to local information and opportunities via corporate-approved national marketing materials. By leveraging a local marketing platform full of features – such as dynamically generated QR codes - marketing leaders can ensure that not only their brand stays on point, but enables local marketers to create a local marketing asset with ease, making it easy for customers to find relevant, personalized materials that will encourage them to make a purchase. Grocery store chains could use QR codes to highlight local sales; large real estate firms could use them to drive potential buyers to nearby listings; franchises could add them to flyers promoting new store openings…the possibilities are limitless.
Enhance the Customer Experience through Dynamic Engagement
Finally, QR codes empower marketers to create dynamic and immersive customer experiences. Consumers, on the whole, have become more and more curious about where and how their favorite products are made, and with the pandemic opening us up to more virtual experiences — and QR codes making it easy to share those experiences — marketers have a big opportunity to boost the customer experience through virtual and multimedia interactions that make customers feel more connected than ever to the brands they buy from.
This could be as simple or as novel as marketers want. Let’s use a product on the grocery store shelf as an example. The packaging or display signage could include a QR code that takes customers to a page highlighting nutritional benefits or of recipes featuring that product, or even to a video that introduces them to the human beings — from farmers to processors to truck drivers — responsible for bringing that product to the shelf.
QR codes are back in a big way, and they open the doors to lots of great opportunities for brands to bolster their local and national marketing campaigns. From personal health and safety to a powerful customer experience, QR codes can go a long way in enhancing marketing efforts — and ROI. And, just like they’ve become easier for customers to use in the last decade, they’ve become much simpler for marketers to create and apply to any and all collateral. At OneTouchPoint, in fact, our built-in QR capabilities streamline the process so it’s quick and intuitive for even the busiest local marketer.
This is just one of the countless ways we pride ourselves on making every step in the creation and implementation of digital and print marketing easy and effective for our clients. To learn more about how we can help you deliver a seamless, multichannel brand experience, we invite you to contact us today or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.