pbSmart™ for Small Business

Lessons from the Top 5 Mobile Commerce QR Code Campaigns of Q1 2012


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Mobile Commerce Daily recently revealed its Top 5 Mobile Commerce-Enabled QR Campaigns from the first three months of 2012. To qualify for the top five, each campaign needed to feature a QR code with a mobile-commerce option, allowing customers to purchase products or services.

While four of the top five QR code campaigns were run by large companies, the examples provide valuable lessons to help small businesses improve their QR code marketing programs.

Let’s take a look at what these top campaigns did right:

Calls to Action:  The article mentions that several of the campaigns featured clear calls to action that told customers exactly why they should scan the QR code. Placing a QR code on promotional materials without telling customers what they’ll get dramatically reduces the number of scans. A related best practice is to provide customers with a small explanation of how QR codes work, telling them where to get a QR code reader if they don’t have one yet.  At least one of the top campaigns failed to provide this information. If space permits, it’s a good idea to include these instructions to ensure that as many people as possible scan your QR code.

Mobile-Optimized Websites: Each of the five campaigns features a landing page or website that was optimized for the mobile experience. A non-optimized mobile site is a serious weak link in a QR campaign, leaving visitors unable to read your message, take advantage of your offers, or make a purchase. Fortunately, optimizing your campaign for mobile is one of the easiest best practices to follow: software like our own pbSmart™ Codes allows you to create customized, mobile-optimized websites in the same easy interface used to create your QR code.

Integration With Print, Outdoor and Event Promotions:  The examples include a wide range of media used to promote the QR code campaigns: from magazine ads, to taxicab ads, to event signage.  One of the lessons here is that QR code marketing isn’t something you have to do as a separate exercise.  QR codes can complement your traditional promotional activities and breathe new life into them to improve response rates.  QR codes also give you the unprecedented ability to assess the impact of your promotional activities.  When in the past would you have been able to directly measure responses to a magazine ad?

Planning for the Customer’s Situation:  Two of the campaigns showed thoughtful planning based on what customers were doing at the time.

  • When customers are already looking at your menu, how can you make it easier for them to take the next step and place an order? QR codes, of course. The restaurant used a QR code to link from its take out menu to an easy mobile-web ordering system.
  • Taxi rides are synonymous with idle downtime – how can you help customers pass the time and get a little shopping done too? The L’Oreal campaign came up with a clever answer, displaying product shots in cabs that linked to mobile shopping websites via QR codes.

The more we think about how to provide value to the customer in a given situation, the more successful our QR campaigns will be.

Scanners Become Buyers:  The overriding lesson from these examples is that QR codes aren’t just another way to engage customers in the hope that they one day visit your store.  These campaigns all featured mobile-commerce elements and proved that QR codes offer a direct link from scan to sale. Not many marketing methods offer quite the same opportunity for “instant return” from the time of exposure to conversion. And the best part is that it all these results are measurable.

With all the benefits of QR marketing, we’re sure that the Q2 of 2012 will provide more inspirational examples of QR codes in action. Stay tuned.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you seen any recent examples of best practices in QR code marketing campaigns? What successes have you had? Please share your experiences below.


If you’re not currently using QR codes to market your small business, find out how in our free, on-demand webinar, Getting Started with QR Code Marketing, featuring Pitney Bowes marketing expert Peter Binder.

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