6 Ideas For Restaurants

It’s hard to think of a industry with more competition then the food and hospitality industry. So many places to choose from, and so much variety, restaurants need to one up their competition whenever they see the opportunity. By tapping into the mobile market, restaurants can do just that, here are some great examples. 1.…


QR Codes Change The Way We Play Cards

Bicycle brand playing cards, has developed a new game style played with ‘Jacked Up’ decks in which some of the cards have QR Codes.  The decks will be available in April for the classic games of Solitaire, War and Hearts.  When you scan the QR codes using the Bicycle QR app, it changes rules to the game, putting a cool spin on the classic card games.  The card decks will also include a snazzy phone stand, as seen in the video below!


QR Codes Make Gardening Simple

Over the past weekend we decided to take a trip to Home Depot to pick up a few plants with the hope that we could add some life and oxygen to our small city studio. Upon arriving in the gardening section I was pretty surprised to find that Home Depot seems to be one of the few companies using QR codes to their fullest potential, and in the gardening section nonetheless.

Upon scanning the codes the user is taken to a mobile friendly website that is specific to each plant. The mobile site contains a plethora of information geared towards educating the consumer about the plant and how to care for it. I found this particularly helpful as I don’t have much of a green thumb and tend to have pretty bad luck with keeping plants alive.

This is just another great example of QR codes being put to good use. I gained helpful insight into the product that I had purchased and in exchange I will continue to scan and engage with Home Depot QR codes.


Smartphone Shipments Top PC’s For First Time Ever

In 2011, Smartphone shipments topped PCs for the first time ever, by 73 million units, according to figures published by research firm Canalys on Friday.  If you were questioning the popularity of the smartphone, just thinking it was a niche product, this is a huge wake up call.  Last year a total of 487.7 million smartphones were shipped. Only 414.6 million PCs, which include tablet PCs, shipped. That’s a 62.7 percent increase on shipments of smartphones over 2010.

This is all Apples fault!  They are the ones killing the PC, with 37 million iphones sold in the fourth quarter alone, the PC is looking like it will need a hail marry touch down to comeback.

“In the space of a few years, smartphones have grown from being a niche product segment at the high-end of the mobile phone market to becoming a truly mass-market proposition,” Canalys VP Chris Jones said. “The greater availability of smartphones at lower price points has helped tremendously, but there has been a driving trend of increasing consumer appetite for Internet browsing, content consumption and engaging with apps and services on mobile devices.”

To be real, the smartphone industry is just beginning, we have to also take in the fact that people do not replace PC’s every year or two like they do with phones.  Regardless, smartphones are becoming easier and easier to come by as they get less expensive, and more available to everyone.  The tides have turned, and the entire world, is now going mobile.


5 Gum Tries QR But No Cigar

After a night of chinese food and beer, I needed some gum.  I went for the very first pack of gum I saw, which was Rain 5, with very fancy limited designed packaging.  As I opened the flap to extract a piece of gum, a QR code stole my eyes!  I immediately scanned it, lead me to a really cool landing page that starts a video, only problem is it didn’t quite fit my android screen, must have developed it only for a Iphone or tablet :( Also, I was very confused after watching the video, what the hell did they want me to do?  play a game?  with a code on the packaging? That would be cool, but there wasn’t a way to access it from my phone, another sad :(  5 gum gave it a good shot, they were almost there, here is what you can learn from their sad QR code campaign.

  1. Make the QR code visible on the outside of the packaging, to increase scans, and sales.  Maybe they buy the gum with the code on the  outside, because they watched a cool video before they bought it.
  2. Brand the code, make the code code more desirable to scan for the users, and don’t hinder the design of the packaging with a ugly black and white QR code.
  3. The mobile landing page should fit all mobile devices the same, and call to action, there was no way to share or access the game, it was only a video.



QR Codes In Action At Bombay Bowl

We decided to try out something new for lunch yesterday. That “something new” was an Indian restaurant called Bombay Bowl, a nice little place wedged between a Starbucks and Jamba Juice in a crowded shopette. Little did I know, there was a pleasant QR code surprise waiting for me inside.

Upon entering I was delighted to see a large poster baring the tagline “Get your curry in a hurry”. The poster also had three distinct QR codes, two of which link you to mobile friendly versions of their Facebook fan page and twitter page. The other code on the poster assists you in signing up for their “eclub”, which I’m assuming is their email list.

At this point I was pretty impressed that Bombay Bowl had chosen to embrace QR codes and display them in their entrance area, but of course I’m still able to find something that could be improved. While the QR codes are large enough to scan from a decent distance and are on a nice white background, I can still see how people who are new to QR codes may pass by the display without taking any action, as there is no direct message telling people to “Scan these QR codes with your smartphone!”. We have to remember that while it may seem obvious to us, we are still in the early adoption phase and there are many who still need to be told to use their smartphones to interact with QR codes.

In addition to the well placed entrance QR codes, I was able to spot another QR code in action. Placed on each table there was a nice sized table tent with a witty phrase about healthy eating and a deep red QR code to match. Upon scanning the QR code, the user lands on a mobile landing page that enables them to find other “Smart Meal” restaurants around them.

This code was well executed but I think sending the user to a mobile website specifically for Bombay Bowl probably would’ve been a more beneficial and engaging experience for both the user and the business.

So what can we take away from Bombay Bowl’s QR code campaign?

The Good News:

  • Multiple QR codes through out establishment
  • QR Codes all went to mobile friendly destinations
  • All QR codes were easy to scan and in well lit areas
  • Ways To Improve:

  • Placing calls to action near the codes could lead to more scans
  • Table tent QR codes could’ve been capitalized on by leading users to Bombay Bowl mobile site
  • Branding the QR codes with the Bombay Bowl elephant would’ve been a nice touch

  • Bottomline:

    An enthusiastic start that could be fine tuned for significantly better results.


    KIDzOUT – Know Where To Go

    I think it’s fair to say that we make and see a lot of custom QR codes each day, but when I saw the QR codes that our designer Victor recently made for the new KIDzOUT app, I knew I had to post them here for the world to see! Click to enlarge each image!

    I asked Seth Heine to give us the scoop on his new map-based family app.

    “KIDzOUT is a GPS based smartphone app for families on the go – use it to Know Where to Go… You can use the app to find user-rated and reviewed Diaper Deck locations (sorted by women’s rooms, men’s rooms and family rooms), Family Friendly Restaurants (sorted by having booster seats, high chairs, gluten free menu options, kids menus, playgrounds), Play areas (a park finder that sorts by playground features, restrooms, water fountains), and Medical facilities (ER’s, hospitals, pharmacies, drugstores etc). The idea is to provide a smartphone app that helps you solve most of the little problems that can become overwhelming when you are out and about with the kids, and “it happens”. The show stopper could be a diaper blow out, a hunger tantrum, the kids simply have to go run around, or someone got hurt and needs some attention. As a parent, I know you know what I am talking about, and could have used a tool like this before.”

    The app is available today and can be downloaded for FREE from the iTunes app store at the following link: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kidzout/id483250586?ls=1&mt=8

    For more info:


    6 Pillars of a Killer QR Code Campaign: Part 3 of 5

    Now that we’ve tackled the issue of valuable mobile content it’s time to take a look at the second pillar which is a crowded but important space – Dynamic QR Codes and QR code analytics.

    Many of you may or may not be familiar with dynamic QR codes and the distinct advantages they have over a normal hard linked QR code. In it’s simplest form a dynamic QR code is a QR code that is encoded with a short URL that points to your long form URL and can be changed at any time (that was a mouth full!). Generating a dynamic QR code is generally just as easy as creating a normal QR code but in most cases requires an account with a site like QRstuff to store, change, and track the dynamic codes you’ve generated. To illustrate how a dynamic QR code works I’ve put together this simple timeline image:

    In the example above you can see that the original long URL is http://QRlicious.com and I’ve used QRstuff to shorten the long URL and generate a dynamic QR code that leads to http://qrs.ly/gm17qsu. In this example I generated this code on January 1st and at first it points to a mobile landing page with a coupon on it at http://QRlicious.com, I then decide to change my dynamic QR code on April 1st to point to a mobile landing page at http://QRlicious.com/lead-capture that has a lead capture form on it. From here I can continue to change my dynamic QR code’s long destination URL at any time without the short URL ever having to change. This also means I don’t have to reprint and rebrand my QR codes every time I want to tweak or change my QR code’s link/data.

    The other advantage to using dynamic QR codes is the ability to easily gather analytics data on your QR code’s performance out in the wild. This can be accomplished because you are using a short dynamic URL that can be tracked by your short URL provider. There are a lot of dynamic QR code providers and their analytics features tend to vary but in general they can all tell you how many scans each of your QR codes has had and what devices your users are using to scan your codes. Gathering analytics is an important part of conducting a successful QR code campaign, as you can use the information you’ve gathered to modify your code’s location, appearance, and destination URL to fit your campaign’s unique needs. This is the best way to insure that your QR codes are well received by your target audience and truthfully, the only way to verify that your QR codes are working well for you is through constant testing, analyzing, and tweaking.

    A snapshot of the QRstuff analytics dashboard.

    Feel free to ask questions or leave your thoughts in the comments below! We’ll be back next week with the fourth installment of this five part blog series where we will cover branding your QR codes.

    Also, if you haven’t read the previous posts in this series please do so at the following links:
    Part one
    Part two