Will Clickable Paper Replace QR Codes?

Ever since the increased popularity of digital products there has been a desire to create a successful integration of print with digital. QR Codes, those tiny black squares arranged in a grid that allows linking to a URL when used with an imaging device, have filled that gap for the last decade or so, but have limitations. They can detract from the design of the print piece and you need a special imaging app to read (although now you can just use the camera on an iPhone to read one).

Japanese imaging and electronics company Ricoh recently developed a new product, called Clickable Paper that uses their Visual Search image recognition technology to allow the linking of printed materials to online media sources like photos, websites, e-commerce portals, videos, and social media platforms.  Earlier this year they added new gaming features, push notifications and cookie-enablement, which lets users to engage in challenges, contests, quizzes, and surveys, as well as incorporating customization and workflow capabilities to increase campaign engagement and determining ROI.

Clickable Paper is similar to QR Codes, in that they both require the user to snap an image on their smartphone or tablet to access the media. But unlike QR codes, Clickable Paper doesn’t require a code to scan, just the printed image. And you can have up to 6 links to one or more hotspots on any piece of printed material, which can include websites, videos, and e-commerce portals. And with mobile you can enable actions such as making a phone call, opening a map, sending an email or posting on social media. The user just needs to download the free Clickable Paper app.

At PRINT18, held in Chicago on September 30-October 2, 2018, Ricoh debuted their Clickable-Paper-enhanced “The 25 Best Print Sales Tips Ever!” book. In addition to including tips for selling print, the book features augmented reality experiences such as video sales tips, webinars, white papers and a sales assessment test.

Author Bill Farquharson is an experienced sales trainer in the print, signage, label and packaging industry. “AR-enhanced print is making waves throughout the industry. It’s transforming print into a truly digital experience by extending the longevity of printed campaigns, creating more engaging brand experiences, and making responding to print call-to-actions easier than ever,” says Farquharson.