West Points

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

QR Codes: Post Purchase Power?

by Heather Gurewitz

Mendocino Women's Business Center Director

I recently noticed a QR code on the inside of my phone bill, inside the container of my commercially grown strawberries, and on some other products for post-purchase clicking. So, is there value to post purchase QR codes? I think there may be...

One of the fundamental questions I always tell my clients to ask themselves is: "Are you making it as easy and convenient as possible for people to give you their money?" If the answer is not yes, the next question is: "How can you make it easier?"

If you are sending someone an invoice with "due on receipt", it probably still goes into a pile with other bills that are due on receipt and require the writing of a check. Even if you have a "pay on-line" option, that person still has to go find your online payment system, probably set up an account and make the payment. However, if you generate a QR code (which takes about 15 seconds) to put on every bill you send out that takes people directly to their balance due with the option to pay immediately with a credit card, paypal, or even checking account, imagine the possibilities.

Your client, instead of putting the bill in the stack, clicks on the QR code which takes them to your online PayPal, Google Checkout, or other merchant account, and allows them to pay immediately via their smart phone. I wish I could offer a guarantee that this would work, but hey, it's the world of business so instead we have to review risk versus potential outcome. So, what do you risk? 15 seconds of time making a QR code and maybe another 30 pasting it into the proper spot on the invoice. What's the reward? A faster turnover of accounts receivable means more available cash for the business, resulting in you sleeping better at night because you don't have to worry about your rent check bouncing.

While I still agree that QR codes are imperfect, as mobile technology grows, so does the market. In our recent survey most people said the cost was prohibitive, but as the efficiency, applicability, and access to the technology grows, more and more people are going to be using it, especially those with purchase power. So, if they have the power, let them purchase! Make it easier for people to give you their money. It's good for your business.

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