Harnessing the Power of 2D Barcodes for Small Business


What if you could engage customers standing in line and expand your social media reach at the same time?

A recently-funded startup, MSKYNET, aims to demystify QR Codes for small businesses. The interactive and analytical power inherent in the QR code may be common knowledge at this point, but harnessing that power may seem overwhelming to small business and franchise owners. The service launched by MSKYNET allows businesses to create and analyze the usage of 2D barcodes called SPARQCodes, that connect their customers with their social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Gowalla, and Foursquare.

SPARQCodes differ slightly from normal QR codes because they link to a URL rather than embedding payload data into the QR code itself. The new feature, Connect N Share, empowers businesses to generate QR codes that link to the their Twitter and/or Facebook presence. The codes are placed on a printout near checkout, encouraging customers to scan the QR codes while waiting in line. Each person who waits in line is a potential Facebook fan or Twitter follower, representing an expansion in the reach of the marketing message and the potential for increased brand loyalty.

Obtaining a QR code printout through the MSKYNET service is simple. Users type the business name and the web app automatically attempts to locate matching Facebook and Twitter accounts. If the automated system fails to return the proper business, it can be found manually. Next the address is entered, and the app pairs Foursquare, Gowalla, and UrbanSpoon accounts. Finally, add a logo, click Build it!. The site will generate a printout with your QR codes, directing visitors to your business to scan them.

In order to like or follow your business, Customers will have to log into their Facebook or Twitter accounts, if they are not logged in already. This extra step may represent a bump in the user experience for users who are accustomed to checking in with their smartphone's Facebook or Twitter application.

Founder Jesse Chor says. “The company is mainly targeting small businesses and franchises, which tend to value a social media presence, but do not usually have the technical expertise to make their own QR codes.”

barcode_fbThe service provides a number of features including real-time analytics, customer retention, loyalty programs, customer feedback and raw data and offers packages ranging from free to over $100/month. Essentially, MSKYNET is providing a 'box set' solution for QR Codes and social media marketing.

Of course, MSKYNET is not the first kid on the block to offer QR code analytics. There are a number of good companies out there (techcrunch suggests this list), and with a little research any small business owner can find a good solution that enables them to harness the power of QR Codes.

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