How to use QR Codes to merge online and offline marketing strategies
Last Updated:  February 9, 2021
Retailers of all sizes these days have been facing an uphill battle against eCommerce brands that have a massive foothold in the market. And, vice versa. Most retailers have websites that meet the responsive design standards and have also built supporting mobile apps to keep the consumers engaging to complete the footfall loop.
The challenge for both brick-and-mortar stores and eCommerce stores to complete the online and offline footfall loop is complex and involves several factors – collaborating with digital influencers, offline marketing events (pop-up stores, fan fests, promotional events), and combining offline and online marketing strategies.
Marketers deem offline and online as two separate entities, siloed in their own world of anticipated outcomes, strategy, and ecosystem.
So, what is the next step? Is there any way to attract shoppers and convert them into potential customers via social media and offline methods?
QR Codes: Harmonize marketing strategies to complete the loop
Building a holistic strategy to sync the marketing efforts of the online and offline footfall loop is critical in accomplishing a positive ROI.
QR Codes act as the glue to complete this loop.
QR Codes can help bring customers to online platforms as well as to the brick-and-mortar stores by three main ways –
Social media engagement
Offline marketing strategies
Interactive media campaigns – online and offline
1. Social media engagement
According to Sprout Social, the age group of 18-29 dominates all of social media platforms, including LinkedIn.
Brands have taken this as an opportunity to connect with online users by endorsing their products via digital influencers for better engagement and to bring back footfall.
Not just this, influencer marketing strategies are currently hot and have hit a teenage growth spurt.
An effective influencer marketing campaign usually –
Garners the right amount of social reach – subscribers and followers
Serves as an engagement channel for more likes, comments, shares, and mentions
Boosts sales/conversion rates which ultimately leads to more sign-ups, downloads, and CTRs.
There are several ways a brand can use QR Codes on social media –
Influencers usually have meet-ups, fan fests, and events promoting a particular product. Brands can leverage this as an opportunity and share QR Codes during a presentation, and encourage their fans to scan it. These QR Codes can direct them to the brand’s social media accounts making them follow the accounts rather easily.
Digital influencers can use QR Codes on their YouTube and video content to encourage their viewers to stay connected.
Present QR Codes at stores where the influencer’s advertisements are displayed.
This not only boosts social media engagement and revenue for brands, but digital influencers can also benefit from it.
Facebook now has QR Codes on brand pages to send users to automatically like the page, check-in to a location, view active offers, and leave a review on the page.
In the case of a dynamic QR Code, they can exponentially change the marketing campaign according to their audience to analyze and retarget them via Facebook or Instagram Ads.
Fashion blogger Chiara Ferragni has her own line of clothing, shoes, bags, and jewelry. All her products come with a smart label that contains two codes – QR Code and a “secret code”. This code is to ensure that the product purchased is original or not that can be learned via the Chiara Ferrgni app.
If Chiara Ferragni would have leveraged dynamic QR Codes on her products that could redirect her shoppers to her Instagram account, it could increase her fan-following base. Not just that, she could also retarget the shoppers and send them customized notifications, deals and offers based on their click behavior.
According to eConsultancy, social media is one of the top five marketing vessels to generate a high ROI. Brands that run an online store only has a different approach in completing the social media and offline footfall loop.
Products purchased via an online store can make it quite difficult to follow them on their social media channels if the product packaging comes with just logos of social media channels. This journey can be made easier if the product packaging instead came with QR Codes, which upon scanning, not only makes consumers follow the brands but also gives them additional discounts and deals.
Dynamic QR Codes used on product packaging can help brands retarget their audience and change campaigns accordingly.
Products can be further promoted via consumers who can then become effective brand advocates. Collaborating with social media influencers also drives the overall footfall of the brand.
Running split A/B tests for multiple online campaigns can help brands focus on campaigns that are successful. Not just this, dynamic QR Codes can help brands analyze, track and retarget their customers and thereby change their campaigns accordingly.
3. Interactive media campaigns – online and offline
These days, most offline brands that have a strong foothold in the market have an online presence. This goes without saying.
Users want to exploit the advantages of both online (variety, access, interactivity) and offline convenience of physical products. Moreover, online and offline communication integration has higher repercussions and is also cost-effective.
This has driven brands to spruce up their online and offline marketing campaigns to complete the footfall loop.
Brands can complete this loop by leveraging QR Codes either on their products, print media campaigns or by collaborating with third-party brands and/or apps to increase their target audience and engagement.
Interactive media campaigns that allow consumers to get involved with the brand not only makes them feel important but also gives them a plausible reason to visit the brand more often.
Consumers now prefer an omnichannel shopping experience. Despite the huge number of eCommerce brands in the world, it only represents 11.9% of the global retail market.
This insinuates that brick-and-mortar brands have massive opportunities by amalgamating their offline business to digital platforms to complete the footfall loop to their stores.
According to a report by InVision 94% of first impressions depend on web design. When a brand improves its usability, fluidity, aesthetics, and design of its web page, customers will flock the online store, thereby increasing the footfall.
A well-designed website always gains more traction as opposed to a poorly designed website with multiple bouncebacks.
Leverage social media and offline marketing strategies to complete the loop via QR Codes
A traditional marketing campaign helps build trust and maintain loyalty with their brand, thus increasing their footfall overall.
Marketing via social media can help brands reach out to fan-base beyond their geographical boundaries, attract shoppers with their interactive media campaigns, and achieve a variety of other marketing tactics that an offline marketing strategy can’t perform.
It is imperative to blend the two marketing campaigns in order to gain an optimistic audience reaction, thus affecting the brand’s footfall pragmatically.
Some of the best ways to combine the online and offline marketing strategies are –
Offer discounts, coupons, and deals
Regardless of the size of the business or the industry, it is imperative to understand that brands are still selling their products to humans that crave exciting and personalized user experiences, both digitally and physically.
Any brand can retain its brand image and consistency by having customers that return to them. Maintaining a loyal customer base requires effort.
There are several ways to make a consumer feel special – offering them discounts, coupons or free trial products, a custom thank you note upon purchasing any item, and even by offering masterclasses to try and learn how to use their latest products.
Buyers are always on the look-out for brands that help them engage and be included. For any company regardless of its hold in the physical and/or digital world, holding promotional events such as pop-up stores, scavenger hunts, trivia, and other such fun activities attracts a sizeable amount of customers.
Promotional events which involves buyers in the campaign is one of the best ways to get them to head to the store since they offer experience that online stores can’t offer. Some of the best practices to increase the footfall are by conducting master classes by well-known public figures will attract more customers to the store (online and offline).
Place a QR Code at the master class venue, and offer customers a free gift hamper or an additional discount on the purchase of a product from the brand.
According to Capterra, employing stylists and experts who can educate buyers on-site guarantees people buy products and also learn how to use them, practically ensuring repeat purchases.
Brands like Sephora, Kylie Cosmetics, and LuluLemons have excelled at this. Sephora offers customers free mini-makeovers by their highly skilled make-up artists to teach them how to use the products. Brands can include a QR Code in their events, and upon scanning them, users can get an item for free, or get a discount on their products.
Sephora partnered with experiential innovation agency Wildbytes by taking personalization to the next level. The brand has installed an intelligent digital mirror in its flagship store in Madrid. It delivers a powerful hyper-personalized experience and provides recommendations to shoppers leveraging AI.
The shopper has to stand in front of the mirror and the mirror suggests maybe a suitable lipstick, moisturizer or an eyeliner based on the person. The shopper can then buy this by scanning the QR Code presented to them at the end of this ordeal.
78% of shoppers research their intended purchases before they go to stores, and one in four pull out their phone whilst at the stores to research.
Interactive technology has given retailers and shoppers a firm ground to step up their own game to be on par with their competitors. As the technology seems to catapult the good parts of retail and marketing, this new feature called click and collect seems to be the IT strategy for marketing for brands that have brick-and-mortar stores and online platforms.
Click and collect offers the ability to create highly targeted and relevant offers for customers who may be either at home or on the high street. This can also put the retailers at an advantage as it offers customers personalized promos when they are near stores to increase the in-store footfall and e-promos when they access their website.
Amazon is one of the best examples. In 2016, Amazon announced its new venture – Amazon Go.
Amazon Go is a grocery retail venture of Amazon. Shoppers can buy anything by downloading their exclusive app, and upon entering the store, they have to hold their mobile phones to an electronic turnstile. The system then scans the QR Code and adds up their items to a virtual cart, which is then paid for using their Amazon preloaded digital wallet after exiting the store.
QR Codes: Connect online and offline and prevent silos
QR Codes have proven to be a successful marketing campaigning strategy for over two decades now. QR Codes can help connect the physical and digital world seamlessly. They have always known to bring back customers, thus building the footfall of a company.
The most common misconception brands believe is that offline marketing tactics are more effective than online marketing tactics (social media) and vice versa. But on the contrary, the most powerful marketing tactics for brands leveraging offline and social media hold is when the two are married.
QR Codes stitch the tear between the online and offline world beautifully. They can be leveraged to any form and to any extent right from loyalty coupons, print media ads, promotions, experiential shopping, and increasing social media followers to have a favorable outcome.
According to Practical eCommerce, if brands want to get more footfall, they must emphasize the experience and not the products. Products don’t matter; they can just order them online, but experience matters.
Want to start a marketing campaign for an omnichannel presence leveraging QR Codes? Talk to a QR Code marketing expert on Beaconstac to know more and get started.
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