Why the Best Online Marketing May Be Headed Offline

Hamilton Chan is CEO of Paperlinks and Paperspring. Through its iPhone app and QR web platform, the just-launched Paperlinks platform makes context-sensitive marketing plug-and-play for small, medium and large businesses.

The hyperlink is the fundamental building block of the Internet, and effectively ties reference points to useful content. Without the hyperlink, the web would be nothing more than silos of content lacking semantic connections.

Traditionally, hyperlinks live in browser windows on desktop monitors. Today, however, some hyperlinks are moving offline, where they can be “clicked” by people roaming the real world.

By printing a Quick Response (QR) bar code on any item — a lamp, the program booklet of an event, or a retail store window -– a consumer can quickly link from the real-world experience to rich web content via his smartphone. Using QR codes, jump points to the Internet can be placed anywhere in the physical world.

The ability to place a QR code on anything offers opportunities for businesses and consumers. These are a few examples of how a business can leverage QR codes and turn real-world “clicks” into sales:

You have been looking for the perfect lamp for your living room for a long time. You see the perfect one — not in a furniture show room, but in a hotel lobby. At the base of a lamp is a QR code. You scan it with your phone, click a link to “buy it now,” and purchase the lamp on the spot.

You drive across town to purchase a leather jacket from a fashion boutique. By the time you arrive, the store is closed. A retail window badge reads: “Sorry, we’re closed! Scan this code to buy online, and receive free shipping!” The free shipping offer is normally not available online, but since you made the trek, the store offers you a reward.

You attend a musical and have a great time. Reviewing the Playbill at home, you encounter a QR code that you can scan to order tickets for the next musical at the venue. The tickets are offered at 40% off, and the offer is only good for seven days. With the offer laid perfectly in front of you, and positive memories of tonight’s musical fresh in your mind, you purchase the tickets.

via Why the Best Online Marketing May Be Headed Offline.