QR or quick response codes are black and white square graphics that are coded with digital content, such as website URLs, geo-coordinates or text. The codes can be scanned using QR code reader software. Sometimes referred to as matrix barcodes, they can also be quite easily generated online.
In China, QR codes are very popular and widely used, and should be seriously considered by businesses that are marketing to Chinese audiences.
How they began
QR codes began life in Japan during the 1990s as a means of tracking automotive vehicles during manufacture. Their usefulness in terms of high readability and greater storage capacity than normal barcodes has since made them popular for other applications – such as marketing, product identification, and time tracking.
What they can do
QR codes can be used to provide information about brands, individual products, special offers, links to landing pages or videos, or for promotions and marketing campaigns.
While they are not used to a great extent in Australia, in China they can be found on printed ads, in shop entrances, on public transport, at trade events, on product packaging and in numerous other locations.
How they can benefit marketers
In China, relationship building is particularly important in business. QR codes can provide business marketers with the opportunity to directly connect with customers and followers, and interact with them.
According to some experts, QR codes have worked so well in China because it is easy for people to access and scan them. For example, the popular social platform WeChat comes with embedded QR code reader software, which means users can simply scan codes using their smartphones. This makes QR codes particularly important for businesses undertaking mobile marketing campaigns.
How QR codes can be used
Here are 12 ways that these codes can be used:
- Store details about brands or about individual products.
- Increase brand awareness.
- Share business contact details.
- Provide access to virtual stores.
- Provide links to websites or social media pages.
- As an alternative to inviting interested people to complete forms, such as at events and trade shows or when offering samples to the public.
- Invite customers to follow a business or brand on social media. For example, QR codes are used commonly on WeChat, and can be used to build up a bigger follower base.
- Communicate authenticity of a product on the packaging, such as country of origin, and manufacturing and shipping information.
- Provide access to special deals or discount coupons.
- Invite users to play games on their smartphones, participate in competitions for prizes, gain admission to special events and so on.
- Enable fast payments for products.
- Enable automatic website logins.
While they might not be very familiar in Australia, it’s important not to overlook the usefulness of QR codes when marketing to China. If you would like professional assistance with this, contact the bilingual digital marketing team at Digital Crew.