Yes, it’s time to raise the bar once again. The old bar code will be going along the wayside of the vinyl record, the black and white television and drum brakes. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. The reasons are all simple and business driven. QR codes are multi-dimensional and can hold a wealth of information. Here are the reasons why the world will adopt these, and why it make sense for wineries to get on board!
UPC codes are expensive. At $100 or so each, they just don’t serve the wine industry well. QR codes are free and can easily be generated using programs on the web. Each vintage, the wine is different, and often is priced differently as market demands and quality fluctuate. Annual reuse of same UPS for wines is misleading. Wine varies year-by-year. This renders retailers unable to leverage the bar code for pricing and inventory management and forces them to create a SKU (stock keeping unit) for each vintage. Retailers need to know how much of each vintage they have, not all vintages combined as they may be of different value. Plus, you need to ensure you are moving older product to keep your costing/sale to review profitability analysis. Bar Codes don’t hold very much information, but QR codes do! UPC codes just really hold a string of 12 numbers. These numbers are in turn translated by a computer to gets the true meaning of the item and often times the price as well. A decoder ring of sorts. QR Codes have different versions, and are able to hold anywhere from 10 characters to almost 4,000!
Bar Codes don’t help the consumer. They primarily serve the retailer so they can expedite the checkout process and increment/decrement physical inventory. Products can be encoded not only to be decoded by retailers, but now we can provide a web site URL for the consumer to the manufacturer, or WineMatch uses our wine profile to link to on shelf talkers. Furthermore, QR Codes can be read on Mobile Devices by Google Goggles or free QR code readers. Imagine going into a grocery store, looking at a bottle of wine, and wanting to know more. Scan the QR code with your mobile device and voila! – it links to a web site that give you information that cannot be easily placed on the package, unless you can read 4-point fonts! Plus, if the data is incorrect, it can be updated, like if there is a rebate or new coupon.
In addition, logo identity can be in QR code! This technology has some serious error correction ability as it’s always anticipated there’s a smudge or something got spilled on it, yet it must still be readable. As a result, you can deprecate it on purpose to integrate your logo and just scan it to see that it still functions and you have your identity! At the end of the day, I have to acknowledge one of the leaders here among wineries. We like J Vineyards’ foray into QR codes. Not only is their wine great, they get the technology. Smart, very smart.