How to Use a QR Code to Engage Your Customers

AdAge tells us that more big businesses are experimenting with QR Codes. In fact, Macy’s has produced a 30-second spot that shows shoppers how to use the codes.

Home Depot, Target, Best Buy, and Post Cereals are also on board with their own programs.

I’m sure you’ve seen the Quick Response Codes. They’re the rectangular boxes that look like puzzle mazes (like the one you see on the left, which links to my website).

Consumers first download a QR Code reader to their smartphones. When they see a code, they snap a picture of it and content appears.

You’ll see the codes almost everywhere – on telephone poles, in store windows, on business cards, on signs. More and more, they’ll be used in department and grocery stores. They’ll be at the head of aisles, on shelves and on packaging.

Now, here are some additional ideas for using a QR Code:

  • A clothing shop or sporting goods retailer might post a code next to a product on a shelf. When a shopper takes a photo of the code, a detailed description or video will pop up on their screen.
  • A park will provide trail maps.
  • A QR code on a business card or tee-shirt will bring a visitor to your website.
  • Realtors can use them to show house listings.
  • Anyone can use them for contests.
  • Include them in newspaper advertisements and give readers directions to your location

uQRme spot from uQRme on Vimeo.

QR Codes are still very much in the development stage, but curiosity will be a huge factor in attracting consumer interest. Why don’t you experiment, too?

First, download a scanner to your smartphone:

Or, Google “QR Code Scanner.” There are many.

Next, create your own QR Code. Here are websites where you can create your very own easily, quickly and for free:

There are also sites, like, that produce promotional gadgets and signs printed with your QR code.

See how creative you can be. Engage your customers. You’ll certainly be ahead of the small business curve.
Disclaimer: I do not endorse, and I am not compensated by, any of the above listed products or services.

May I Take Your Order?

As smartphones become more pervasive, so do the applications that improve “convenience” for small businesses and your customers.

Restaurant owners already have noteworthy tools and have enjoyed impressive results. Dan Butcher reported in Mobile Commerce Daily that “quick-service and fast-casual restaurant chains that have launched mobile applications with ordering capabilities have boosted the frequency and average size of customers’ orders.”

He listed three mobile “aggregators” for restaurants – Snapfinger, SeamlessWeb and GrubHub.  I add GoMobo to that menu. Take a look at each of the programs.

Also consider OLO (Online Ordering), which provides “web-based online ordering software with point-of-sale integration.”

With any of the services, diners can see your menu online (either by Smartphone or PC), and place their orders for pick-up or delivery. They’re promotional and ordering tools that give you greater exposure in your community.

If you’re looking for a marketing that distinguishes your restaurant and serves your customers better, for a low cost, don’t wait. The bigger chains and franchises, like Subway, Five Guys, Outback, and Boston Market (to name just a few), are already using them.

You can compete with the Big Guys.

Before I forget. Owners of other types of businesses must be on the look out for apps that will help you (that’s what I do). The mobile age is here.