QR Codes (short for Quick Response codes) are scannable 2D codes that prompt a specific action from users. These codes, for many, have long been considered old-school tech and perhaps even outdated tech to some.
QR codes first emerged when smartphones were beginning to gain traction. Those little black and white squares popped up everywhere… but then very quickly began to disappear. This was down to many reasons, mainly centred around poor customer experience. This included the fact they were difficult to use, slow smartphone internet speeds hindering successful execution, not to mention the fact that the iPhone camera didn’t support QR code scanning.
But while many thought we’d seen the back of QR codes, this piece of tech appears to be back stronger than ever, with many businesses harnessing the improved value of it.
QR codes as a payments tool
From restaurants to retailers, Covid-19 has left businesses from all industries having to navigate murky waters in the reopening since lockdown. Government regulations has meant that these businesses have had to evolve and adapt their operations in order to keep themselves and their customers safe.
During this time, QR codes have emerged as a useful way for businesses to accept payments from customers while keeping a safe distance from their customers.
A contact-free way to accept payments
In the era of social distancing, QR codes are getting the recognition they’ve been craving since first created in 1994. Many businesses are harnessing this technology to offer customers a contactless method of payment. Taking payments is as easy as the customers simply pointing their smartphone camera to a displayed QR code.
Businesses have been leveraging QR codes as a payment technology in all sorts of creative ways. Many of those with a physical shopfront have been sticking QR codes on their shop windows. Customers point their camera at the code and are taken to a webpage where they enter the amount they owe and simply tap to finalise the payment.
Other businesses have been taking advantage of QR codes at the checkout counter, inviting customers to scan a code to make payment instead of physically interacting with the card reader.
Although, it’s important to note that many of the leading card machine payment providers today offer contactless payment. UK Finance increasing the contactless card payment limit from £30 to £45 inline with customer demand since the pandemic, it really does pay for businesses to invest in payment solutions that offers customers this key flexibility.
If your business doesn’t have a contactless card machine, now is the time to invest into one. A company called UTP Group provide a range of credit card machines and virtual businesses to small and medium businesses. Businesses can now obtain the payment solution online, avoiding any contact with sales agents.
QR codes play a key role in small business marketing
As well as giving businesses a safer way to take payments, QR codes are establishing themselves as a valuable marketing tool. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Boosting business app downloads: Many businesses with newly launched apps have been embedding QR codes on leaflets, posters, and other print marketing in order to generate awareness and boost downloads of their app.
To increase social media following: Having QR codes linked to your social media profiles is another brilliant example of how businesses are leveraging this tech. Displaying the code in your shop window on eye-catching posters will encourage customers to follow your social media profiles where you can continue to push marketing messaging. Creating posters doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Free websites such as Canva allow you to create beautiful designs for all kinds of content.
To help customers find your shop: QR codes have been great in helping customers locate newly opened businesses. QR codes can be linked to your location on Google maps. Embed this on a billboard or poster, and customers will be able to simply and easily make their way to your shop.
A way to gather customer feedback: No matter the size or industry of your business, you should always be looking at customer feedback in order to improve. QR codes are proving to be a great tool in gathering this feedback. They can be embedded on paper receipts and product labels, for example, and linked to customer feedback forms from which you can learn and improve.
Helping communicate with customers: Just last week, WhatsApp launched QR codes for small businesses to display on product packaging, receipts or shopfronts that launch customer chats. Upon customers scanning these QR codes, a WhatsApp chat will be revealed with an optional prepared message created by the seller to initiate a conversation and drive sales.
Driving loyalty card memberships: QR codes are proving to be a quick and easy way for businesses to increase loyalty card members. Partnered with an irresistible freebie or an exclusive giveaway too good to pass on, QR code can really help build a loyal customer base.
So, if you thought you’d seen the back of QR codes, you could be incredibly mistaken… this piece of technology is proving incredibly useful for many businesses, especially during these testing times amidst the Coronavirus pandemic. There are tons of free QR generators online today, so go and experiment with some catchy CTAs and see just how QR codes can help grow your business today.