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May 23, 2011 – QR Codes? ‘Love em!’

May 26, 2011
Filed under Features

Amanda Blackstone, marketing director for the three Freedom Power Sports dealerships in the Atlanta area, has two words that sum up her relationship with QR codes.

“Love ’em!” she said. “And we just started using them two months ago.”

What made the dealership decide to employ the codes, which can bring customers closer to products in a variety of ways with one scan by a smartphone?

“We wanted to be able to track our marketing pieces — mailers, banners, events. We also supply a Polaris Ranger for different events like Braves games and the ampitheatre, and we have a QR code on those. With any marketing piece or event we do, we attach a QR code to it.”

That’s right — Freedom Power Sports has a captive audience of thousands at music events and other productions at the Verizon Ampitheatre. The dealership provides the venue with a Ranger for VIP transportation. Often, the vehicle can be seen carting venue officials or entertainers to various locations on the grounds. All the while, it has a QR code that visitors can scan. When the Ranger is parked at a specific location, attendees can scan the code and be taken virtually to a mini mobile website that provides information about Freedom Power Sports.

There’s strength in numbers, and Freedom Power Sports has seen the results via its QR code on another Ranger it supplies at Turner Field, home of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves. That unit is emblazoned with a QR code that similarly sends the interested customer to the Freedom Power Sports mobile mini site when the code is scanned.

TRACK PROMOTIONS

The codes also work effectively for dealership promotions. For a Triumph dealer day, Blackstone created a code that she placed on each of the Triumph hangtags.

“The first certain number of people who scanned the QR code and opted-in to our Freedom Connect club with their name and contact information got a Triumph T-shirt,” she said.

At every point of sale in the stores, customers can scan a QR code and join Freedom Connect, the dealership’s VIP customer database. Employees also have QR codes on the back of their business cards that direct customers to opt-in to Freedom Connect by providing a range of important information, including name, address, phone number, e-mail address and text number. The staff can then track the number of VIP enrollments that each employee registers via the unique QR code on the back of each employee’s business cards.

Blackstone is excited about the possibilities after only two months of using the QR codes. She’s finding that the technology helps to attract customers who otherwise might not become part of the dealership.

“The Victory Motorcycles truck was at Bike Week in Daytona, and we had an event where you could either use your smartphone to scan the QR code, or you could enroll with an iPad that I had set up on site if you couldn’t do it with your phone,” she said.

Customers who opted in to Freedom Connect and purchased a Victory Motorcycle during the event received $1,000 worth of Victory accessories.

“That one had a pretty good carrot attached to it for opting in,” Blackstone said. “That sales drive didn’t expire until a few weeks after Daytona, so we could send texts to people letting them know that there were only a certain amount of days left to buy and get their $1,000 in Victory accessories.”

An event as simple as a fundraising raffle has enabled the dealership to reach a breadth of potential customers.

“I’d say we’re pretty unique in the different ways we use [QR codes],” she said. “We’re an official partner of the Ride to Love for the American Diabetes Association. We sell raffle tickets as part of it and we have QR codes on the back of every raffle ticket so that riders can opt in to Freedom Connect. It’s endless what you can do with QR codes.

“Customers like the QR codes. They’re new, interesting. They see one and think ‘Hey, what’s that going to get me? Let’s see.’ You scan the code and see where it takes you.”

QUICK PROCESS

Blackstone estimates it takes about 15 minutes to build a website page that connects the customer to the dealership. The code is built less than a second after she hits “return” on her keypad. So her time expense compared to the list of prospects the dealership receives is a non-factor.

“Right now I’m sending out a text to our Freedom Connect members about once a month,” she said. “We have a pretty big event going once a month, and it’s another way to make sure they know about it, and bring them into the dealership.

“As we get more people to opt-in, we’ll be able to do things like say, ‘Victory Tuesday’ or ‘Triumph Thursday,’ where we can have events that are tailored to people who want to learn more about those brands.”

Simply put, Blackstone employs QR codes that get in front of as many potential customers as possible.

“We have a display at the Publix grocery stores here with Miller Lite and Sea-Doo. I put a QR code on that goes to a mini mobile site that shows what brands we carry,” she said. “Anyone in the grocery store can scan it. It could be a one-sheet flier or a banner we’re using in house — it’s going to have a QR code on it.”

The codes are also an effective way to verify the results of a promotion.

“I could see the opt-ins from the QR code displays by the minute in Daytona,” she said.

Blackstone continues to find ways to get customers engaged and keeping the dealership at the top of their minds.

“Maybe it’s a slow Tuesday or Thursday. I’ll send out a text to the Freedom Club members only — 15 percent off all accessories, today only. We can see that they’re Freedom Club members when they check out.”

With a few strokes of the keypad, Freedom Power Sports once again returned to the radar for social-media savvy potential customers. psb

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