Over the last few years, QR (quick response) codes have made a strong comeback in online and offline marketing channels. We’ve seen them used for restaurant menus, retail signage, contactless payments, and more. These 2D codes are a fast, easy, and touch-free way to drive your audience to specific online content through their smartphone. A seemingly antiquated technology has been repurposed for a world where touch is limited.
QR codes were invented in 1994 by a Japanese company to improve the manufacturing process of vehicles and parts. Since then, marketers worldwide have found new ways to embed this technology in traditional and digital platforms. Industry giants like Taco Bell, IKEA, Amazon, and Nike have all used QR codes to curate experiential shopping experiences for their customers. The travel industry has implemented QR codes to speed up the check-in process. Most notably is the widespread use of QR codes for contactless payments. A PYMNTS/AmEx study conducted in 2020 found that about one-third of shoppers now say that contactless payment options are their go-to method for making purchases.
Consumers trust these universal codes to help speed up their daily interactions, but this wasn’t always the case. Up until recently, people had to download an app to scan a QR code. The actual scanning process was inefficient due to slow internet speeds, and when people finally made it to the business’s website, there was a high likelihood the site wasn’t optimized for mobile. Now, both Apple and Android operating systems support QR code scanning in the base camera apps so nearly everyone with a phone can instantly access content on the go. Not only are QR codes more easily accessible, but they are also used in multiple counties across the globe. Most people, regardless of their native language, understand how to scan and use QR codes.
In the world of direct mail marketing, QR codes bridge the gap between physical mail and an interactive digital experience. They are a cost-effective way to customize and enhance your direct mail piece and the user experience. You can point your audience to a custom landing page, coupon, or map. On the back end, you can track user data – time and date of scan as well as analyze the efficiency of the marketing campaign by looking at engagement, scan rates, and sales. QR codes can guide your audience from the print piece to your mobile site and speed up the decision-making process. This interactive experience will be memorable to users and help build a positive brand image. Consumers are more receptive to QR codes now more than ever before.
By: Candice Sampson