It goes without saying that technology is an astounding application of scientific knowledge,and advances such as smartphones and mobile barcodes (QR codes) cannot go unnoticed. The only way to keep your small business growing is to keep up with the technological updates that are making customers say, “WOW,” and open their wallets.
As Technology Marketing Corporation web editor, Tammy Wolf, explains, “QR codes, consisting of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background, are decipherable by the latest smartphone devices. Much like a grocery item is scanned at checkout for its PLU (Price-Lookup) code, a QR code can store a range of valuable information for a mobile user.” The problem, however, is that many independent retailers don’t realize the full potential of this newer technology. Why the necessity to study up on these two-dimensional barcodes, you might ask? Advertise, advertise, advertise! It’s all about using the resources you have and shining them in a new light. Utilizing print media, but feeling the pressure of interactive online advertising? Retailers should look into making their traditional print media more interactive. Many media companies and marketers use the QR Code as a means to create and manage measurable 2D barcode campaigns, extending brand engagement to consumers’ smartphone enabled lifestyles.
Barcodes Make Better Business
For instance, Home Depot is offering to its do-it-yourself builders and home owning customers a taste of the new technology. Technology Marketing Corporation contributor, Michelle Amodio, details Home Depot’s plan: “In an effort to give customers more relevant information on product reviews, how-to guides and videos, 2D barcodes will be placed in direct mail pieces linking to product information and video demos.” It’s no longer Do It Yourself with a hammer and nail, but with a data plan and camera phone as well.
After a short study between the months of January and March 2011, Scanbuy, Inc., a provider of mobile barcode solutions, has issued a third ScanLife Mobile Barcode Trend Report. Some of the key highlights of the report included: traffic increased over 800 percent within a year’s time; retail and media industries generated some of the most scanned 2D barcode campaigns; and everyday products continue to deliver exactly half of all UPC scans from Scanbuy’s ScanLife app.
Yet mobile barcodes aren’t the only smartphone technology benefiting independent retailers. Google’s soon to be unveiled mobile payments platform is also another step towards retail on-the-go. Google’s latest technology update, called near field communication, is expected to power consumers with the capability to make store purchases, redeem coupons, and receive loyalty points, all with a wave of their smartphone. Retailers just need to showcase the necessary reader at their checkout counter. Although the payment platform is only available to those with a mobile phone running Google’s Android software, it’s a technology sure to catch on with other operating systems.
Essentially, the software offers credit card capabilities, as well as an account management system. However and more importantly for retailers, as The Wall Street Journal reports, “The planned payment system would allow Google to offer retailers more data about their customers and help them target ads and discount offers to mobile device users near their stores. Google, which hopes to sell ads and discount offers to the local merchants, isn’t expected to get a cut of the transaction fees.”