Quick Response (QR) technology isn’t new. QR codes have been around for over a quarter of a century. Initially, these scannable barcodes were used for tracking items during a car manufacturing process.
In a retail and consumer context, QR codes were perceived as a fad a decade ago, at least in the West. Today, they’re an important element in numerous brand campaigns.
With Vurvey QR codes, companies can conduct stellar mobile marketing communications. In this post, we go over how brands can use QR codes to engage with customers.
How We Got Here
After QR codes were dismissed as a novelty circa 2013, brand strategy and marketing teams in Asia continued to use them. These days, QR code use is even more feasible and practical due to faster internet, widespread mobile use, and built-in QR readers.
According to Statista, an estimated one million more American households scanned QR codes during 2020 than two years before.
QR codes link to all manner of content. They’re on sidewalks and boarding passes, in the sky and even on tombstones to commemorate the departed.
Static and Dynamic QR Codes
Static QR codes have one purpose. When that objective is achieved, these QR codes can’t be reused because the URL is intertwined with the barcode itself.
Not so for dynamic QR codes that work with short URLs leading to changeable landing pages. You can edit and update dynamic QR codes for consistency and to minimize costs over time.
Dynamic QR codes also have features such as password protection and the ability to derive more marketing insights.
Let’s have a look at just how brands are deploying these QR codes across industries and verticals.
Use QR Codes to Engage With Customers
When accompanied by a call to action (CTA), QR codes nudge customers to perform one or more desirable actions. For example, you can encourage:
- App downloads
- Digital newsletter subscriptions
- Social media follows and shares
- Participation in corporate social initiatives
- Direct sales-related actions that affect your bottom line
QR codes have also been a boon for restaurant transactions. These establishments can share menus and deals, upsell customers with attractive images, and facilitate cashless payments. All this makes for less touching and fewer health risks alongside better business performance.
Create Feedback Loops
QR codes can drive traffic back that would have otherwise been lost forever. Instead of marketing to a customer one time, create feedback loops that last through multiple purchase cycles.
Rather than steering customers to a Contact Us page, use a QR link to prepopulate an email with the relevant info. This eliminates a step and thus a real obstacle to acquiring customer contact information and receiving customer feedback.
You can build up your email marketing list and keep customers updated about sales and brand events. Slap a QR code onto the end of emails and keep the virtuous cycle going.
Leverage In-Store Activations
Some stores are placing QR codes on their shelves or on in-store activations to provide information about specific goods. Point your phone camera at the QR code and you could learn more about the product than can fit on its packaging.
This may include where your product is manufactured so you can choose to shop locally. By transferring info to the QR link, you can also streamline your packaging design for a minimalist aesthetic.
QR codes can also be used on marketing collateral to share, for example, your full product price list.
Increase Customer Retention
Capturing and nurturing leads until they’re converted takes time and hard work. You don’t want your efforts to be wasted by ignoring the next phase in the customer life cycle. Once a consumer has fallen out the bottom of your marketing funnel, you need to retain them.
By including a QR code sticker on your delivery or product packaging, you can set in motion a range of valuable post-purchase behaviors. Make it easy to reorder favorite products, or link to your loyalty program’s sign-up page.
Think Safety First
During the COVID-19 pandemic, some brands have leaned into scan and go shopping. This shopping method allows you to checkout without an assistant.
QR code payment apps abound too, with PayPal being the most well-known. At the height of the pandemic in May 2020, a million small businesses began to use this contactless method of receiving payment.
Expand Promotional Campaigns
Coupons and Discount Codes
For brands with big budgets, you can put QR codes in your TV commercials just as Burger King did. The fast-food brand increased downloads of their app by offering coupons for free Whoppers purchased via their app.
You can be smart with where you place a QR code on an advert. The placement itself becomes a part of the appeal and mystery. Victoria’s Secret did this to great effect in a recent campaign.
For example, if you’re an ice cream brand, you could put a QR code amidst a bunch of delicious ingredient graphics. Ask customers to guess the secret ingredient in your brand’s newest frozen confection to enter a giveaway. This creates excitement around your new offering.
Enhance Billboards and Print Media
QR codes can link to creative and memorable adverts or instructional how-to-use videos that are great for product education. You can also leverage them on billboards, digital signage, fliers, and many other traditional media.
You can use this same concept to reach customers outdoors or pretty much anywhere a QR code can be placed. You could run an ad on anything from products to global movements. And when customers find video content useful or entertaining, they hit share almost instinctively. This exponentially boosts brand awareness.
Enhance Out of Home (OOH) Advertising
OOH advertising is vibrant and effective. OOH marketing collateral can include:
- Digital billboards
- Wrap advertising on vehicles
- Durable prints at bus stop shelters
- Signposts at malls
If customers see an advert with a QR code at a place with long wait times or queues (say, the portable toilets at a music festival), scanning said code is easy.
People are boredom-averse, especially in an era of constant social media dopamine rushes and short attention spans. Draw them in while they’re waiting for (or in) an Uber or a ferry and you can have an extended brand interaction. Perfect for longer-form content or deeper target market research.Proximity Marketing
QR codes on a mall poster can give customers directions to a featured store via more than one method.
Location coordinates in Google Maps can take them straight to your doors. Or you could kick it up a notch with some augmented reality (AR). Customers can open their camera apps and set them to rear-facing. The QR code then facilitates the insertion of on-brand arrows to direct customers to your brand’s brick and mortar facade.
Brands can use customer locations to tailor messages for each individual. A car brand could use QR codes to show customers the inventory levels at nearby dealerships.
Enhance Customer Feedback
In the age of online shopping, product and service reviews have become pivotal in consumer decision-making. Many customers enjoy brands but are too lazy to write positive reviews. Consumers tend to reserve their energy for bad experiences.
It might be worth it to incentivize positive reviews of your brand. Sweeten the deal with a discount or a digital gift. For instance, if you’re in the wellness space, a QR code could link customers to the review page on your website. Completing the action unlocks a free recipe book PDF or bonus exercises.
Vurvey is a video co-creation platform that’s optimized for mobile. And video surveys allow for thorough consumer feedback that wouldn’t be possible with text based NPS scores or email questionnaires. They provide rich insights and can significantly improve customer service and sales.
Track through Post-Purchase
QR codes can be produced at scale without high costs. If you can entice engagement with your QR code, you can collate an array of useful figures for future marketing purposes. Analytics can help you gauge the success of a campaign and it can fine tune your targeting. You can also track consumer spending patterns.
Convenient and Timely Prompts
Make it easy for customers to shop complete looks when they see them on their favorite celebs. Lacoste did this when Novak Djokovic was on-screen at a tournament.
Rather than making the customer seek out each clothing item, the brand does the work for them by curating the styled items and sharing them via a QR code.
QR codes are trending for good reason. They can perform multiple marketing functions. QR codes can be used for everything from securing and unlocking bikes to launching fun holographic brand emblems and ambassadors.
You can get creative and elaborate with campaigns, or you can keep them simple with uncomplicated nudges.
Contactless QR codes have safety benefits in a pandemic era, and they offer brands a useful extra consumer touchpoint. But don’t use them for the sake of using them. QR codes can have a high impact only when they’re well-thought-out.