As print continues to evolve, so will the business model, business offerings, and capabilities of the most innovative print service providers. Historically, printers have been able to adapt and change, continuing to offer new technologies that help their customers connect and grow their businesses with print. These technological advancements in software and the Internet have led to new products, services, and applications that were not possible even just a few years ago.
Marketers understand that the most effective campaigns use more than one marketing channel. Much of what is seen in other media—television and radio, for example—is designed to drive the customer to a website to obtain additional information or purchase a product or service. This also applies to print—QR codes have been used to track the effectiveness of a print campaign by driving print-to-Web using mobile devices. However, one thing that is consistent with the use of QR codes is their misuse.
The mobile opportunity
Think about your experience with the last 10 QR codes you’ve scanned. Was it a useful experience? Did it engage you to act? Did it offer something meaningful? Many QR codes simply connect to a company’s homepage—something that does not add any value. Others connect to websites that are not optimized for mobile. The widespread misuse of QR codes represents an opportunity for printers to offer services to connect print to the Web—the right way—with websites that are optimized for mobile, providing content that matters.
Mobile is a very powerful medium for many important reasons. We (almost) always have our mobile phones with us, it’s an “always on” medium, it’s how we connect socially, and—most importantly—it’s a medium that has payment capabilities.
Building mobile optimized sites
There are many options available for building a mobile website. Building a mobile site “from the ground up” using HTML5 is a very flexible option, but also requires the most programming expertise. Sites built using HTML5 can be very versatile because the page content can dynamically resize (sometimes referred to fluid or elastic website design) based on the device’s screen size. An example of this can be found at www.printing.org/dpc. Visit the site, then resize your browser window or view it on different devices to see this in action.
Another option for building a mobile website is using jQuery Mobile, which is compatible with most smartphones and is a touch-optimized framework for building mobile sites. Adobe Dreamweaver contains a mobile site building feature based on jQuery Mobile that allows you to build mobile sites without having to know a lot about code.
Finally, online mobile website creation tools represent a great way for printers to get started offering mobile websites to their customers as part of an integrated print solution—mainly because this option requires no coding experience to construct and launch a mobile website. Using these tools, the mobile-optimized site is built in your Web browser using a simple drag-and-drop interface. Compatible with most smartphones, the providers of this technology also include easy-to-use administrative functions such as analytics reporting and optimized search.