A New Year Technological Challenge!
Online, local businesses are the back bone of the country but, stand still in the online world and you risk being left behind.
As a forward thinking business, you need to be constantly looking and assessing which of the latest technological innovations are right for you and your business.
We talked recently about creating to a live strategy for your website; design and launch are just two of the factors in creating a successful, online presence. Your website, as you recall, is a living breathing thing that must be nurtured in order to carry on expanding and thriving so that your business can too.
And one way of doing this is to link your offline and online presence. But, sometimes we need a handy tool to be able to do this.
QR codes are not necessarily that new anymore, BUT if you haven’t taken a serious look at them and what they could offer your business, then now is the time.
We have talked in numerous previous posts about immediacy and the need consumers have about gaining instant access or gratification for whatever they are searching for. QR codes are a way of satisfying this immediacy.
Like a barcode… but different
Barcodes are everywhere, from the packet of biscuits we have bought to accompany our morning coffee here at the Locally office to the pods we use in a well-known coffee machine. Essentially, both barcodes and QR codes are the same thing, but the difference between the two is the amount of information that they can hold; barcodes are linear, can hold up to 20 numerical digits but QR codes are two dimensional and can hold thousands of pieces of information.
And QR codes can also be linked to your website, as well as a whole host of other digital connections. All your consumer needs is a QR code reading program on their mobile – android and iPhones – all of which are available free through various app stores.
And they came from where…?
Developed in Japan over 10 years ago, the original creators, a subsidiary of Toyota, have not exercised their right to being the only company to use the patented technology, encouraging its use across the world.
As a result, there is a huge range of example of QR codes being used by businesses, community groups, schools, colleges and anyone else you can think of!
QR code is a quick response code and, once read by a smart phone, will install take your customer where they want to be; you can ‘load’ the code with whatever you want from accessing 25% off their order or free delivery or… the examples are almost infinite so let us group the type of applications you can use them for…
- Sharing – there is no limit to how much you can share with these QR codes. For example, if you have an instruction manual for how your product works, convert it into a PDF and give it a QR code; this way, customers can always access or download their own copy. It saves paper and makes navigating to the section or pages they want, much easier too.
- Community – customers are social beings and we all like to feel connected to a product or business. Again, we have talked about responding to enquiries through social media platforms etc. QR codes can enhance this liking and sharing feature that businesses and customers love; link a QR code to your Facebook page or to a noticeboard/comment area on your website.
- Calls to action – essential in any marketing strategy, but also something that can be used throughout your community. Once you have connected with people, why not offer them special offers to reward their interaction, feedback and loyalty. Again, QR codes can carry this type of information.
From rhetoric to practical applications
However, QR codes sound all well and dandy but, what are the practical applications for your business?
We have talked about linking your offline and online marketing strategies in a recent post and this is a perfect idea of bridging the gap between the two:
|Maximise impact of QR codes|
Are they here to stay?
They have been around some time and are a tried and tested technology. However, many smaller businesses associate them with larger, multinational companies and think that the technology is out of their league – never have you been so wrong!
And so, your technological challenge for New Year 2015 is to tell us how you would use QR codes for your business!