QR codes are readable barcodes that, when scanned with a QR reader, can translate the code into a URL, giving a mobile user immediate access to a mobile optimised site and saving them from having to manually enter a URL. QR codes further simplify user access to information by removing the need to search results, click to open or press to play. QR codes can also be used to initiate the download of apps in one scan, saving the mobile user from having to open the app store, search for the app and enter their iTunes password.

Although ‘Augmented Reality’ might be stealing a march on QR codes lately, mobile barcodes are still quite popular, with many international blue-chip companies sticking with the format due to the numerous marketing advantages they offer. A recent article written for the ‘Mobile Marketer’ examined how 3 quick service restaurant giants in the US (McDonald’s, KFC and Wendy’s) used QR codes to market their fast-food outlets to consumers. The article found that the three agreed benefits to the companies profiled were that QR codes:

  • Add shelf life to company packaging.
  • Permit the testing of different types of content to see what consumers respond to most.
  • Allow an ongoing commitment to provide customers with information on the products they are consuming and help them make informed choices.

Examining McDonald’s use of QR codes, the article found that the fast-food giant used mobile codes on their packaging to provide customers with nutritional information. For example, when consumers scanned the QR codes with their mobile phones, they were directed to a page on McDonald’s mobile optimised website where they could view all menu items and their nutritional information.  McDonald’s also used QR codes as a digital extension to their promotions. For instance, one campaign allowed consumers a chance at winning prizes, i.e. when a consumer scanned a QR code on McDonald’s packaging they were directed to an online board game set up for the campaign. This campaign proved very successful and demonstrated that McDonald’s customers were engaging with the QR codes on packaging, therefore encouraging McDonald’s to look at ‘testing and delivering new content via QR codes on packaging and elsewhere’.

Profiling KFC, the article found that 90% of KFC’s customers own a mobile phone. Capitalising on the occurrence of mobile usage, KFC decided to use QR codes on their packaging to ‘hammer a marketing message into consumers’ who are ‘glued to their smartphones, while they have a few minutes to kill inside KFC restaurants’.

According to the article some fast-food chains ‘were also layering in location and social media on top of their QR codes with packaging’ in order ‘to increase the time customers spent inside restaurants’. For example, Wendy’s placed QR codes on packaging that were linked to a mobile check-in sweepstakes. Interestingly, the contest only worked if the consumer was in a geofenced area around a Wendy’s. As a result, Wendy’s was able to target consumers within a set area and help drive more consumers into their fast-food outlets and keep them there for longer.

Even though they have been around for some time, QR codes haven’t been used to the same advantage by businesses in Ireland as they have been in the US and Europe. This puts Irish companies at a disadvantage when attempting to market their business or product to consumers. It should also be pointed out that mobile phone users are a busy bunch. If a quicker route to an end result is available, that’s the route that the mobile user will take. QR codes provide that quicker route as they remove the need for manual interaction with a web browser. Therefore, businesses who have adopted the QR code approach have already bought into the massive mobile demographic and are greatly benefiting as a result.

As well as being beneficial to the mobile user, QR codes can also provide Irish business with the following advantages:

  • Add shelf life to packaging and labelling
  • Test consumer interaction with marketing content
  • Provide a direct route of communication with consumers
  • Product and business promotion
  • Attract new consumers
  • Target specific audiences
  • Help respond to new consumer demands
  • Deliver marketing campaigns
  • Help speak the same language as consumers
  • Provide analytics on the users visiting website, their numbers, the pages and products they view

DoIt Mobile can take care of all your QR code needs. We will generate and manage your QR codes, get them on to packaging, labelling, billboards and flyers, link them to your mobile site and provide the analytics. We can also install QR codes into your app and on your mobile website. If you want to buy into a technology that not only grows your business but helps you know your customer, contact DoIt Mobile today and we’ll take it from there.