The World is going digital with each passing day and technology is becoming exponentially more important to simplify life on our digital planet. We are producing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data each day by 3.7 billion humans accessing internet. We have produced 90% of the data in the world over last two years and this pace is accelerating by each passing day.
This huge volume of data leads to user fatigue every time users are searching or accessing a useful information. Users often input via keyboard a website URL, a Code or text, messages, contact details etc. as a digital planet citizen in private or corporate life. Keyboard input often leads to following challenges for users –
- Typing errors (more often with key boards getting shorter with display size of mobile devices)
- Mental fatigue (remembering and typing)
- Longer cycle times of input and transaction completion
Above challenges are further aggravated by Impatience and immediate response expectation habits of our digital generations checking their phones 150 times a day (every 5 minutes during day).
Do we have a better technological solution to avoid user attempts via keyboard?
Yes, you would have seen black & white colour barcode on newspapers, websites, magazines etc. QR code or Quick Response code is answer to all user problems for enabling just in time access to any URL, contact card,
This evolution started in year 1948, when Bernard Silver and Norman Joseph created first barcode (or unidirectional barcode) to cut human data entry errors and relieve the workers from pain of data entry. By late 1970s, Barcode were necessary part of inventory tracking especially in retail and automobile manufacturing. Unidirectional barcodes could store information up to 20 characters depending on length of barcode. This approach was further formalised via Universal Product Code (UPC) in 1980s. UPC offered benefit of managing common products easily to retailers. There were some limitations with unidirectional barcode technology like reading of barcode at a particular angle, maximum character storage limit, character type limit (alphanumeric only), requirement of a minimum space on label and vulnerability to dirt.
In 1987, David Allais developed first 2 D barcode (Code 49), a predecessor to popular PDF417. Soon market was flooded with proprietary 2 D codes as these codes were compact and store more data in multiple data formats.
Quest for quicker and error free assembly lines motivated Masahiro Hara from Denso Wave (a sister concern of Toyota) to develop first QR code as we know today. Denso wave made its patented QR code research and specifications public so that anyone was free to use it. This democratic decision helped in public use of QR code at a mass level. Initial use cases of QR code were automobile, pharmaceutical and retail industry as a replacement of prevalent unidirectional codes for inventory tracking due to advantages like higher storage capacity (7,089 numerical characters or 2,953 alphanumeric characters), compact size and space requirement, convenience of scanning (at any angle) and better readability despite wearing and damage ( up to 30% damage).
Businesses across the globe have started leveraging QR code technology to efficiently manage product (and service) life cycle beyond the supply chain till repeat purchase and end of product life.
Some of interesting use cases into customer loyalty and rewards program offer following benefits to business by utilizing and integrating versatile QR technology with business apps –
- Capture performance of media promotions and campaigns based on actual sales
- Capture customer information and preferences for products and services
- Effectively segment customer based on preferences and design product and promotions
- Enhance customer loyalty for business brand over competitors
- Maximize customer visits and average spend per visit
- Capture customer feedback about products and services
QR code technology enhances traditional approaches by better, authentic and real fact based data capturing in terms of data points like location, sales / service delivery centre, product information, customer information and multiple other points of business interest resulting in better rewards for customer and businesses.
Business team can further utilize customer and usage data can be further analyzed using IT applications for monitoring program performance against business KPIs in real time. Useful insights like unique customer identification, coupon redemption, product lifting performance, campaign performance, and average discount metrics. This business critical information can be very simply collected without any significant investments in additional hardware, complicated POS integrations but offers good customer and product insights to business team. This definitely helps in building better recall and relationship between consumers and marketers.
Some of the prominent business cases have been run across globe by global giants like DANONE in SPAIN by linking customer earnings up to $ 50 per month as discount coupons via scanning of QR code printed on products using customer mobile phone. McDonalds and Dominos have also launched innovative campaigns with IT solution partners to surprise customers by utilizing customer geo-locations.
Technical products have also leveraged QR code features of extensive data capturing for registration and warranty verification related processes. OEMs have started adding a QR code image to product and receipts and end user can easily register a product by scanning QR code image from his smart phone without going through extensive information (model number, serial number, manufacturing dates etc.) at product registration forms. QR code technology based approach has helped in improving data accuracy, compliance of product registration and reduces product support cost. Same QR code is scanned by service engineers at the time of product service and warranty support to end customers for capturing product related data. This data is used by engineering team to analyze product failure and support related calls for further improving products and end user experience.
Business across the globe has demonstrated confidence in QR code technology, acceptance and partner ecosystem. Organizations are engaging with right QR code technology partners for capturing data beyond inventory and addressing business challenges and reaping better benefits in asset tracking, social media, marketing & promotion, warranty services areas.
It’s a race every business is joining and early adopters have started reaping benefits due to low overhead cost, quick turnaround and direct impact on top and bottom line of business.