How QR Codes Can Be Applied By Suppliers and Retailers

On my last blog, I introduced QR codes and why all suppliers and retailers should take note of this new technology. Today, I want to give examples of how QR codes can be implemented and become an important part of an effective marketing strategy.

As QR codes become more prevalent, we are beginning to see innovative uses beyond print advertising and the like. We’re seeing them pop up on business cards, t-shirts, tattoos and even accessories such as belt buckles and cufflinks. So, first, I’d advise everyone to “think outside the box” per creative ways to use these codes and catch attention.

The next big subject to remember is that the most effective strategies don’t include using QR codes simply to send people to your basic Web site. First, most Web sites are not adaptable or effective for mobile viewing. Yes, one can use a QR code for such, but there are so many types of mobile applications out there, that your Web site is unlikely to translate well and will be viewed poorly on most smartphones. In the least, you will need to work with a company that understands this and has the expertise to help you design a mobile landing page, as well as tools to allow the landing page to interpret the type of phone being used. Thus, immediately converting your landing site to the best viewing application for any smartphone out on the market. Lastly, just as in creating a Facebook or other social application, don’t jump in the waters and put out a QR code just to “keep up with the Joneses.” For the above reason, as well as because mobile users tend to have a short attention and use span, your QR code needs to be simple, effective and meaningful, or they won’t return.

So, how can QR codes be applied by both suppliers and retailers in the natural foods industry? Allow me to get your creativity flowing…

They can be used on:
– Business cards
– Brochures and marketing materials
– Print advertising, billboards, exterior signs
– Your trucks or private vehicles used for business
– Product tags, packaging and shipper headers
– Menus, shopping bags and receipts
– Point-of-sale marketing materials, shelf talkers and signs

They can be used to:
– Give instructions for use of a product or service
– Educate, inform, give notices, give your address/contact information
– Offer coupons, loyalty transactions and promotions
– Track shipments
– Make available store locators and reviews
– Communicate through email, facebook and social applications
– Introduce new products
– Highlight company news, PR and press relations
– For employment opportunities

These are just a few ideas to get your thoughts going. Always remember that a key element of any marketing campaign is a “call to action.” Don’t allow your marketing to be boring or passé. Make it impactful, informative, exciting and motivate the consumer (or retailer) to take action. Increasingly, consumers are doing online research before making purchasing decisions, and soon the majority of online activity will be on a mobile device rather than a home computer. Many shoppers are already becoming accustomed to using their mobile phones during shopping trips for store locations, coupons, product information and reviews. Now is the time to invest in QR codes and mobile Web site strategies as a core part of your future marketing plans!



Geoffrey Robinson is founder of Digital Earth Network, a leader in the emerging world of mobile and digital marketing content and associated applications. Geoffrey was the former founder of Eye Force Productions, a web based advertising company, and has an extensive professional background, particularly in the Natural Foods industry, in sales, marketing, business operations, consulting, Point of Sale technology and other related verticals.


Posted on WholeFoods Magazine Online, May 2, 2011