June 2011, Auto Dealer Today - WebXclusive
A QR, or quick response, code is a two-dimensional barcode that can be read by the camera of a smart phone. QR codes can contain all sorts of information like website URLs, map locations, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and product information.
“In a general sense, a QR code is used to link the reader of a print advertisement to related digital content,” said Mark Ruszczyk, product management director for eBizAutos. The most obvious application for QR codes within the dealership would seem to be their use in vehicle window stickers to link customers to more information. However, Ruszczyk noted, “Window stickers are just one of many potential uses for QR codes.”
Trevor Fagan, marketing director for Land Rover Las Vegas, said his dealership has been using QR codes in different ways in advertising and promotions for over nine months. “We’ve used them for various register-to-win promotions or even just as links to our mobile website in our advertising.” He said the codes have also been added to the window stickers of all new and used cars on the lot.
“Here in Las Vegas, all new car dealers are closed on Sundays, creating an environment of ‘Sunday Shoppers’ who walk the lots … without sales staff present to assist them. The QR codes give us one additional outlet of presenting the customers with more information about the vehicle than what the sticker offers (e.g., a Carfax report, engine specs, dimensions, etc.), as well as the opportunity to send us an e-mail requesting more information,” added Fagan.
Ruszczyk said that while having a mobile site isn’t required to use QR codes, “it does make it easier to provide a mobile-optimized link for the user.”
The use of QR codes, if managed in-house, will require constant vigilance. “The biggest mistakes you can make with QR codes are letting them expire and sending them to generic content,” said Joe High, general manager of websites at Dominion Dealer Solutions. “If your promotion expires from one QR code, simply go in and redirect it to a new landing page.” It’s important to send the customer somewhere specific and not lose the potential lead because of a broken link. “You have already accomplished one of the most difficult tasks in advertising, determining what the consumer is interested in. If your QR code is unique to the item it is on, send the consumer to something specific to that product or service. Why send them further back up the funnel?”
QR codes represent fairly new technology, and their potential applications within the dealership are still being explored. Only a handful of companies currently specialize in this area, but the field is growing. Some existing providers of other products like inventory management tools and mobile websites are beginning to explore this area, so there are some options for dealers who are interested in incorporating QR codes on the lot, in the showroom or in their advertising.
Vol. 8, Issue 3