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QR Codes: Are they here to stay?

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Living in today’s world, QR codes have become an essential part of society with the majority of people now knowing what a QR code is and how it works. Even with the slow scrapping of QR codes for ‘mandatory check-ins’ around the country, businesses can still use them in different ways which will help improve customer experiences. The question to be asked is, even with the removal of mandatory QR codes, how can implementing them still benefit your small business? We break it down below.

What is a QR Code?

QR codes, which stands for Quick Response Code, have previously been used as a marketing tool whereby anyone with an app reader or camera on a smartphone could scan the image and bring up an article, desired message or link to a website. This makes them great for brands to use from an information sharing perspective and helps them promote anything direct to the consumer with just a wave of a smartphone. However, they didn’t really take off as a marketing tool at first. Fast forward to now and as we know, since 2020, QR codes have been essential for business owners to operate and serve their customers during Covid-19. In fact, data shows the use of QR codes increased from 35% in September 2020 to 83% in April 2021.

Additionally, because of COVID-19, customers also expect businesses to provide contactless interactions with QR codes being the perfect way to do this. They are simple to use, convenient for the business and the consumer and some businesses are already using them to collect customer details. 

How you use QR codes for your business will depend on your industry but here are four easy ways to utilise them:

1. Keeping your customers safe

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, safety is now constantly front of mind for business owners. In order to reduce physical touch points and keep stores safer for staff and customers, many retail businesses turned to contactless payment options and food venues such as restaurants turned to QR codes for a convenient way to display digital menus (also reducing waste from physical menu usage) and improved ordering processes.

QR codes can be linked to your digital wallet, making eftpos payments safer. They also enhance the customer experience with digital receipts, and your customers are enjoying the same seamless experience using a QR code as a tap and go transaction. These easy to use options can continue to be utilised even though we are returning to ‘normal’ post-pandemic. 

2. Marketing campaigns & advertising

One of the greatest advantages of small businesses using QR codes is that they can be put everywhere or on anything. For example, businesses might put one on packaging so customers can ‘learn more’, or a business could put one in store so customers sign up to a loyalty program or even direct customers to give a ‘review’ via their Google my Business or Facebook pages. The possibilities are endless. 

Using them creatively for marketing campaigns or advertising on multiple mediums give your business options to connect with customers. Even if you do a direct mail campaign, putting a QR code on a flyer will encourage communication with consumers to be taken online post initial interaction. 

QR codes also offer a reliable way to assess whether consumers are interacting with these marketing materials and how. As consumers scan QR codes, they are taken to a URL where tracking can be placed on the landing page to collect data such as how many users visit that unique page and the actions they take once on the page. This will give you an insight as to what is resonating with your audience.

3. Enhancing the customer experience

QR codes can be used for discounts where consumers scan a code, and a discount is revealed to them. With this discount being only redeemable in store, consumers will be more tempted to buy right then instead of looking online for cheaper options.

By printing the QR code on marketing materials, products, displaying them in store or even integrating them in a TV ad, brands can save on printing costs and elevate the consumer experience by ensuring convenience. Rather than typing out long URLs, customers can simply scan the code and complete the actions – remember time is precious!

Consumers can also scan QR codes and be taken to a quick online survey that can help tailor preferences and personalise their shopping experience giving them further shopper confidence and empowerment to make purchases.

4. Growing your business following

For small businesses looking to boost their online following on social media or increase traffic to their website, QR codes help to ensure consumers are taken directly to your brand’s platform or page. 

Also, by placing QR codes at key touch points in your store, you can sign customers up to your email list and collect their preferences all in one go, ultimately building your ability to further target them with marketing campaigns.

It’s no surprise that many consumers would be willing to spend more with a business that provides them with a great experience, and a huge part of that experience is convenience. With QR codes having so many uses, small businesses should consider the benefits of using them to engage with their brand in a post-pandemic world and continue to offer a convenient customer journey. Think beyond just adding a link to your website on any marketing material and consider how you can create a unique experience that ensures repeat customers.

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