How QR code technology is being used to enhance promotion

How QR code technology is being used to enhance promotion

 

Though we are currently experiencing a down economy, there are certain sectors that seem to be doing quite well. Luxury items have not only retained their value throughout this entire economic debacle, they actually seem to be increasing in value. Given this turn of events, it’s not surprising that the marketing strategies used to sell these items might expand as well (especially considering that the holiday season is about to roll past again).

Enter QR code technology…

Through the use of QR Codes, marketers are finding exciting new ways and opportunities to speak directly to consumers. One of the most prominent current methods is mobile purchasing. Basically, through the use of QR codes, intrepid consumers can actually make purchases on the go by simply scanning the QR code on an advertisement or model. Since advertisements can be found nearly anywhere (in magazines, newspapers, street placards, or even online) this means that a “virtual sale” is also possible at any time. It’s quite an ingenious method of “bringing the showroom to the customer” actually and it’s likely that we’ll see businesses employing this tactic more frequently.

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However, simply being present doesn’t always increase sales, does it?  Recently, a new promotional tactic has emerged in tandem with the use of QR codes, let’s call it “mobile discounting”. Simply put, some organizations are offering significant discounts to those who actually use QR codes to make their purchases. Sometimes the discounts are instantly deducted while other times you might have to mail in a rebate.

It’s not just those that buy luxury items that are being targeted by QR code-based advertising campaigns. For example, just the other day I encountered a somewhat unexpected QR code marketing strategy, on the top of a pizza box, no less. After paying the delivery man and taking my pie inside, I glanced at the top of the Papa John’s box suddenly realizing that is was basically a large rendering of the most recent Taylor Swift album’s artwork. In one of the corners however, there was a punctuating QR code on full display. In other words, there’s a great example of how businesses are using QR codes alongside cross-promotional techniques to drive sales and help consumers quickly learn more about a product.

Without a doubt, there are probably some of you out there right now saying “QR codes are a simple marketing gimmick, nothing more”, right? Well, I hate to say that you’re wrong, but it’s actually much more than that. Take a look around you; have you noticed the extreme proliferation of mobile computing devices? Now, thanks to QR code technology, each and every one of those devices is not a sales/purchasing tool. Now, given that there are probably billions of handheld devices out there which are capable of scanning QR codes it’s not hard to see how one could begin to expect more sales, is it? At the same time, the world’s population continues to boom, and setting aside space for both showroom and storage isn’t always possible in terms of logistics. In essence, the use of QR code technology will allow businesses as well as manufacturers to effectively get a greater volume of products into the hands of the average consumer.

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The main hindrance to utilizing this technology (QR code marketing into sales) seems to be public awareness of it. While most people are aware of its existence at this point, not everyone is “clued in” to this situation. Now, given that QR code-based marketing has been fairly successful up to this point while only depending on a portion of the public to drive sales, what’s going to happen when everyone (and their grandmother) begins to use it to do their shopping? For instance, there are already some grocery stores in big cities like NYC which post lighted “shopping boards” around town (on the street, in subways, bus stops/stations, etc…). These boards allow customers to do their shopping by scanning the corresponding QR codes next to the products they want to purchase; then, they can have their goods delivered at a time of their choosing (or perhaps pick them up).

We’ve only scratched the surface of what can be done in the realm of marketing with QR codes. Without a doubt, we will continue to see new marketing strategies emerge which will make great use of this convenient technology. The 2012 holiday season is serving as a bit of a test for QR code-based marketing actually, once we’re into 2013 (and after the proverbial “smoke has cleared”) we’ll be able to break down the data and figure out what effect it actually had on sales.

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