QR codes are a relatively old technology but one which has really started gaining momentum in recent month, according the Search Engine Watch. So, with more and more social marketers taking an interest in QR codes, how can we make use of them?
The key has got to be in adding value for the target audience. QR codes shouldn’t be there ‘because they’re cool’, nor should they appear to help you ‘look innovative’. I believe the true innovation will come from the utilisation of QR codes to enhance reality and create a better user experience both online and off.
Consider what a QR code actually is and what it does. What it is, is a really quick and easy way to reach a URL destination or other piece of online content. What it does, is to make engagement easier by saving people the time and effort of writing down a URL or typing it into their mobile device.
Next, consider whether or not your end user would actually benefit from QR codes. No point using a QR code if the majority of your audience doesn’t use a mobile phone, right? And if it would benefit them, where and how would it do that?
My prediction is that QR codes will become really important for retailers selling physical products to consumers by including them on barcodes and labelling. So, let’s say I find a pair of shoes I love but they don’t have them in my size; imagine if I could scan a QR code to find out when they will be in stock and also to browse other colours or suggested alternatives – my offline experience has been enhanced by online!
Social validation will also continue to grow in importance, so imagine I’ve gone into a mobile phone shop and I’m thinking of getting myself the new Samsung Galaxy. I hear everything I need to from the salesman, he gives me all the specifications and pricing and even lets me have a go. If I’m sensible, I’ll go home and find out more about the phone and read all the tech reviews. But why wait? A QR code on the phone could lead me to a tech review plus some real, personal reviews from other people who actually own the phone. It could even tell me where I can get the phone at the best price.
There are a whole array of other potential uses for QR codes but essentially it really needs to focus on adding value for the end user.