Quick-Response Codes, better known as QR codes — the mobile-friendly scannable barcode labels — are having more than a moment. As adoption becomes ubiquitous, marketers and small business owners are discovering that QR codes aren’t limited solely to delivering information, but also act as a fast and easy opt in for users, allowing for a frictionless invitation into rich digital experiences.
Clumsy and haphazard in their early days, smartphone updates have since made it more seamless to integrate QR code usage, while COVID-19 rearranged the board and made it necessary for retailers to minimize points of contact and adopt more digital tools.
Both QR codes and text messaging fit the bill and have been exploding in popularity since. Text messaging and QR codes work perfectly together as an inexpensive and effective way of managing needs as diverse as supplying contactless menus at restaurants, streamlining temperature and symptom checks at workplaces, and easily opting customers into loyalty programs. Meanwhile, some are wondering if QR codes are the future of mobile payments in the U.S., as they already are across Asia and Australia.
Here, how QR codes have evolved, what to expect in the future, and how to incorporate them into your text marketing strategy.
In the Eastern Hemisphere, QR Codes Are Already an Everyday Essential
In Singapore, over 70% of consumers have a mobile wallet and mobile wallet payments have become mainstream among small and medium-sized businesses, according to GlobalData. To streamline payments, Singapore has adapted a unified QR code called Singapore Quick Response Code, which eliminates the need for businesses to have multiple QR codes for payment providers — one code is all that’s needed to direct payments.
Australia is also rolling out a national payment system, with the expectation the program will finish implementation mid-2022. As per Gizmodo, the system “will also link loyalty programs to a transaction if a user has an account” and can offer discounts, coupons, and voucher offers.
Say Goodbye to Cookies & Hello to QR Codes (& Text)
As the use of mobile wallets and mobile payments continues to grow in this country, Google and Apple’s coming elimination of third-party cookies is set to prove the combination of SMS and QR codes all over again.
Both Google and Apple have announced plans to do away with third-party cookies. And since third-party cookies are critical to much of the digital advertising ecosystem, marketers are scrambling to figure out how to create valuable channels to connect directly with leads and customers.
Enter text and QR codes, which together offer a convenient way to launch, build, and manage loyalty programs that will allow you the kind of direct, one-to-one customer access every business craves.
QR Codes Can Inspire & Delight
Beyond acknowledging customer loyalty and rewarding customers for completing surveys, sharing information, or otherwise engaging with your brand, QR codes also allow for creative marketing opportunities.
Last fall Reebok put QR codes inside their shoes to take wearers to a unique Spotify playlist based on the design of the shoe. Meanwhile, Carlsberg, the multinational Danish brewer, integrated QR codes throughout its marketing material, using them to share brand updates, allow customers to accumulate points, or to score invites to events. And as Forbes recently noted, “One of the greatest advantages of small businesses using QR codes is that they can be put on pretty much anything.”
These are just two examples of the myriad ways both large and small businesses are taking advantage of the simplicity and engagement of QR codes.
Make the Most of Your Mobile Strategy by Adopting Text Marketing & QR Codes
QR codes are highly adaptable and can be put to work in a surprising number of ways. You can update the text messages and links automatically sent after users scan your QR codes, which can be helpful in managing expiration dates, terms and conditions, and information that will continually be updated, such as a speaker list or meeting link. Here are a few of the ways businesses large and small are finding success and growing their businesses with QR codes.
- Power Loyalty Programs — QR codes are a powerful and painless opt-in tool. One camera click and an automated message welcomes your customers to exclusives, savings, and rewards.
- Make Printed Materials Interactive — A QR code is an enticing call to action, so add them to catalogs, takeaway fliers, notepads, and calendars to drive activity.
- Generate Event Invitations — Use QR codes to create instant event invitations, which can be saved and managed on the recipient’s mobile device.
- Append to Receipts — A QR code printed on receipts can allow for painless returns and exchanges, as well as powering brand building by driving customers to review sites.
- Add to Advertising — If your business advertises, whether its a poster or a digital kiosk, you’ll want to include a QR code to drive people to take further action.
- Activate Customer Education — Include QR codes in instruction manuals or other educational material to drive people to a deeper customer education experience.
- Get Creative — Vouchers, “Easter eggs” in the form of surprise discounts or creative material, or rich digital experiences such as curated playlists or interactive microsites are all ways to create buzz and interest in your brand, add value to your users, and drive further engagement.