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Monday, May 27, 2024

QR Codes Connecting Brands and Consumers

Digiphy, a Westside-based technology startup, is helping brands connect directly with customers through scannable QR — quick response — codes that link to customizable mobile-first landing pages, product packaging and other marketing assets to instantly become an “always-on” advertising channel.

Say, for example, a customer orders a clothing item from third-party seller Amazon. If the original clothing retailer utilizes QR codes on its packaging, the customer can scan that code and be sent to the brand’s social media page. This creates a direct connection between a consumer and a small business. On the one hand, the customer gets to see who the retailer is they are purchasing from; on the other, the brand is able to have a better idea of who their customers are.

A QR code is a type of bar code that consists of a printed square pattern of small black and white squares that encode data. Using Digiphy, companies can capture customer data and insights to accelerate sales and build trust.

QR codes are not a new invention. However, they have grown in their capabilities and can be used in a number of ways, including to redirect users to landing pages, websites or social media profiles. According to company research platform Crunchbase, there are 292 QR code generator companies in the U.S. In 2021, 45% of U.S. shoppers said they had used a marketing related QR code in the three months leading up to the survey, according to Statista.

Using its no-code tool, Digiphy users create a new form of marketing.

DIGIPHY co-founder and CEO, Sarah Ellenbogen.
Digiphy CEO Sarah Ellenbogen in the company’s Westside offices.

How it works

With digital ads being more expensive and less effective, brands are looking for marketing alternatives, especially those that sell products via third-party retailers. Digiphy’s tools are a way for small businesses to have what the company’s founder and chief executive, Sarah Ellenbogen, calls an “always-on marketing channel.”

The tool allows brands to create QR and landing pages and capture customer data and omnichannel analytics without large teams or expensive budgets.

For example, a potential customer who scans a bicycle brand’s QR code would be sent to a webpage with more information about the company and product.

“What we do is we activate physical products and marketing assets with a no-code tool,” Ellenbogen explained. “This no-code tool combines QR with a flexible page builder, so we allow brands to tell a story from the product using QR as an entry point for a customer. They can contextualize the story, the utility, the engagement that a customer has based on where that user is scanning from. Are they scanning from a shelf in a store or a billboard ad or the product package itself? Using our page builder, they can drive conversions.”

If a brand wants to show a customer the supply chain traceability of their product, offer a promotion, or provide recipes or other useful content, Digiphy’s platform is built to give businesses creative freedom.

In the QR space, there are many ways for brands to generate codes for free. The Digiphy marketing platform is available to businesses via subscription for $49 a month, which includes a free trial that allows users to generate one QR code and one landing page. This free version has limited access to analytics.

The power of QR

“The goal is to get them to upsell to our starter package, which has unlimited QR codes and unlimited pages that they can build,” Ellenbogen said. “You want every product to have a unique QR code, you want every shelf topper or billboard ad or TV campaign to have a separate QR code so that you can capture analytics and insights on that scan location. That’s really important. That’s why the unlimited (tier) is really important for us, because you don’t want just one QR code on all 50 of your products, you want 50 QR codes on each of them.”

According to the company, early adopters found success, achieving a 21% average click-through rate and a 35% rate for reorders and email opt-ins.

When comparing free QR code services with Digiphy’s subscription services, Ellenbogen said the company is educating brands about why paying more for the integration services and creative abilities is preferable for their businesses.

Doreen Shanahan, professor of marketing at Pepperdine University’s Graziadio Business School, explained the difference between static and dynamic QR codes. A static QR codes contains fixed information, such as a restaurant menu or movie ticket. Dynamic QR codes are more complex. They can send a user to a website and can be edited after completion.

“This idea of dynamic and creating websites and using a lot more creativity to engage with consumers, create calls of actions, to drive traffic, beyond just sharing information, is where the real power of these QR codes come into play even more,” Shanahan said.

She continued to explain that companies using dynamic codes need an interface to help them simplify the customer information they are gathering. That is where Digiphy comes in.

“That is (Digiphy’s) value proposition,” Shanahan said. “They’re basically saying, ‘we can let you try it free, but if you really want to get into creating some campaigns using QR codes in a very dynamic way for interacting with your consumers and getting customer permission to data, capturing that and then using contextual marketing to remarket to them, then, it’s a little beyond what the free QR codes can allow you to do.’”

Creating these dynamic QR codes can be difficult, and Digiphy is marketing towards a specific group of companies.

“It requires a lot more capabilities within a marketing organization to understand not just the technology, but to have the creativity to think about how to develop a campaign through the QR code, as well as to capture all of that data and continue to use it in play,” Shanahan continued. “I think that’s where marketing agencies can become a very effective resource. (Digiphy) appears to be focused on small to midsize businesses, and my suspicion is that’s a great target market for them. Those are organizations that have somewhat limited people in their marketing department and using outside resources to help them with these complex technologies to really make best use of it for the benefit of their business can be very advantageous.”

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