QR Codes Integrate Print, E-Media

Smart phones have not only changed the way we communicate with one another, they have also transformed the business landscape, connecting members with online resources from the palm of their hand.

The growth of mobile makes it possible for members to complete the critical financial transactions that drive business from almost anywhere, anytime. For credit unions, mobile provides an opportunity to encourage members to adopt electronic delivery. As a result, credit unions may communicate with members in a faster more efficient method.

While tech savvy members may have already made the switch to e-delivery, others may be more reluctant to give up paper statements. An easy way to integrate print and e-delivery programs via mobile is through the use of Quick Response (QR) codes-two dimensional barcodes that when scanned by a smartphone direct users to online content.

Familiarity with QR codes continues to rise. Internet marketing research firm comScore released a study recently showing that in June 2011 about 14-million mobile users in the U.S. scanned a QR code on their mobile device. Developed initially by an auto parts manufacturer in Japan to track inventory, QR codes are now frequently used by marketers. You may already be aware of QR codes after seeing them on billboards, magazines, in-store displays or other printed material. Applications to scan and read QR codes on a mobile device are easy to install and readily available from app stores free of charge.


How To Use QR Codes

Because QR code technology is content-neutral and relatively easy and inexpensive to employ, credit unions can implement them in many ways to support their operations, website and specific electronic delivery programs.

* QR codes printed on regular monthly statements can direct your members to a secure, mobile-optimized website where they can sign up for electronic notifications and delivery of their statements, reducing your postage costs in the process.

* A QR code on a statement can send a member to online resources housing additional information regarding services your credit union offers, a retirement savings calculator or budgeting tips.

* QR codes help encourage members to "opt-in" to receive more information. A statement enhanced with a QR code directs members to an online site where they can choose to receive an electronic newsletter or notifications about their services and statements.

* QR codes can be combined with personalized URLs-personalized website addresses that take members to a microsite customized just for them. Members are directed to customized microsites to review services that they currently are not using. Targeting specific members with customized marketing messages is shown to significantly increase response rates.


How To Increase Engagement

QR codes are a very effective method of communication with younger members who grew up with computers and the Internet and who feel comfortable using technology, but the codes also support interaction with those who may be more reluctant to communicate online.

Even members who prefer conventional mailed communications may use QR codes as a way to instantly link from hard copy documents to your website using their smartphone, simplifying the process of finding a specific web page. Members avoid the hassle of using search engines, typing in long URL addresses, or having to drill down through multiple web pages to find what they're looking for as QR codes bring members to a specific web page in seconds.

To measure the effectiveness of your QR codes, be sure your third-party service provider, or the software program your credit union is using itself, offers a robust tracking system. A tracking program should be able to determine how many QR codes were scanned per day, the times of those scans, and the location of the scans.

QR codes give credit unions just one more way to reach out to members and provide a quick and easy means for response. The versatility of QR codes makes them adaptable to your organization's particular operations and website configuration.

For both promotional purposes and to encourage adoption of e-delivery programs, QR codes can be an effective way to improve transactional communications.

Harry Stephens is President/CEO, and founder of DATAMATX. For info: www.datamatx.com.