Hey Gang, I am giving a presentation today to the American Catalog Mailer’s Association about how catalogers can effectively leverage QR codes. This compelling tie between print and mobile or print and web creates a bounty for catalogers. The entire eco-system can be energized when the immediacy of enticement can be fulfilled by augmenting the catalog presentation with new, interactive content. 10 examples:

  1. If you are multi-channel, and a catalog consumer accesses a QR code, you can point them to a mobile web page that ascertains their location to give directions to your store.
  2. You can present a “How-To” video to help the consumer understand how they might use your product every day.
  3. You can point it at a PURL (personalized URL) that welcomes the customer by name and has personalized recommendations.
  4. You can point the QR code at your Facebook page and increase your share of “earned media”.
  5. You could offer a discount for a mobile-originated purchase.
  6. You could enter them in a fantastic contest.
  7. You could sign them up for an e-mail newsletter.
  8. You could send them to a QR-Code only sale page.
  9. You could sign them up for text alerts.
  10. You could give them a coupon for an in-store purchase.
  11. (Bonus) You could point them at your loyalty program and give them a bonus for joining through mobile.
And since catalog page-space is so valuable, it is important to maximize both the visual impact of the QR code. The standard QR code looks like this (this is the QR code for this blog post):
But there are amazing, gorgeous QR codes that can seamlessly fit your scheme and be downright engaging:
From Louis Vitton:
From Corkbin:
So the QR code can be a brand reinforcement opportunity as well. This is cool stuff!

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QR codes had such great promise. In some of the uses you describe here, for presenting ancillary content, it would have been perfect. However, far too many folks simply made it a link to their website; that was a whole lot of effort to download an app, shoot the QR code, follow the link, only to have spent 1/10th the time if I typed in the URL.

The key to these codes is to make the content worthwhile. If catalogers can show alternate pictures for an outfit, for instance, or YouTube videos of the product in action, great! If it’s just a link to buy it online? not only is the experiment a dud, it hurts the credibility of QR codes as a whole.

May 11, 2011 8:08 pm

The whole app thing for QR codes is a drag. But, as mobile browsers evolve, I suspect that camera access will be easy so the need for a dedicated reader will go away…I can certainly see this as a feature of Ice Cream Sandwich (Google’s forthcoming integrated phone/tablet OS). But I agree, the QR reader is a hurdle…but the SMS shortcode was a hurdle too and that was (is?) a terrific bridge for mobile to web interactivity….

May 11, 2011 8:15 pm

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