How using Q-R Codes will help you benefit their business.
Let’s say that you are a merchandiser and your catalog displays product blocks from a number of different manufacturers. Of course, your designers work diligently to create a great visual presentation. Your copywriters create a compelling reason to purchase a product. Have you done all that you can to make “browsers” into paying customers?
The answer to that question is measured in units of time. How quickly will your keyword-rich, and stylish catalog block convert to a sale?
Think about the next steps for your catalog audience. They will, at some point, need to drop the print version onto their desks and go online.
Next, they will need to wend their way through your product hierarchy to the very same product. Let’s assume that is reasonably easy to do. You’ve at least doubled the amount of time that it should take you to connect your client, to THEIR customer.
Enhancing Your Print Catalog
Think of your print catalog as an engagement vehicle. Your text and images have inspired a potential client to take action. Here’s where you can take complete control of the actions that they take.
You have no way of knowing their familiarity or comfort with doing an internet search. Even crazier (and costlier) your copy and images could lead them to a competitor for an order.
You are asking your reader to conduct a browser search for a particular product. How can you be sure that they are going to end up on your site? The chances of that are remote, at best.
Your catalog audience is begging you to spell out the next step for them. With a little ground work and co-operation with your own marketing department, you can improve responses from customers. You will also display to your clients that you are an effective advocate for them.
Leveraging Your Database
You already invested in a Catalog Database System. You have the ability to virtually point and click to fill a layout block with text and images. So what is missing? Have you considered a product-specific URL field that is linked to a specific item?
Here’s an example. A while ago, beginning steps for Creating Engaging PDFs was posted on our blog. This reference, of course, can be hyperlinked electronically. Clients should have the option to act immediately.
This puts the “hyper” in hyperlink. There is now an urgency with the text and it gives the readers the option to create their own story.http://www.catsy.com/r5/creating-engaging-catalog-pdfs.htm may be an interesting jumping off point to enhance the current story.
This makes perfect sense in the internet world. The challenge is figuring out a way to create laser focus for our PDF and print catalog users. Remember, the goal is to get them onto the same web page as those who browse electronically.
You can do that in almost the same amount of time. Remember, you only want your readers to “browse” once. Let’s take that first step now.
Creating a URL Datafield
In your catalog database, you most likely have a “Product Name” datafield. It’s also a safe bet that there are Description, Features, and Image fields as well. Many neglect to create an Action field. Maybe you want to call it URL or Hyperlink.
It is not as important to name it as it is to DEFINE it. Here’s one attempt, and please feel free to run this past your copywriters marketing department. Our potential client virtually has their thumb on the desired product. Let’s stick with the print analogy for the time being. How can they place an order in 30 seconds or less?
That means finding the right product and placing the order through your company’s website. Obviously, the only way is to determine the appropriate URL. Your marketing department can (should) ask either your client for their opinion. Even better, create the appropriate URL and show them that you are making it as easy as possible to place an order.
Let’s say that you now have the most beneficial URL in your database. Maybe you chose to do this for only your most popular products, to save you some formatting time. Maybe this can be said another way. The URL field should be required for the most popular or profitable products in your catalog.
Displaying the URL
Option 1 — Print: Create a Q-R (quick response) code using InDesign. The first thing that should be done is placing the URL text into your document. If you are using a content management system, use a page template to bring in the needed text from the URL datafield. If we wanted to use the hyperlink from our earlier example, we would see a text box with http://www.catsy.com/r5/creating-engaging-catalog-pdfs.htm inside.
NOTE: You could put this frame on another InDesign layer for housekeeping purposes.
Now, select and copy the URL text. Go to the InDesign Object menu and choose Create QR Code…The following link will give you the exact rundown.
This will get your design staff used to the Q-R Code creation process.
Doing this for your most popular items accomplishes two things. First, your more technically advanced clients will immediately be on the ordering page, if they have a Bar-Code Reader app installed on a mobile device.
Second, your readers will at least know that this is one of your most popular items, because you have invested this additional time.
TIME SAVING TIP:
You do need some InDesign experience. If you are already familiar with the InDesign Data Merge function, that is a big plus. In any case, let’s say that you have a list of a hundred or so URLs for which you want to create Q-R code. You can set up a Q-R Code data merge template to create them all with a single click. Once created, you can drag them into the proper position.
Slick. The following link will tell you how.
Option 2 — Interactive PDF: Granted, your URL can be quite lengthy. Using InDesign we want to create a compact hyperlink that we can display in a typical catalog block. Once we format this correctly, your clients will be able to hyperlink to the specified URL.
Just as before, you will place URL text onto your page. Just as before, you might choose to place this URL text frame onto a different InDesign Layer.
Remember, the actual hyperlink text may be very long and clunky. You can (and most often, should) use substitute text for the actual URL. You’ve probably done this already in your email application or in your word processing document.
Here’s the “nutshell” version of the functionality in the InDesign application. Copy the URL information that you placed from your datafield. Once again, use the URL to a specific destination in our blog. For example: http://www.catsy.com/r5/creating-engaging-catalog-pdfs.htm
In a separate InDesign text frame, enter some appropriate verbiage, for instance: FOR MORE INFORMA-TION, or ORDER HERE. You know, just like you would on a typical blog entry.
Select that type. Remember, you already have the actual URL data copied. That means that it is on your clipboard, and available to paste.
Access the InDesign Hyperlinks panel. Window / Interactive / Hyperlinks. From the panel menu in the up-per-right corner, choose New Hyperlink…
You can see the Hyperlink Panel dialogue options below.
Note that we’ve elected to un-check the shared URL and specify a Character Style. This would underline and change the color of the text, as you prefer.
For a more complete explanation of all Hyperlink functionality, here is the Adobe support information link.
Additional Tip: If your copywriters submit text in MS-Word, they can set up both the text that should ap-pear, and specify the hyperlink.
Here is an example below.
Hopefully, you will choose to create the Q-R codes in the most economical way possible. Keep in mind that if you export your print document as a PDF for posting on your website, a Q-R Code Reader Application will still work. If you chose to create the Hyperlink option to create an interactive PDF, your readers will still be directed to the URL that best benefits your clients.
One other note about exporting your PDF for internet posting: use the Print Options rather than the Interactive PDF Options. The Smallest File Option will limit the size of the resulting document. The only other consideration is to activate the interactive features by manually choosing the Hyperlinks checkbox.
Below is a sample PDF export.
You can count on greater client satisfaction. Both you and your client will need to be vigilant to make sure that the reader will also have the best experience. Malfunctioning hyperlinks will have a devastating effect on reader and client satisfaction. However, with diligence and practice, you will have a great opportunity to prove that you are a dedicated Advocate for your clients.