QR codes are still a bit of an enigma for many people. If you’re one of those people, you might think that most people share the same indifference toward these funny looking bar codes. However, you might be surprised to hear that more than 50% of smartphone owners have scanned a QR code (ComScore), and they have grown by 120% from this time last year (NeoMedia).
Any smartphone equipped with a camera and a QR reader can scan a QR code, which serves as a link connecting you with digital or web content. This technology allows you to interact with your patients and customers on a higher level. Patients can scan these codes to learn about your products or services in a more interactive way. Consider placing these in your optical or dispensary inviting patients to scan the code to see a video on the benefits of polarized lenses, progressives, etc. Although we train our opticians to discuss these benefits, people tend to have a stronger emotional reaction to visual imagery. If patients can “see” the value, they may be pre-sold before even sitting down with the optician.
Showrooming is when a customer enters a brick and morter store to touch and feel the product and then goes online or to a big-box competitor to purchase at a lower price. While this is most common with electronics and retail clothing, I think its nonetheless worthy of our attention as online frame vendors become increasingly prevelant. Research has shown that the longer you can keep customers in your business and engaged in the products you sell, the greater the chance you will keep the sale in-house. Click HERE to see a quick video on QR codes and the showrooming effect.
Make it Easy!
A few suggestions on QR codes: If room permits, provide brief instructions for your tech-averse patients (ie. visit scan.mobi on your smartphone and download the QR reader). Also, let them know what will happen when they scan the code. Don’t simply assume they will scan it just because you placed it there. Lastly, consider that people who scan QR codes are on their mobile phone. Don’t send them to your desktop website. People on-the-go have short attention spans and want quick info, a full website does not render well on a 3 inch screen. Now if you have a “mobile website” – that’s a different story!
Turn Scans into Revenue
It should also be noted that a third of people who scan a QR code have a household income over $100K, so these might serve to attract consumers of a higher income level with greater spending power.
If you’re looking for ways to make your optical more interactive, click HERE to access a list of QR codes that link to educational videos. Take as many as you like – they’re free! (author’s note: I do have permission from the various companies to use / distribute these videos for patient education purposes)
About Steve: Steve Vargo, O.D., M.B.A. is in private practice in St. John, Indiana where he lives with his wife and 2 sons. He also founded iMobile Communications, and frequently writes and lectures about using technology for marketing and communication.