What you can do with QR tags
The big deal, as it applies to your business, is that these tags can be scanned and “read” by any smartphone which has a camera and a tag reader installed. Once read, the phone can automatically act on the data embedded in the tag.
For instance, you could set up a special page on your web site. You could even make it “hidden” from search engines. Then embed the URL in a QR tag. When a user scans the tag, their phone’s browser will automatically go to this special page. There, you can do anything you would do on any other web page: play an audio or video file giving special tips about your product, allow the user to view or download a manual for the product, present a coupon, ask the user to sign up for a contest or newsletter, schedule an appointment, register their product…. There is really no limit.
Best of all, you can change what appears on the web page any time and as often as you like. As long as the URL stays the same, the existing tags will still work. And you can have an unlimited number of unique URLs for all different tags; one for each product, for each new marketing campaign, by region or customer segment… whatever suits your business needs.
A business card they won’t forget
Another, completely different, use for QR tags is to use one as a scannable business card. (The tag on this page is mine. It contains my real contact information. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in hiring me to help market your business.) Encode all your contact information into one. When a user scans it, their phone will automatically add all your contact information to their address book. No tedious typing or misspelling. To be truly attention grabbing, add one to your name tag when you go to meetings or conventions. (There are lots of free QR tag generators available online.)
The technology for QR tags was originally developed by the automotive industry as a means of inventory control. They would attach tags to cars on the assembly line to track them as they progressed through the manufacturing process. A less marketing oriented but no less useful application would be to do something similar with your own products by attaching an encoded serial number. (You could also put the model number, date of manufacture and other such information.)
Have a highly customizable product? Here’s a truly interesting idea: Let’s use a coffee shop as an example. A customer comes in and orders an African blend with a shot of orange syrup, soy milk and a dash of cloves. You create a tag on the spot describing the exact ingredients for that particular cup of coffee. Give it to the customer or attach it to the cup. If the customer wants to come back and order another just like it at a later time (or recommend it to a friend) all she has to do is scan the tag.
Have consumables that need to be replaced? Let’s say you sell and service copiers and printers. Attach QR tags to every device. When a user scans the tag on their device, they are taken to a web site where they can easily order new toner, parts or schedule a service call for that exact model device. No wading through lots of menu options or trying to remember details about the printer that is down the hall, the tag contains all the data and feeds it right into your online ordering system. Making it so easy and convenient for customers means they’ll never shop with another vendor again.
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