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Wine Marketing: QR Codes Reach The Main Stream?

Apr 11, 2011   |   Andrew Kamphuis Recommended for:   Marketing, Ecommerce, Tasting Room & Hospitality
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Even though QR codes have been around for more than 15 years, it seems like they are jusqrcode.jpgt now starting to reach main stream.  In the wine industry, I've seen QR codes on wine labels, tasting sheets, and shelf talkers. It wouldn't surprise me if they were being used throughout a winery (like a self tour).  Pamela Heiligenthal of Enobytes and OregonLive.com predicted that in 2011 QR Wine codes would be all the rage. 

Quite a few vendors in the wine space have embraced QR codes in their products.  Our friends at Cruvee have a novel implementation of QR codes in their wine syndication product.  Winergy has recently launched QR Harvester.  HelloVino has a webinar on QR codes today which should be interesting.  A company I've never heard of before QR4Wine has recently launched.  And of course, at Vin65, we have recently added the ability to generate QR codes for any product, page, wine club, etc inside our tools.

From a marketing perspective: 

Who is the audience?  Does the audience have access to a smart phone and the web?  (I recently heard of a QR code campaign launched in a subway - the problem is there was no internet accessibility in the subway where the QR codes were being scanned).  Less than 1/2 the population currently has a smart phone, so be mindful of your audience.

"What's in it for me?"  How are you going to entice your customers to scan your code? Why should they use 15 seconds of their time to take out their phone, open an app, and scan your code?  I recommend spelling out why your customer should scan your code. 

What content are you going to deliver? At the end of the day it's still about the content and if your customer scans your code, visits your link, and doesn't find what they are looking for, there is a possibility they will not scan your next QR code.

QR Codes aren't magical. There are a lot of basic applications (such as tasting sheets, labels, shelf talkers, coupons, etc) for QR codes. There are some really creative applications as well (HelloVino and Cruvee might better expand on that). Done correctly, the QR code can be used to deliver information that is both useful and meaningful to the consumer and drive a deeper connection.

From a technical perspective:

Are you able to track your QR code?  If you can't measure it, how will you know the impact?

Which URLs do you drive them to? Is there a mobile website in place (you know that most applications for QR Codes involve a customer using a smart phone)?.  If you put the QR Code on your wine label that can be a 3+ year commitment - do you own the URL behind the QR Code?  (For short term promotions, the ownership of the URL might not matter, but for a wine label or a longer commitment it really matters).

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Like other new technologies, I'd encourage you to experiment, monitor, and analyze the results.  Learn early (it's easier to fail when it's early in the game).  My personal opinion is that I wouldn't over-commit, but I would experiment.  QR codes may continue to takeoff (we are seeing QR code apps preinstalled on a lot of new phones), or they maybe overtaken by some newer technologies like NFC (Near Field Communication) or better photo recognition.

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