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5 Ways How FMCG Companies Boost Their Marketing with Mobile OCR

Some of the brands we work with tell us they have no use for a mobile application. I want to give you 5 reasons how a mobile app with the ability of Optical Character Recognition can take your company to the next level and separate your brand’s marketing campaigns from the crowd!

If you want to know the 5 reasons right away, you can jump right to the bottom of the page.

But first I am going to answer the first burning question one of you might have:

Aren’t mobile apps dead? No!

Just to get something straight right away: smartphone users spend  90% of their mobile time in apps compared to the mobile web and it’s only increasing.

Flurry Analytics

Source: Flurry Analytics

Since many people already use ad blocker on mobile devices, content of course is crucial. This is the big challenge for brands right now. But also a huge opportunity. A mobile app with clear benefit to the user and high quality content, will engage the user and build a deeper relationship between the brand and them.

If brands can manage to add value to their customers life, they will have a successful mobile app.

Mobile users download on average over 8 apps per month! After some time, some of them tend to lose interest though. That’s why it’s super important to make your app’s value clear right from the beginning. “Of those who stop using apps, 30% would use an app again if offered a discount, and 24% would reuse an app if offered exclusive or bonus content.” Offer your engaged customers deals and special offers! Give them exclusive information about your product.

Sephora for example enhanced its in-store shopping experience with an app that lets shoppers scan all products for additional information.

“In retail, you can’t think about the mobile phone as a threat. You have to think of it as a magnet to draw that client into your store.” —Bridget Dolan, VP Interactive Media, Sephora

Okay, I hope this has given you an idea on how a mobile app can benfit your business in general. Now let’s get to the more innovative part: How does Optical Character Recognition make the app even greater?

bottle capcan lidVoucher Code

*If you need a general refresher on what OCR actually is, please read this article and then come back here :) *

1. Customer Engagement

Getting close to the customer is a struggle every marketer knows. People get bombarded with brands and advertisement every day. Offline and online. And like we all know media has been changing dramatically over the past 20 years. The smartphone has become the center of the human attention. Everything from newspapers, TV shows, ads, the internet to the telephone moved to the smartphone and right into your pocket. And the most important part: you take your smartphone everywhere you go. Brands therefore have the chance to engage with their customers 24/7– through their phone.

If you create innovative marketing campaigns for your company’s mobile app, you can do just that and reach the users in a creative and playful way, and make them stay with you.

The best example for this would be a loyalty campaign where your customers can scan codes with the smartphone instead of typing them in. Especially in the food and beverage industry, voucher codes are used to engage more customers and to drive the customers interest to the product and brand. The big goal here should be to make reading or collecting those codes super easy and fun. We have done these kinds of campaigns with Red Bull or Karlsberg, you can check out the details of the campaigns here.
Voucher Code OCR Bottlecap

Besides this, I recently wrote a piece on Why your marketing campaign needs a hashtag scanner. I already told you there that you not only need to follow up with the latest marketing trends, but to be ahead of them!
I talked about the possibilities of a hashtag scanner campaign by sending your customers on a “treasure hunt” through the city for example. Every time they see a billboard of your company, there’s a hashtag printed on it and they can scan it with their phone. Then they can tweet it or post it and in that way collect loyalty points. Different hashtags could also be printed on the product directly for example.

These are just ideas I came up with in 10 minutes. Imagine all the creative and playful things you could do! And those are the kinds of campaigns that stick out from the others and keep your users engaged and happy!

2. Collect valuable data

By implementing OCR into your mobile app, you are able to receive detailed documentation on the usage of the app and your customers scan behaviour. This way you can learn so much more about your users! You can look at this data, analyze it and use it for your next campaign. Therefore you can tweak and optimize your campaigns step by step and reach your customers even better!

Some of the collectable data

  • Point of consumption: get an insight on where your customers buy/consume your products
  • Date and time: find out when your customers buy/consume your products
  • Interaction: see how many times and in which way your users engage with your app and product

These data points make it possible to get a huge amount of insight to the usage of your products. Additionally they show you if and how your campaigns work.

By the way: scanning also works offline, so no matter if you are in a bar, at a soccer game or skiing in the mountains!

3. Increase your revenue

Happy and engaged customers stay loyal. They will keep engaging with your brand and buy your products. They will also eventually become brand evangelists and tell their friends and colleagues about this cool new feature they saw in your app! So at the same time you increase your revenue your brand value also rises. Your long time customers stay loyal and you additionally gain new customers because you offer them something they don’t get anywhere else.

Seth Godin did a great job in explaining the importance of brand value: “A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another.” 

If your company rises to a valuable brand, your customers will stay with you and pay the extra dollar to choose your product over every one else’s.

4. Try out new channels: talk to a new group of customers

Like I’ve said before, if a mobile app is utilized the right way, it can be of incredibly high benefit for the brand. The brand can reach a new segment of customers they may not have been able to reach before. When you are a beer brand and your customers are generally above, let’s say 40, you can also reach the younger target group through this new channel. For example over a  loyalty program. This doesn’t mean you should forget about your other target group, it just adds another one to your brand’s influence.

5. Be a first mover and increase your brand’s image

Do you want to be like everyone else on the market?

Exactly. And working with cutting-edge technologies will get you first in line. And of course, potential new customers want to engage with great and innovative brands and get to know their products! Being a first mover will get you press and social media coverage because it’s new and exciting to people and they haven’t experienced it before. Having a USP is crucial to every brand and being able to call innovation your own is priceless.

Your business has to answer the question if it wants to play with the big brands and go for the state-of-the-art campaigns and technologies.

To sum it up again:

These are the 5 benefits of mobile OCR that help FMCG Companies to boost their marketing campaigns:

1. Customer Engagement

2. Collect valuable data

3. Increase your revenue

4. The possibility of new channels and new customer groups

5. The first mover advantage


If you have questions, suggestions or feedback on this, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via FacebookTwitter or simply via [email protected]! Cheers!


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