E-commerce Tip: QR Codes

This is the QR Code for Internet-Farmer.com. You’ve seen them on ads, posters, shop windows, and on menus. If you haven’t before, point and shoot with your phone and you should end up at my homepage.

As we get in to this, this may not be the right tool for everyone, but it’s kinda the biggest thing in web business since stone tools. And that’s my opinion you can’t refute it! 🙂

As of this writing, these have been around for a good decade or more, but they seem more relevant now that people mostly have smart phones.

You you can create one of these codes and link it to whatever you wish. A sale, a download, call customer service, place an order, anything. A direct link. There are free tools like this one, or you may get them from your web software directly.

To demystify, inspire, and forewarn, let’s dive in to some basic understanding and what you should be doing with them…

What is a QR Code?

It’s the link from the physical world to your online world.

A QR code is a computer generated code that can be read by smart phones image scanning, and when you point and shoot with your phone camera, you go to a website, and app, a menu, a form for a raffle or survey, whatever was programmed for the QR Code.

Once you create the code, you can change what happens in the background when someone scans it.

Part of what got me excited was a local farm has a self-serve vegetable stand using QR Codes. They had signs out with costs, and a QR Code for to pay them on Venmo. You add up the bill and make a payment. It goes right in to the farmer’s bank, and it’s easy to get my produce. Same as the cashbox system with a virtual cashbox.

And if I go full on E-commerce with that same idea, you could make a full self-checkout farm stand. Create a QR Code for each product in the store and basically have people check themselves out by using your online shopping cart as your register.

Whatever the idea, it’s now point and click to point anywhere you choose in the digital world from anywhere in the physical world.

To get going using QR Codes…

  1. Determine where you want to send people (product page, your website, a survey, a sweepstakes, an email signup list, etc)
  2. Make a QR Code for said thing
  3. Promote the code on your business card, a flyer, a sign, an advertisement, in your shop
  4. Continue exploring the possibilities if it makes sense for you

What do I use a QR Code for? How does it fit in my marketing, sales & operations?

  • Put it on business cards, posters, brochures, billboards or signs.
  • Put it on all the marketing kitch… mugs, t-shirts, stickers. Probably not on pens.
  • Put on tables at restaurants that connect to the back kitchen ticket printer, or maybe daily menus and specials.
  • Put QR codes in manuals or at service desks for customers to get to customer service.
  • GM put QR codes on some parts, for service technicians and customers to get the info they need ASAP.
  • Airlines are using them on tickets to help the boarding process.
  • Easier Donations when you are raising money.
  • On products to download instructions or view video instruction.
  • Automate a retail market checkout to ease lines and make people happier.
  • On a real estate sign that automatically calls you when they scan.
  • Games – what if people scanned codes they find to solve a mystery
  • I read Snoop Dog launched a wine that had a code to talk to Snoop directly. It launched something virtual, but cool and fun idea to sit with.

I suggest taking 5 minutes with pen and paper and see what you come up with.

What are the dangers, if any?

Yes, QR Codes make everything easier to rope people in to what you are doing or selling.

Unfortunately, just like email scams people, QR Code scams happen too.

And because they are so amazing and simple to use in marketing, QR Codes in the wrong hands are one step closer to getting you to give up your bank password, or download malware, or whatever THEY are up to as a bad actor.

Generally, my advice is to watch for odd things before scanning a code. The moment you realize a poster you are about to scan had a new QR Code taped on top of the original. The moment an app opens you didn’t expect. Anything. Stop.

That sounds super sketchy and scary, but it’s true. I think like most marketing or anything, it comes down to trust. So if you use this technology, realize the situation your customers are in.

If you’d like to talk more about QR Codes, or just share what you might do with them, Contact Me Today.