QR Codes Outside-the-box

24 replies
Ok i admit it, I am a QR Code hater! Sue me! haha But that's because mostly up to this point I haven't seen a very good utilization of QR codes as a practice. Simply slapping a fuzzy block on a poster that links to your non-mobile site doesn't make much sense.

I have however started to see some more "outside-the-box" implementations of QR codes pop up over the past few weeks and it's starting to make me think there might be a place for them.

The other day I was having dinner at a local restaurant. There was a table tent for this app called Loso and you could scan the QR code on the table tent and earn "rewards points" of sorts and redeem them for prizes like gift cards, discounts, happy hours, etc.

This way of incentivizing and giving purpose to the code is forcing the customers to engage with it in a way that isn't a hassle since they are eventually getting something out of it.

I also saw a local retailer provide a shelf-talker (little advertisement clipped onto the shelf next to a corresponding product) that had a QR code and invited the customer to compare prices. If you scanned it, it took you to a website where you could compare prices across multiple retailers. Most shoppers are doing this anyway, some even in the store, and the fact that retailer facilitated it builds brand loyalty and convenience. All good things!

So what other ways have you seen QR codes used in a creative way? I think there are some really cool implementations just waiting to be discovered and I think I may be starting to drink the QR cool aid!
#codes #outsidethebox
  • Profile picture of the author quickrecognition
    I wrote a post about exactly that today on my FB page. The reason more people aren't embracing QR technology readily? Because most of the people shoving those things up your nose are doing it wrong.

    Without plugging my FB page... here's the content.

    Many elements combine to make a great QR campaign. Let's look at some BIG mistakes marketers are making in QR campaigns ;P

    1. Not testing the QR code to see that it actually works! This can get tricky, because the graphic on the screen and the final graphic on the print medium may scan VERY differently.

    2. Failing the WIIFM test. Customers, whether consciously or subconsciously, are asking "What Is In It For Me?"

    Convenience might be a motivator...if they were already going to visit your site, like you on FB, or copy down your contact info. To be really effective with your QR campaign you need to give customers a strong reason to scan your code and take action.

    3. Using a QR that links to a mobile-hostile website. People are scanning with their mobile devices... you need to land them somewhere mobile-friendly. If you want to see a prime example of the difference scan our logo with an iPhone. Then borrow an Android and try the same. Our site isn't yet optimized for the Android platform simply because we launched before Joel could finish - and believe me, it's a daunting task - but I'm thinking to leave it as is just for this little demonstration.

    There are certainly other pitfalls we can help you avoid, but these are gaping chasms of death when it comes to a successful QR campaign.


    Starbucks did a *decent* QR campaign recently that a neighbor turned me on to. They attached the custom QR code to a detachable coupon... in my opinion, make the customer scan the QR and complete an action to get the coupon, but they're freaking Starbucks and they have a loyal fanbase so it worked anyway. See attached.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketingChad
    Yeah I totally agree about the "What's In It For Me" test. It's sad but true that's the way our society is right now. But it's easy to embrace at least haha.

    I like the Starbucks implementation but I too agree that it would be better if the coupon was only available after they scanned the code.

    I think I also saw something at the movie theater a little while ago that you could scan the QR code and receive a free popcorn. I forget the total implementation of it (what the theater got out of it) but that's something else that just came to mind.
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    • Profile picture of the author KingMedia
      Originally Posted by MarketingChad View Post

      Yeah I totally agree about the "What's In It For Me" test. It's sad but true that's the way our society is right now. But it's easy to embrace at least haha.

      I like the Starbucks implementation but I too agree that it would be better if the coupon was only available after they scanned the code.

      I think I also saw something at the movie theater a little while ago that you could scan the QR code and receive a free popcorn. I forget the total implementation of it (what the theater got out of it) but that's something else that just came to mind.
      Free popcorn? they must want your first born... - setting up a list I would think to promote their movie tickets down the road (if not, they should be).

      Seriously, mobile users have the shortest attention span out of any web browsers. They must be wowed fast or they move on. Slow loading sites of non-mobile sites will lose them quick.

      They must have a reason to scan your qr code "scan this for a $5 large pizza delivered to your door in 20 minutes" - I bet that would get a lot of inquiries?
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  • Profile picture of the author enavagate
    I completely agree about the QR codes, they actually annoy me because of the lack of WIIFM factor. I can't say that I've seen them used in a particularly good way except for to give people coupons. I work in the local marketing arena and I know people that plug these all the time to their customers.

    Maybe it would be a great way to offer exclusive items or attract mobile users to the local restaurant for a great deal on a particular night. Then they would be a captive audience to market to in other ways or at least solicite their opinions if you want to get an idea of what other mobile based campaigns would interest your customer base.
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  • Profile picture of the author quickrecognition
    I'm working with a yoga studio owner - she wants to get email addresses from all of her existing customers to add them to her newsletter mailing list, but feels awkward asking them.


    QR solution:


    Placard at front counter with QR linking to mobile page - input your contact info for a chance to win 1 month free yoga. Mobile page will feed directly into her Constant Contact newsletter signup via API (if I can figure it out, they aren't real open with their tech) or if I can't figure it out, into a mysql database that pulls down a weekly report in excel so she can upload.


    I keep the layered images so that if they want another QR for something different, all I have to do is swap out the QR layer and format that layer, charge them $50 for the changeover vs. 150-600$ for the original QR design. Here's a prototype I did for her, links to nowhere until she pays
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    • Profile picture of the author Leron Ford
      Originally Posted by quickrecognition View Post

      Mobile page will feed directly into her Constant Contact newsletter signup via API (if I can figure it out, they aren't real open with their tech)
      I manage a mailing list for a client that uses Constant Contact. I came across an option within CC that allows you to setup a "Scan-to-Join" option, where subscribers can scan a QR code to sign up. They also have a "Text-to-Join" option that lets subscribers sign up by text. They even provide you with the creatives to use so that it's pretty straightforward.

      I don't know your situation, but maybe those options might be available to you as well.

      Hope that helps.
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    1. You could set it up so that when they scan the code it opens up an email ready to send to the auto-responder email address for that list. That way when they press send on that email they will be added to the list right away.

    2. You could just send them to a mobile page that has your Constant Contact optin form so all they need to do is enter their name and email and press send.

    Obviously number 2 is probably best because not everyone has email setup on their phone. Having said that not everyone has data on their phone either. That's why SMS marketing works so much better for mobile.
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    • Profile picture of the author quickrecognition
      Yeah I didn't realize how easy it is to pop right to a constant contact subscribe page... they in fact will give you a QR code leading right to a pre-made page so that's what I'll do. I'll use their raw QR to recreate the custom QR... only thing I need to check is if they page they pop to is mobile friendly
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  • Profile picture of the author MarketingChad
    I got something else in the mail the other day for a Casino in Atlantic City. The mailer had a QR code on the front and said scan here to book now! I naturally scanned it and it took me to a clunky, crappy site that was so hard to work with. People don't want to book a whole vacation on their phone. *Hand to forehead*
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    • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
      Originally Posted by MarketingChad View Post

      I got something else in the mail the other day for a Casino in Atlantic City. The mailer had a QR code on the front and said scan here to book now! I naturally scanned it and it took me to a clunky, crappy site that was so hard to work with. People don't want to book a whole vacation on their phone. *Hand to forehead*
      I'd say about 90% of the codes I scan on ads, postcards, etc. lead to a non mobile optimized site.

      Recently, I did a quick home page mockup for a tax service co. that had mailed out postcards (with a qr code ) I showed them the difference in how the two versions of sites looked on a phone, using my phone simulator. They want me to design their mobile site now. Just keep an eye out for opportunities like these. They are everywhere!
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      • Profile picture of the author javarog
        Originally Posted by rlhurst View Post

        I'd say about 90% of the codes I scan on ads, postcards, etc. lead to a non mobile optimized site.

        Recently, I did a quick home page mockup for a tax service co. that had mailed out postcards (with a qr code ) I showed them the difference in how the two versions of sites looked on a phone, using my phone simulator. They want me to design their mobile site now. Just keep an eye out for opportunities like these. They are everywhere!
        Interesting enough I just got back from eating at the Elephant Bar,, a pretty good sized chain,, low and behold there was a qr code to scan on the menu for $5,00 off for signing up to their email marketing,, so I scanned the code and no big surprise it just went to their regular site,, what a shame...
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        • Profile picture of the author Legacy3
          Originally Posted by javarog View Post

          Interesting enough I just got back from eating at the Elephant Bar,, a pretty good sized chain,, low and behold there was a qr code to scan on the menu for $5,00 off for signing up to their email marketing,, so I scanned the code and no big surprise it just went to their regular site,, what a shame...
          At that point you should have spoke with the manager, pointed that out and set up an appointment to sell them a mobile site...Ya never know.
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          • Profile picture of the author javarog
            Originally Posted by Legacy3 View Post

            At that point you should have spoke with the manager, pointed that out and set up an appointment to sell them a mobile site...Ya never know.
            I normally would ask but it was a anniversary dinner and my wife more than likely wouldn't have appreciated it so I made a note to revisit this at a later time...
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            • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
              Originally Posted by javarog View Post

              I normally would ask but it was a anniversary dinner and my wife more than likely wouldn't have appreciated it so I made a note to revisit this at a later time...
              Wise decision!
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            • Profile picture of the author Legacy3
              Originally Posted by javarog View Post

              I normally would ask but it was a anniversary dinner and my wife more than likely wouldn't have appreciated it so I made a note to revisit this at a later time...
              Good Choice.
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  • Profile picture of the author ebbe
    We are planning a project offering local business adspace i.e. one page per advertizer in a WP mobile responsive website. In addition to that we offer them a mobile shopping facility with Paypal Payment. Furthermore we distribute a list locally with all ads provided with a QR code offering coupons or various discounts and other incentives.

    By the way. I only offer mobile responsive sites to my local customers. I use WP with genesis framework and Generate child theme. It works great.http://scannertilbud.dk
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  • Profile picture of the author Legacy3
    It's funny that you would ask this question...I just came across some interesting uses for QR codes the other day

    5 Genius Examples of QR Codes in Marketing
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    • Profile picture of the author dublindawn
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      • Profile picture of the author rlhurst
        Originally Posted by dublindawn View Post

        Had an electrician in the other week fixing my washing machine, when he was finished he put a little sticker on the washing machine with a QR Code on it, Told me he did the full range of electrical & plumbing services and had a 24 hr emergency service.
        Pointed at the QR code and told me he was only a scan away.
        Have you tried scanning to see if it leads to a mobile friendly site? If not, maybe something might go wrong with that new washer that you'll need the electrician to come back..... where you'll show him the mobile version you created for him...
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        • Profile picture of the author Legacy3
          Originally Posted by rlhurst View Post

          Have you tried scanning to see if it leads to a mobile friendly site? If not, maybe something might go wrong with that new washer that you'll need the electrician to come back..... where you'll show him the mobile version you created for him...
          Good point Rlhurst!

          I find far too often that companies like these only get half of the tech right particularly when it comes to QR codes.

          Because QR codes are free they figure they can just slap a QR code on anything and point it back to their main website. Often times they forget people scan them with their MOBILE Phones and not their desktop computers, which leaves a huge opportunity for the observant consultant.
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    I believe they are only in their infancy. The one hold back is making QR reader built in to the camera on phones. So you don't have to download a reader app. Just use the cam as normal and it recognizes the code and launches a preinstalled reader.

    I think there are tons of opportunities as people get educated on them. Especially in instruction manuals that show assembly videos. Ever try to assemble Ikea stuff from their crappy guides?

    Companies could use QR codes on all kinds of merchandise to direct customers to FAQs to cut down on customer service calls.

    Why not have a QR code on your product for re-ordering parts, components etc... such as a filter for a room air cleaner, fridge water filter, furnace filter etc...

    QR codes on takeout menus for easy mobile ordering, a checkout page showing your order and total etc...
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    • Profile picture of the author Legacy3
      Originally Posted by NewParadigm View Post

      I believe they are only in their infancy. The one hold back is making QR reader built in to the camera on phones. So you don't have to download a reader app. Just use the cam as normal and it recognizes the code and launches a preinstalled reader.
      This is a great idea! Imagine if QR Codes were built into the next iteration of the iPhone. The QR market would explode!

      Better brush up on those mobile site building skills.
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  • Profile picture of the author Legacy3
    From reading the article below I got another idea. If you are organizing a networking social or presentation you could encourage guests to put a QR code on their name tags instead of their name. It may be a bit gimmicky but I'd bet it would be fun the first couple times people saw it. I think it would also encourage interactivity and allow guests to leave their new friends with a little more about them like a vCard, a link to their mobile about me page, or a link to a video of them introducing themselves.

    To pull it off you'd need a portable printer and QR Encoder on a laptop. I think this would be great if you were presenting about QR Codes and other IM marketing technologies to help prove the point of their effectiveness. (Imagine being the presenter and doing this at a Chamber of Commerce Meeting)

    You could also do this for yourself (if you weren't in charge of the event or a speaker) to provide a starting point in the conversation about how you help businesses maximize QR Codes for the purposes of marketing. Even if folks didn't have a QR reader they'd probably come up to you and say, "What's that?" at which point, you'd say "I'm glad you asked..."

    Below is the article I read. I think it was the temporary tattoo that inspired me.

    Weird, Fun, Crazy, Interesting QR Codes | The Mobilists
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  • Profile picture of the author NewParadigm
    every building owner should have a large QR code on their rooftop, eventually it'll show up on google maps. Torch down roofing membranes are made w/ same material as billboards, why not print on them first.

    Also I noticed so many vehicles w/ business graphics on windows. Most of them will have a phone number. Who can remember a 7 dig phone number and remember to call later? or website? But, someone could take a quick pic of a QR code to make it easy to contact the biz later. Partner w/ sign companies/auto graphics co to offer the QR code package to their customers. An easy intro to many new clients.
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  • Profile picture of the author TrumpiaTim
    Whether its text to join or scan a QR code it's typically best practice to include an incentive for the customer so there's a strong call to action
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