Connect the Physical to the Digital
The most common (use of QR codes) is to connect a physical product, service or business to its digital counterpart. Until the emergence of QR codes, the only way to do this was with a prompt to ask users to visit a website. This can be done on signs in the store, on advertisement materials such as posters and flyers or even on receipts. The phrases “Visit our Website!” or “Check us out online!” are often printed anywhere that a customer is likely to lay their eyes on. The problem with these prompts is that users can't act on this request until they are out of the store and in front of a computer – at which point they have often forgotten all about checking out their favorite store online. (QR marketing) can help solve this problem by giving smart-phone wielding customers a way to impulsively act on requests to “visit a website” or even “like us online” by nothing more than scanning a code.
When looking to market yourself or your business, being accessible is crucial. Often this is done through business cards, but business cards can often be misplaced, especially when heavy networking is involved. (Use of QR codes) are a great way to amp up your accessibility. When creating a QR code, most generators have the ability to let you add a “VCard”, an electronic business card. This holds any possible contact information one would need such as name, address, phone number, e-mail and website. Most QR code readers can decode this embedded card and let the user store this information to contacts.
One of the great charms of (QR marketing) is how content can be added where it couldn't be added before. Since so many characters can be embedded in such a small code, they can be placed anywhere to add more detail about a product. Some examples include:
Add a barcode underneath art pieces or museum exhibits with a more in depth story or information about the creator.
Add videos, links and more into a QR code placed as a background image or profile pictures on a social media website.
Place them on books and magazines to find more information about an article, sources, more books by that author, and more.
Give nutritional information, recipes or ingredients to menu items in restaurants or grocery store products.
Let users see more information and even history of a car your looking to sell. Similarly, let users get more information about a real estate property before needing to place a call.
Run a Contest or Promotion
Get your customers interested in QR codes by using them in a contest or promotion. QR codes can contain a link to a special contest entry page that can only be accessed through scanning it. A common implementation of this is through scavenger hunts. Start users with one QR code that contains a hint to where to find the next one. Keep them scanning QR codes for hints to the following ones, offering a prize at the end. Don't want to limit your contest to those only with a smart phone? Instead, use (QR marketing) as a complement to your promotion, or use it to give users easy access to contest rules or current standings.
QR codes let a large amount of content be stored in a very small space, which means they have a lot of potential for the “go green” initiative! Items like product manuals can use a lot of paper. Instead, give users the option of getting the manual digitally by scanning a QR code. For products that require assembly instructions, place a QR code that gives users a digital version of the manual instead. To go the extra mile, put this QR code on the outside of the package so that customers can see how difficult it is to install, and even what they'll need to do so, before even buying the product.
Many other items can use QR codes in a similar manner. Huge amounts of paper are wasted by printing coupons to get distributed. Likewise, coupon printing websites have users printing pages upon pages of coupons. Instead, offer your coupon digitally by embedding it in a QR code. Accepting and scanning digital, smart-phone versions of coupons is becoming a more common practice in stores, although not enough that physical, printed coupons can be eliminated. For now, using these digital coupons is a great way to show your involvement in the eco-friendly initiative.
Many travel businesses and events are jumping on the “green” bandwagon by using QR codes. Putting QR codes on event passes can provide more information, such as the person's name, identification photo or if they have any special event benefits. Likewise, ticketing for events and travel can be provided inside a QR code and scanned digitally, or even offered as a personally created QR code that will be scanned for entry. This eliminates the need for printing tickets and saves on paper, while making travel and event access easier for the customer.
Make Navigating Easy
Even locations can be stored inside QR codes. Embedding latitude and longitude coordinates inside of a QR code will launch the users' default mapping program to show a location and retrieve directions. Use this inside of invitations to give users a scannable set of directions to where your event will be hosted. This (use of QR codes) can also be found in public transportation terminals to show bus stops, information about an area or route maps. For the outdoor enthusiasts equipped with smart phones, QR codes can be placed on hiking and biking trails to show trail information, mileage markers and more.