QR Codes. The future of product/service selling?
The future of your online and offline marketing and selling, the QR code is back!
In early 2011 everyone got excited about QR Codes and all the possible uses for these little images that could be scanned by phones. A few years later these QR (Quick Response) codes seemed to have disappeared.
The history of the QR code dates back to 1994. A subsidiary of Toyota created the code to keep track of vehicles and parts in the manufacturing process.
Mainstream QR codes started being used as a marketing tool by businesses. These would send people to a page on a website where all the information regarding a product/service would be available.
A major problem was the need to download a QR scanning app for these rare images. It could be argued that at the time these QR codes came into use before the world was ready. These were a few factors that hindered their progress –
- Not many apps with QR codes were available to be used by smart devices for day-to-day tasks. Users mainly went on their phones daily for social media or play games. Now there is almost an app for every single possible product or service available. Most people now have at least one or two social media platforms on their phones which they use regularly.
- People had not fully embraced using their phones for all their online activities. Most people still used their desktops/laptops or similar devices for all their online presence. Users were content to write down the url or business name and search for it at home or work at their convenience.As mobile technology has continued to advance and smartphones have become more accessible to the average user, the use of these codes by businesses has never been more easy than it is now. It should also be noted that mobile surpassed desktop as the device of choice used to access the internet in 2015.Therefore these QR codes were in effect too far ahead of their time and therefore not readily acceptable by the masses.
- Marketers didn’t understand the power of the QR codes and how to educate businesses and customers on how to extract the most out of the codes.
QR codes are a great way of keeping people within your app and some of the social media platforms are beginning to incorporate QR codes for users and businesses. WeChat and Line which have over 1.1 billion users combined, brought in the QR codes to enable their users to follow each other and more importantly to follow businesses.
Each user has the ability to pay for products and services within these platforms with a simple click of a button through the use of these QR codes. Users on WeChat and Line can even buy their groceries, pay for taxi (cab) rides, check their bank accounts and pay for products or services. This ability to transact with business through messaging platforms has now given rise to the term, ‘Social Commerce’.
How this is relevant in 2018 for those who don’t use either platform is that Facebook has also introduced this functionality within the messenger app. The use of Chat Bots within messenger allows users to have FAQs answered in real time as they pay for the product or service.
Simple FAQs for products like shoes would be colors available, wide or narrow fit, estimated delivery dates, return policies etc. This Chat Bot integration makes it easier for businesses to service their clients and not have to employ more personnel to manage what is essentially a 24/7 service.
WeChat business QR Codes
To make it easier to order a product/service or follow a business, a QR code will need to be set up by the business to identify themselves and what they bring to the market.
Facebook Messenger Code
Messenger has added the QR codes to user accounts and to business pages that have Messenger accounts. As a user, you merely go to your messenger account and take a picture of the code using the app to add the business, product or user via their unique QR code.
Other Social QR Codes
Snapchat has ‘Snapcodes’ and Pinterest released ‘Pincode’ in November 2017 which is a fancy way for saying QR code.
The user profile has a yellow background with dots that when scanned by the Snapchat app can ask the user if they wish to follow the profile that has just been scanned. Facebook currently has the lions share of social media platform users with over 2 billion users. It would make sense that they would follow all the other platforms to monetize their messaging platforms for businesses to use.
It is true they may no longer be known as QR codes across the entire marketing landscape. But make no mistake about it, QR codes are back and they are here to stay. For any business that loves their clients, understands that their clients may need 24 hour access to products and ease of access to information, a QR code cannot be undervalued.
With the rise of ChatBot technology making 24/7 contact available to your client base. It makes more sense now to invest in utilizing the QR code to promote, educate and sell your services or products.
We deploy ChatBots that allow for a variety of purposes from quizzes, contests, promotions and sales for our clients. By doing this for clients we have found the QR code has been a great addition to help automate their processes.
#qrcodes #mobileapps #socialmediamarketing #marketing #businessstrategy
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