QR codes are 2-dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by almost any smart phone. Dundee’s Vicki Trattar explained to us why they launched into this new technology and how they hope to use it in the future.
Q: What is Dundee Nursery’s stance on using new technology to increase business?
Trattar: We view new technologies as opportunities for reaching and interacting with our existing customer base, as well as providing us means to attract new customers from a larger geographic area and non-traditional demographics. Whether the new technology is social or in the realm of matrix barcodes, we are always looking for new ways to approach the public and invite them to see all we have to offer.
Q: Why did you decide to use QR codes in promotional materials?
Trattar: At Dundee we decided to go with QR codes because they seemed to be in more widespread use than some of the other 2-dimensional codes. We have added them to print advertising and in-store signage. Their use gives us the ability to advertise ourselves as purveyors of information, as well as our traditional products. The QR codes we have used thus far have directed people to our website for additional information. Where we used the codes, we also told viewers what they are, how to use them and where to find the information if they don’t have access to the current technology. As overall use of QR codes becomes more prevalent, we would like people to remember that they saw them in use at Dundee!
Q: What challenges did you have with using the codes?
Trattar: Creating standard QR codes and dropping them into signs and advertising is no challenge at all as they are easy and free to create. As long as you have some information to link to, you’re all set. In our case, we have used the codes to send users to our website.
Our first use in print advertising was during our Holiday Sale, which ran early to mid-November. At this time of year many people are thinking about buying fresh cut Christmas trees, making spruce tip planters and wondering what to do with the amaryllis bulbs they’re getting as gifts. We provided QR codes on the ad to link people to the Dundee Fact Sheets on these topics, which are available on our website. We backed this up in-store near the appropriate product with individualized signs.
Q: What are Dundee Nursery’s plans for using technology, like QR codes, in the future?
Trattar: We are continually keeping an eye on the future and what it will bring to us in terms of technology. New things are fun; they’re popping up all the time, and if we can find a reasonable use for them in the retail environment, we will explore their implementation.
In the meantime, we will continue to investigate expanded uses for QR codes. QR codes were first developed to track parts through a complex manufacturing system and can also be applied to the production and transfer of product within the organization, as well. You can capture and relay so much more information with a 2-dimensional barcode than you can with the standard 1-dimensional code we are most familiar with.
Q: Why are QR codes important and how can other garden retailers use them successfully?
Trattar: QR codes are important because we are becoming more mobile as a society and the codes tie the retailer to the customer through their mobile devices. QR stands for “Quick Response” and any information you want to put into the hands of a consumer is instantly presented on the smart phone of the consumer. Keep the information relevant and you stay with the consumer. The links on the consumer’s phone can also be shared with other people.
Garden retailers can provide much needed growing assistance to their customers through the use of QR codes. The more ways we have to connect with people the better off we’ll be.
To be successful with QR codes or any new means of talking with consumers you have to have a strong base of information to draw from. This can include your website, blog and videos. Use what you have and link your good stuff to people. Find your own voice and then start talking!