Nov 22 2019

Digital alternatives to business cards

Digital solutions have made sharing and storing contact details simpler and faster. Especially at trade fairs, this is an important consideration for sustainable business success. In this article, we present some contemporary supplements to and concepts for business cards.

Multicoloured or monochrome, thick or thin, quirky or serious? Today, business cards come in a range of designs and colours, but their function remains key: to pass on and store the contact details of business partners and customers. In the age of digitalisation, however, many people are switching to electronic supplements to analogue cards.

This way, contacts gathered at trade fairs, for example, can be saved in smartphones and on computers – not only is this practical, it’s also secure thanks to cloud storage. For this purpose, there are a host of practical alternatives to collecting traditional paper-based business cards.

One of the popular options is Google Goggles, which first photographs the desired information – such as that found on a business card – before using effective character recognition technology to read the data and save it. Contacts on a smartphone can also be shared with others directly via WhatsApp or SMS. 

Continued rise of QR codes

The fact is, however, that recent years have witnessed many alternatives to the traditional business card disappearing just as quickly as they had emerged For example, the CardDrop app, which was seen for some time as the best variant for digital business contacts, is no more.

Now, people often don’t rely on a specific app, but instead capture the relevant contact details via a so-called QR code and save them to a smartphone or on a computer. A QR code is a four-sided graphic formed from small blocks. Understanding the code requires a QR code reader, either directly in a camera tool like Microsoft Pix (also available for iOS) or by using a separate small QR scanning app.

These codes can be printed on business cards, flyers or brochures – or used directly online. The business platform LinkedIn, for example, uses QR codes. They can be generated in the LinkedIn mobile app and then scanned in by business partners, facilitating the exchange of contact information. 

Gathering contact details at trade fairs

Valuable new contacts and networks can be found quickly and in large numbers at a trade fair. An uncomplicated yet reliable exchange of data is, of course, essential to the sustainable success of such events. The LeadTracking app from FairMate, which is used by Koelnmesse, is one example of how this can work.

The app helps the user to gather trade fair contacts in a matter of seconds by scanning in the QR code on the relevant person’s trade fair name badge – a visitor to the user’s trade fair stand, for instance. The contact information is then transmitted directly to the user’s smartphone and can be used in the company’s CRM system.

Notes can also be used within the app, which is available for both Android and iOS, spelling the end of the tedious process of handling printed business cards and scribbling information on the back. 

LeadTracking at imm cologne 2020

Alongside other events, the LeadTracking app will be in use at imm cologne 2020 (13 to 19 January 2020) – the Interior Business Event where exhibitors from 50 countries will showcase home furnishing trends and ideas. This trade fair is also an example of the importance of the quality of its participants, with the international scene returning to Cologne in 2020 and enabling a lively exchange of information.

The ability to make high-value contacts with decision makers thus ensures that the trade fair provides a high return on investment (ROI). And the easier it is to record these contacts, the more smoothly the process runs – as well as demonstrating professionalism. Traditional business cards will certainly be around for some time yet, but digital technologies such as the LeadTracking app described above are the ideal complement for large events, because they make it much easier to document and process new contacts.

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