QR codes have always been an intriguing piece of technology, but never really appeared to take off, as they weren't particularly convenient to use for customers. You historically needed to download a secondary app on your smartphone and consumers didn't conceptually understand the purpose of a QR code.
Well haven't things changed since COVID-19... Awareness of how to use QR codes have skyrocketed.
The ability to scan a QR code is now in-built into your Android or iOS device, and COVID-19 has generally meant that you are scanning a QR code daily to register your details when attending a public place due to COVID. In fact, the NSW government mandated the use of QR codes across all of their hospitality venues, integrating this information into the Service NSW app.
So now that society has forcefully learnt how to utilise QR codes in their everyday lives, we wanted to highlight FIVE long-term impacts that this adoption could have - particularly on small businesses.
1. QR codes will allow hospitality businesses to interact more with their customers
How often do you attend a coffee shop, a bar, or a restaurant and wish that you could provide some feedback (positive or negative) to the staff or about the food that you've eaten? For too long now, there has been no way to provide constructive feedback, other than verbally.
With QR codes, this could change very quickly. Hospitality venues will be easily able to place a scannable image at each table, allowing you to provide feedback, or to interact differently with the business. They could entice you with a 10% discount, and would capture your details in exchange to build up their email marketing database.
QR codes open up a gateway of opportunities to small hospitality businesses which would have historically been extremely time consuming (and costly) to implement!
2. QR codes will expedite business digitalisation
How annoying would it be for a hospitality venue to print off new menus every day? And what if they wanted to change an item on their menu - they'd have to re-create the whole thing!
Well not anymore...
QR codes will allow businesses to put the menu in the hands of the customers via their mobile phone. By simply scanning a QR code when sitting at their table, customers will be able to read through the menu on their phone.
This will not only save costs for the hospitality business, but will also ensure they can become much more flexible with their offerings. No longer do they have to re-print their menus every time an item changes, or if they vary their prices.
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3. They provide businesses with an ability to capture and analyse data
Too often, small businesses operate off of "gut feel". They know their regular customers well, but often could not tell you how many customers attended their shop, nor could they confidently tell you what type of demographic is attracted to their business.
With QR codes, this could change. Due to COVID-19, everybody has become used to signing in via QR codes. Moving forward, we feel that these codes could really benefit small businesses just by asking a couple of demographic-related questions - "Age, Interests, Food Preferences, Price Sensitivities".
This information could subsequently be used to inform strategic business decisions moving forward. It would bring small businesses into the 21st Century, where they can make data-driven decisions, instead of decisions that are primarily made from what they perceive to be the right thing for their business.
4. QR codes provide a gateway to digital payments
You walk into a restaurant and have to whip out your phone to look at the menu. You decide what you want to order but "DAMN, look that line...". Not to worry - you can order food & drinks through your phone now.
That is the ideal state, and is arguably not too far away with QR codes. It removes a customer pain point (lining up) and could arguably make the process more efficient for the hospitality venue who only has to focus on preparing the orders, instead of having to serve customers.
There's no need for a fancy iPad to be installed at every table because you can rely on the customer to bring the technology. The business just needs to ensure the QR code can integrate into their POS system...
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5. QR codes could take over barcodes
This final concept could be a bit of a stretch, but there is some evidence of it happening already. Imagine walking into Woolies, and utilising a QR code to scan all of your food items. They go into a basket and you pay on your phone without even having to proceed through a checkout.
It allows you to track your spend across the period of your shop, and you can also avoid the checkout queues... The opportunities are truly endless.
If you're keen to have a further chat about any of the concepts above, or if you have any other ideas about how we could utilise QR codes as a society, get in touch below!
The Bearded Man