July 12, 2011, 1:10 PM

Sauce brand dips into mobile feedback with 2-D bar codes

Consumers are sent to a mobile-optimized feedback form via a smartphone scan.

Lead Photo

Scanning a 2-D bar code on Culinary Twist products links a consumer to the brand's mobile site.

Consumers often wish a product were somehow different: bigger size, different flavor, additional colors. And smart brands want to know what consumers are thinking so they can make changes to products or add new products that are likely to increase brand loyalty and sales.

Culinary Twist, an all-natural marinades, sauces and dips brand, is enabling customers to provide feedback anywhere a product may be by adding 2-D bar codes on product labels. A consumer with a smartphone and a 2-D bar code reader app can open the app, hold the smartphone camera over the 2-D code—in this case a QR, or Quick Response, code—and scan it, which automatically links the shopper to the brand’s mobile site, where she can leave feedback, in her own words, on specific products. In addition, consumers have access to additional product information and recipes.

“The concept of QR codes was enticing and compelling for our consumers, who wanted more information on a specific product or to collect recipe ideas before leaving the store,” says Lynn Milos, founder of Culinary Twist. “By partnering with OpinionLab, we are able to offer our customers a variety of feedback solutions. We have received numerous comments from our consumers on ways to make our products or recipes even better, and we’ve acted on many of those suggestions, helping us cater to our customers’ needs.”

OpinionLab is the technology provider behind the QR code implementation. It offers web site, store, e-mail, social and mobile feedback systems. For Culinary Twist, it created a mobile-optimized site featuring the brand’s products. Then it generated a QR code via a program that takes all the characters of a mobile URL and turns them into a pattern of black dots contained within a square. Culinary Twist printed the code on product labels.

2-D bar codes are vertical and horizontal, unlike horizontal 1-D bar codes. 1-D bar codes are ubiquitous, like the Universal Product Codes (or UPC) found on virtually every consumer product manufactured. 2-D bar codes are less prevalent but growing in popularity. They can contain much more information—more than 7,000 characters, more than enough for a long URL—than a 1-D bar code.

To scan a 2-D bar code, a consumer with a smartphone downloads one of many free reader apps from any of the app stores. She opens the app, which opens the smartphone camera, and holds the phone over the 2-D code. The camera reads the code and connects with the mobile web browser which links the consumer to a mobile-optimized site containing various kinds of content, from product information to e-mail forms to mobile videos.

With Culinary Twist, a consumer can also type CulinaryTwist.com into her mobile web browser, which connects her to the brand’s mobile web site. The site features a Feedback button on the home page containing OpinionLab’s plus-sign feedback icon. Touching the button leads the consumer to the feedback page.

“With mobile devices transforming shopping behavior, we’re providing greater convenience for consumers to leave direct feedback at any point of product interaction,” says Rand Nickerson, CEO of OpinionLab. “Our expanded mobile product-specific feedback offerings provide consumers with multiple opportunities to leave comments and share their opinions on products while they’re shopping, or from the comfort of their homes, while using a product.”

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