The humble QR code, once relegated to the history of good ideas that never made it big, had a remarkable resurgence thanks to the pandemic. QR scan codes struggled for adoption early but rose to wide-spread acceptance and usage during the pandemic by restaurants not wanting to print and disinfect printed paper menus. One can now scarcely avoid seeing them in restaurants, on websites, in movie theaters and on television as they have truly become part of our everyday lives. The rise in familiarity and trust by consumers has flipped the paradigm for the humble checkered codes.
The QR code, short for Quick Response Code, is a matrix barcode created by Denso Wave in Japan originally for the automobile industry. It is a machine-readable optical label that can contain deep information including locator, identifier and tracking data that can link to applications and website pages.
The QR system became popular for its simple readability and great storage capacity, compared to standard UPC barcodes. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, and of course general marketing. Mobile phone manufacturers have been paramount in the adaption of QR codes for general consumer use by integrating cameras and scanning software directly into their operating systems and camera apps. QR scan codes can be used to provide additional value and information about the product, offer discounts or promotions, or even link to a website, social media page or a strong invitation for consumers to subscribe to a mailing list for longer term engagement.
When designing packaging with a QR scan code, it’s important to make sure it’s easy to find and scan. The code should be prominently displayed on the packaging, and it should be large enough to be easily scanned. Additionally, the packaging should include instructions on how to scan the code. Minimum size for an on-package QR code is 2cm x 2cm or 0.8” x 0.8” – but it does need to be easily found on the package.
In addition to the QR scan code, the packaging should also include a strong call to action. This could be something like “Scan this code for more information” or “Scan this code to get a discount.” For food and beverage products, “Scan for new recipe ideas” or “Scan for coupons on your next purchase.” For industrial products, “Scan for safety tips.” This will help encourage customers to take the desired action. In fact, research shows that 66% of customers prefer brands the provide detailed product information.*
An important decision when setting up your QR codes is whether to use a static code, simply one which is set to a single, fixed point of information, or a dynamic QR code that allows updating from your QR control panel to redirect the scans to different pieces of information whenever it becomes desirable. Editing and updating the destination of a dynamic QR code is instantaneous, so marketing is kept current without delays.
These dynamic QR codes also allow for greater data gathering every time a user scans the code, including time, day, geolocation and more. These dynamic codes let your marketing department change information, promotions, seasonal offerings, reorder/replenishing invitations, gain subscribers for emails and other information, without having to reprint your packaging.
Before you begin using QR scan codes, choose a provider that is well-tested, provides secure account management, offers any additional features, such as trackable link abbreviations, flexible formats for the QR codes (like colors, patterns and logo inclusion) and bulk code generation.
*Source: Accenture Strategy Research
The team at Bachman Brand Development can make recommendations, help you with this decision and guide you through this process. Send us a message!