What Can Quick Response Codes Do For You? - Black Enterprise
Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

Fifteen years ago when websites started appearing in advertisements, store windows, in the media, and on business cards, the average person was perplexed about what they were and most never imagined they would one day be a routine part of our everyday lives.

Fast-forward to 2010 and you might say the same thing about quick response codes (QR codes)–the black-and-white barcodes (shown above) that can unleash Web pages, videos, contact information, and promotions when scanned with a barcode reader app on a smartphone. Wayne Sutton thinks they will become just as ubiquitous and recognizable as the phrase “dot-com”.

QR codes give users an interactive mobile experience while allowing small businesses to collect data and market their services on mobile devices, explains Sutton, business development and marketing strategist at TriOutWorld.com, a geolocation service that helps people “try out” new venues in various cities.

Sutton and his colleagues at the Raleigh, North Carolina-based TriOut were so sure that QR codes were the next wave of the future they incorporated them into their business model when the company launched in February 2010.

Small businesses can use the codes to share sale prices or promotions, portfolios, or collect customer contact information. Once the codes are scanned, businesses can then track customer spending habits and tell where, when, and what type of device scanned the code; whether it was scanned 10 times by one person or 10 times by different people, and where they went before and after they scanned the code.

“QR codes are gateways to build relationships and enhance customer experience which can lead to word-of-mouth marketing,” says Sutton.

Similar to other location-based sites such as Foursquare and Gowalla, TriOut allows users to check in at retailers, using TriOut barcode scanners on their cell phones, and potentially claim rewards and coupons. (Want to learn more about geolocation? Read “Square Biz,” Small Biz, this issue.)

TriOut does the same thing, but with a twist. The free TriOut app, currently available on the iPhone and scheduled for the Android during the first quarter of this year, has a built-in QR code reader. So, instead of checking in, TriOut users scan in with QR codes that businesses display in storefront windows and print on marketing materials. Scanning in makes the check-in process quicker and more accurate since the user doesn’t need to interrupt what they are doing to search for an establishment by typing in its name.

Users can conveniently do a walk-by scan during rush hour or after hours when the business is closed and still get the information they need, says Sutton. Also, users can check in at multiple location-based services with just one scan to catch up with friends on other platforms.

TriOut is free for customers, and any business can create a QR code for free on the TriOut dashboard or with any number of free QR code generators. After a 30-day trial, businesses pay $49.99 per month to communicate directly with their customers and receive real-time alerts and analytics. The codes take users to a company’s landing page on TriOut, which can link back to the company’s own mobile site.

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, SocialWayne.com chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining BlackEnterprise.com as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.

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