Simplify Digital Business Transformation Using QR Codes

The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly left large financial scars on many companies across the globe. But it’s also now become a large accelerator to undergo a digital business transformation. One such way that businesses are making this transformation is by integrating QR Code technology into their marketing, sales, and payment infrastructures.

How do QR Codes work?

QR Codes are basically square boxes made up of pixels that hold and convey information. Whereas Barcodes (the ancestor of QR Codes) can only be read horizontally, QR Codes can be read both horizontally and vertically, which is why anyone with a smartphone can scan them. Although QR Codes were originally intended to modernize inventory management systems, nowadays they have a much wider range of applications. Their unique technology enables them to have large data capacity, high damage tolerance, and many flexible solutions that are highly useful for mobile payments, in business and marketing, and for any type of digital information transfer.

Why are QR Codes useful during the coronavirus pandemic?

Due to the fact that the coronavirus can spread by touching potentially contaminated items, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that we maintain a proper social distance and avoid touching our physical surroundings in public places. In an effort to abide by these rules and keep people safe, companies, hospitals, and governments across the globe are using QR Codes to share information and enable mobile payments without any physical contact.

QR Codes are the perfect tool for contactless payments and information sharing for two main reasons: the majority of people can easily use them due to smartphones and they can be scanned from any distance. As long as the QR Code is large enough and has high enough image quality, there is no limit to how far away QR Codes can be scanned. The billboard ad with a QR Code by Calvin Klein in the image below is a great example.

A QR Code on a billboard ad for Calvin Klein
A QR Code on a billboard ad for Calvin Klein. Source: forbes.com

Furthermore, QR Codes conveniently and quickly redirect users via mobile to any type of information necessary, including websites, payment platforms, videos, social media links, images, apps, coupons, and much more.

How QR Codes enable digital business transformation

If businesses were not considering implementing digital processes before the coronavirus, they certainly are now. A crisis like this shows how absolutely crucial it is to undergo a digital business transformation. This means making as many of your business processes as digital as possible such as operational structures, project management, marketing and sales, customer service, and website functionality. The companies that had these structures in place before the pandemic will come out much stronger than those who didn’t. So, if you’re curious about how to get started with digital business transformation, using QR Codes is a great place to start! 

Keep basic functionality running during a crisis

There are many ways that a business can incorporate QR Codes into their sales strategies to keep their things running. One of the hardest-hit industries was the fitness and beauty sector because they’ve had to close down their physical locations. Nonetheless, there are ways that these businesses can continue generating revenue with QR Codes. Particularly useful for fitness studios and gyms is online workout videos. In the image below, this gym used a QR Code on a landing page to direct customers to the Fittrack app. Users can then log in to the app with a particular code and access all online workout videos from this gym.

Medical Fitnesscenter connects customers with online workout videos with a QR Code
Medical Fitnesscenter connects customers with online workout videos with a QR Code. Source: medicalfitnesscenter-garching.de

Not only will this digital process enable this gym to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, but it will also be there in the future to continue generating revenue for any customers who want to work out at home instead of at the gym.

Improve digital communication & PR coverage

The example above also illustrates how QR Codes can help with customer communication. During any tough situation, customers will expect a response from any brand as to how their products and services will be affected. In that same manner, QR Codes have also been connected to press releases about how brands are responding to coronavirus. This works in two ways. For example, Olympique Lyonnais (OL) in France made a substantial donation to fund coronavirus research in Lyon, which was published in the form of a press release on actusnews.com. Even before the pandemic, QR Codes were already used as a means to distribute press releases to reduce paper waste, as demonstrated by AirAsia, a low-cost airline based in Malaysia.

Increase revenue from digital platforms

QR Codes can also be used for digital marketing as well. With so many people at home during the coronavirus and doing online shopping, this is a great opportunity for businesses to direct people to online shopping platforms. One example is for a fashion retailer with physical stores to use email marketing to send users to a mobile app with an App Store QR Code. Even though their physical stores are closed, they can still generate revenue with online shopping, which will also help their brand digitally transform for the coming future.

An App Store QR Code for a fashion company in email marketing directs users to the mobile app
An App Store QR Code for a fashion company in email marketing directs users to the mobile app.

For fashion and beauty retailers, a similar concept is also possible with social media ads, in particular Instagram. In the image below, an Instagram ad has a QR Code that directs users to a makeup video tutorial. If they designed this ad with a Video QR Code, they could also direct users to a particular landing page underneath the video on the QR Code display page.

An Instagram ad with a Video QR Code connects users to a video tutorial
An Instagram ad with a Video QR Code connects users to a video tutorial

Connect print materials to digital platforms

We certainly can’t forget one of the most advantageous aspects of QR Codes: Connecting print to digital. Before QR Codes, print advertising didn’t have the capability to directly connect readers with digital content. If the ad promoted a particular link, purchasing platform, or another digital element, a reader had to find a way to look this up later on. This is both inconvenient for readers and untrackable for marketers. When you add QR Codes to print materials, a reader is automatically connected to any digital content. So in times of coronavirus, companies can add QR Codes on print mediums like display signs, shop windows, billboard ads, posters, product packaging, magazine and newspaper ads, and even vehicles to continue promoting their products in a safe and convenient manner for customers.

A QR Code on a table tent enables customers to place delivery orders from restaurants during the coronavirus
A QR Code on a table tent enables customers to place delivery orders from restaurants during the coronavirus

One perfect example of how to use QR Codes in this manner is the restaurant industry. Since many restaurants have had to unfortunately close down due to the coronavirus, they are offering their customers delivery options via QR Codes instead. Addmi LLC, a tech start-up that develops QR Code ordering software, is installing the software for free to help restaurants survive the current financial blow. Customers can scan the QR Code to place a delivery order from a restaurant. To give some examples, a restaurant could place QR Codes, on social media ads, websites, and print materials like stickers, shop windows, table tents, and signs. 

More digital business transformation examples with QR Codes during coronavirus

To highlight just how useful QR Codes are for businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, here are a few more examples of how QR Codes are helping companies to digitally transform and continue providing customers with their services.

ATM access in Turkey

In a massive push to fully digitize ATM access across Turkey, the national bank, Garanti BBVA created a program that enables customers to use QR Codes for cash withdrawals instead of touching the machines. They also raised the withdrawal limit to help their customers cope with financial needs during the coronavirus pandemic, and are promoting contactless payments instead of cash.

Fintech company enables instant QR Code payments for B2B

A fintech known as ANNA Money also responded to the pandemic by enabling automatic QR Code transactions for their B2B customers. The QR Code payment system is the result of a new partnership with TrueLayer, and their goal is to replace traditional payment styles that require physical contacts like cards and payment terminals. Their QR Code software is faster, creates automatic invoices, and also helps companies become more efficient and digitized.

Postal service payments with QR Codes in Italy

In a country that’s facing one of the toughest challenges during the coronavirus, Italy has found a way to digitize payments for small businesses with QR Code technology. Instead of touching a POS (point of sale) terminal, customers can make payments with QR Code scans with their smartphones. Due to the fact that Italy is predominantly cash-oriented, the government is giving bonuses to businesses who swap out cash for electronic payments. Not only will this help stop the spread of the coronavirus, but it will also support small businesses now and in the future.

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