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QR Codes Gaining Foothold in Marketplace

Get in the Game!
From July 1 to August 31, 2011, the USPS is offering an incentive program for any mail containing a QR code. Get a 3% discount on postage for Standard and First-Class mail, Letters or Flats, that contain a readable two-dimensional code. This code must be used for marketing purposes only, and non-profit mail is not eligible for the discount. For more details, contact an INDEXX representative.

What is a QR Code?
Among the newest tools providing information to consumers are QR codes. These square, black-and-white graphics found on price tags, receipts, and marketing materials are basically shortcuts to online landing pages and are smart phone-activated. Simply hold your phone (loaded with the appropriate "app," or software) up to the image, and the phone translates it, directing users to a Web page with everything from product information and giveaways to free downloads, coupons, videos, and customer surveys.

What are the Benefits?
Above all, QR codes enhance convenience. As a consumer, you don't have to remember or jot down a note or URL to look up later. With your smart phone, access is immediate, and details are at your fingertips. For marketers, customer information is made available as soon as shoppers connect to a particular code. Parsing the data provides them a valuable supply of leads and buying habits.

Second, since QR codes are primarily electronic, they render printed materials more interactive. Along with static information, consumers are given a portal to data that can be revised whenever necessary. When you include a code on a pamphlet or brochure and the information necessarily changes, you simply change the landing page that the code accesses. The result? More long-lived sales literature and better customer engagement.

Third, QR codes nudge people to act. Movie theaters and airline carriers, for example, process transactions as soon as a shopper's impulse to buy kicks in. These retailers also reply to purchases with digital "receipts" so there's no paper ticket to risk losing. Membership to special discount programs is instantaneously recognized too, so you don't have to keep up with plastic cards and tags. As long as you have your phone, you have access.

What's in Store?
As the demand for smart phones increases, it's likely that the prevalence of QR codes will continue to grow. Instant gratification and consumer loyalty are helping drive the trend, especially as codes become more sophisticated. Company logos, colors, and photos are being incorporated into the designs, providing an extra measure of personalization while building brand recognition. And positioning your business at the forefront of the trend is critical as consumers recognize and respond to the broad capabilities of QR codes.


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