Well this was the seller's apathy, but what about the client-side of the story? How many customers actually know what the real purpose of these QR code is? As customers, your role does not end with completing the formalities of the code downloads while shoppping. The codes are a powerful tool in the hands of the customer too.
Don't they say it takes two to tango. It applies here too. Building a holistic commercial partnership rests with both the seller as well as the buyer. As good services come by, so does the reaction have to be encouraging for better future results. With e-commerce becoming the in-thing this decade, QR codes too have an important role-play.
The customers are showing an increasing preference to shop online, which is convenient and offering wider shopping options at competitive prices under a single umbrella. The businesses too second this model mainly because it cuts down on their production and management costs whilst increasing consumer value through sustainable capacity building.
What are these QR codes we have been mumbling about so far?
Quick Response Code or QR is a trademark code, that is designed on the machine-readable pattern, found on all commercial items. In other words, it contains all the descriptive and subjective info about the product. These uni-dimensional codes were first introduced by Toyota's aide Denso Wave in 1994 to keep track of vehicles in its mass-line production units. In the subsequent years the use of QR codes has found its roots more in the e-commerce industry as an important tracking tool, in the transport sector for ticketing and as a branding tool in the advertising field.
These codes are a product of a complex working mechanism. The barcodes are scanned mechanically, with image sensors that process the imagery by locating the encrypted square-like patterns. The dots are converted in binary numbers for checking the validity of the items on offer. Due to their specific error correction ability, the QR codes can be altered and designed artistically for anything and everything - be it business cards, books, magazines, canned foods , electronics so on so forth.
How are these used in the advertising arena is the next logical question?
The commerce sector has been able to capitalize on this strategy mainly due to the fact that it affords a greater chance of actual sales to happen, as consumers are straight-away redirected to the brand's website. With the increase in smartphone usage across the US and globally in general, the users can easily install a QR-code scanner app on their mobile devices to facilitate the conversion. The customers are then redirected to a specific URL for further product info. And with more and more businesses going in for virtual store marketing, the QR codes come as a boon in terms of financial transactions through coded payments.
When it comes to the "hardlinking" task, Google leads the roost with its convienient API for scaning codes, compatible on all smartphone devices. What makes this QR codes more effective is that they can track scanning locations by using the GPS technology or else identifying the encoded URL in the QR code. This really helps businesses to keep track of items that work on time-bound-supply criteria. The QR codes, in the form of m-barcode are accessible through 3rd party code scanners as well as on Nintendo 3DS. Not behind in the race, Apple Inc's iOS too offers more than 50 paid and free apps to hard-link to an external URL.
Moving beyond the technical nitty-gritties, QR codes, as easy and convienient as it sounds, has a flip side to it. It is a technology after all. The most dreaded negative aspect is "attagging" (attack+ tagging) i.e malicious QR codes that are manipulated and affixed over valid codes. The risk involved includes privacy breaches, identity thefts and virus attacks that harm the devices as well as reputations alike.
The awareness in the industrial circle about the supposed pros-n-cons is there but managing these glitches effectively is where businesses need to buckle-up a little more. The common mistakes identified in this regard are:
What most businesses do is dole out their responsibility to URL shortening service agencies. While this may help in cutting down some workloads but what ensues is a process called link rot. To put it simply, when a business relies heavily on third-party shortening services, which suddenly goes defunct, all your business operation links get jammed. The main reason for this happening is the abuse of the service by spammers.
2. Tracking the Traffic source
This is a very serious problem that most businesses face. To determine if your marketing strategy is working successfully, it is important to keep track of the in-bound consumer traffic; if it is leading to actual consumer interaction and sales. Sadly many business treat the traffic from QR codes to their site indifferently. What's needed here is to assume more control and redirect such traffic to a unique URL for fruitful business analysis to happen.
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