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Posts Tagged ‘QR Codes’

How to make QR codes work for your business

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012

QR (Quick Response) codes are the becoming a popular marketing tool for B2C and even B2B brands. The early adopters of this technology included the USA and Japan but the UK is now among the world’s top 10 largest users of QR codes.

When scanned with a smartphone, these patterns can be used to redirect customers to a mobile-optimised website with virtually any kind of content. This means that they are a great way of providing the facility for instant information retrieval without the need for typing. Not surprisingly, many companies are now picking up on their potential in terms of promotional materials – including using them on paper bags, plastic bags and cotton bags.

For QR codes to be an effective marketing tool, however, companies need to think carefully about the experience that is offered to the user:

1. Inform the audience

Most smartphones don’t have a native QR reader installed, so you need to tell your customers that they can download an app that will allow them to read QR codes – many of which are free. Include details of these apps in your QR marketing campaigns.

2. Make it work!

There is no point putting a QR code in an in-flight magazine advert or on a poster in the underground network, where there is no WIFI or even a ‘phone signal! Also, don’t simply connect users to your website or company Facebook page – that’s just boring. Think about creating mobile sites, small downloads and content that can be accessed anywhere. Plan your QR content carefully; there has to be some incentive for users to scan – such as exclusive content, key product information or automatic data sharing. Remember, once a relationship is established, it is easy to add additional content such as discounts and special offers to build customer loyalty.

3. Keep aware

Set up your QR code marketing so that you can monitor it and change it easily throughout the campaign. Analysis software is available to allow businesses to see exactly when their QR codes were scanned, which were most successful and which media tools had the best return on investment.

QR codes: getting it right

Friday, October 21st, 2011

QR codes are getting some bad press but many argue that it is not deserved. The problems in QR code campaigns originate mainly from poor implementation and a lack of joined-up thinking. If your QR codes do not work, your reputation and brand are tarnished, rather like when a web visitor discovers broken links. The key point to remember is that a QR code is something of a tease and, as such, those enticed to expend the effort of scanning it expect to be interested, delighted or rewarded in some way. With this expectation in place, it is easy to disappoint.

A common problem is that marketers are simply not testing the code with a variety of readers and devices before a campaign goes live. More haste, less speed. If the QR code is too small on an ad, for example, it may not scan. Other key pieces of advice when it comes to design are to use link shorteners to create clean codes, avoid using colours that do not provide sufficient contrast, provide a sufficient ‘quiet area’ around the code and avoid using 2D codes on highly reflective surfaces.

Don’t expect your user to do anything more than point, scan and arrive at the intended content. If it doesn’t work first time, you’ve probably lost them. Remember, almost all QR codes – including those printed on carrier bags – are scanned by smartphones, so don’t point the user to your standard desktop website – link your codes only to mobile-friendly or mobile-optimised sites.

When it comes to the ‘reward’ part of the deal, try to be creative. A digital copy of your leaflet is just plain dull. Think about offering exclusive videos or photos, free downloads (such as an eBook), ‘instant win’ competitions or money-off coupons. To be truly successful here, it is essential that you understand your target audience in order to deliver a favourable user experience.

Finally, don’t allow your creative zeal to cloud your marketing objectives. You can use your QR code campaign for a variety of business development goals, such as increasing your e-marketing database, growing the number of Likes for your Facebook page or increasing your number of blog subscribers.