QR code (quick response code) certainly lives up to its name for its features. QR code was first a marketing inception from Japan, and this idea was directly derived from barcode scanning. Originally built for optimization of logistics in automobile industry back in 1994, but now QR code has become every user’s digital wallet, and has taken a giant leap to become a quick data-tracking instrument for smart phone users to get versatile, convenient and easy. QR code has become universally mainstreamed and making its name in mobile marketing in these recent years. With the upcoming shift in QR code marketing, people start to bid farewell to jolting down or copy-pasting call-to-action information from websites, or typing and voice search to gain access to search results. Instead, one tap-to-scan will straightaway land users into the website itself with all the information contained. Especially for customers who are in a hurry to purchase items, the QR code will help them load immediate information requests, unlike keyword searches that needs time to send keyword requests on internet.
Not only so, it can also be used for call-to-action (CTA), whereby after customers scan the code, they can receive calls and emails from the merchants itself, make payments with customers’ credit balances, scan business card QR code, or even getting a discount and coupons and also winning rewards after the scan. Not just that, if customers are running short of paper money or coins, they can easily use QR codes to pay the remaining sum or even paying the whole sum of it using QR pay methods. In China, citizens there have completely shifted their payment methods to QR paying procedures.
Due to the rise of QR codes in China and the QR pay culture there, sources reported that even tourists have to learn how to go cashless in China, as some stores already started to abandon the cash payment facilities. Even for attendees to gain entrance into any events or conferences in the ballroom is through the use of QR code scan to be eligible to enter the ballroom. This marketing strategy influence has also hit Malaysia whereby WeChat Pay, Quick Pay, Samsung Pay, Alipay, Boost, TNG and Grab Pay also initiated e-wallet pay methods other than the default cash pay.
These are the functions of the QR codes commonly known to society, but there is another hidden power in QR code for digital marketers, which is that QR code can enhance the search engine optimization (SEO) and also the social media optimization (SMO) as well! Surely this is a brilliant way to promote a business! The only reason why QR code is still a wavering factor for many outlets as the primary access medium is their culture shock in QR code features.
With the existence of QR codes, marketers can consider to generate QR codes to access a content website or SNS rather than the rhythmic and monotonous method of asking customers to go their store websites and start liking or sharing the page to friends, which will cause the customers to dismiss the requests in disinterest, or forget to perform these actions, as it will be such a fuss to them to go through so many steps just to do something. Rather, by the use of QR code, people will be more interested to perform these actions on the spot, as QR code has the ability to generate instantaneous information, thus the leads will be generated even faster by measure of QR code scans translated from the number of clicks on the websites access, as it is easier for people nowadays to scan than to click, because of the measurable feats of QR codes.
From here, the business operators can use the data to track customers’ contact information, then through this, marketers can use their contact information to send company material updates, thus strengthening the rapport and building customer loyalty. Also, from there, marketers can monitor the potential purchasers and identify target market in terms of psychographic and behavioral needs, due to its ability to trace web analytics for mobile marketing campaign measurement purposes.
In addition, it also improves the in-store experience, such as the Swedish furniture provider Ikea also adapted the QR pay tools as part of customer service. As Ikea stores’ item-purchasing process always involves taking heavy loaded items, so what Ikea did was to print QR codes on the price tags so that customers can just scan and use the scanned information to make payments at the counters. Moreover, when the cashiers load the information generated from the QR codes, the record of the item purchases will be embedded into their system as the billing procedures for both customers’ and cashiers’ reference.
Moreover, QR codes have higher visibility and customers’ frequency of reach. Some companies also enlarge the QR codes on billboard, at bus and train stations so that random passers-by can easily notice the QR codes and ease the information-seeking process for pedestrians by foot or in car. For the drivers, all they need is to wind down the car windows and do the QR code scanning while waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Not only so, when users are browsing internet, they can even straight off scan the QR code displayed on the search results especially at the image search on Google.
Besides, it is also advocates environmentally friendly practices, as QR codes is only limited to accessing information on mobile devices, so making QR codes a solution to be paper-free from collateral printing and reducing waste, and of course for fun fact, when less paper is produced, the lesser trees needed to be cut, thus reducing global warming. So when less paper is needed, it is cost effective where it saves printing money.
Moreover, to generate QR code is free of charge, as QR code generators such as Shopcodes app from Shopify can be downloaded from Google Play and the app can be used for free to create any QR code patterns as wished and to track QR metrics of customers’ access attempts. Even with this, a business operator can showcase its creativity and innovation by impressive QR patterns, such as Instagram and Angry Birds mobile app. Then also, there is a site called Custom QR Codes which can design more stylish codes.