QR codes are small, square 2D bar codes. When scanned with a smartphone camera, the code redirects the user to a specific webpage in only a few seconds. These custom labels are a growing marketing trend that takes very little space on product packaging and can yield tremendous results. Nearly 6.2 percent of the total mobile audience utilized QR codes in June 2011, but few marketers used them as effectively as possible.
In most cases, QR codes are used to direct customers to the main website of a certain business or product. From there, customers have to navigate to their desired location. Although this can be an effective use of QR codes, it fails to take full advantage of QR code capabilities. Do something. Use QR codes to connect your customers to coupons, recipes, instructions, rewards programs, contest rules, mobile apps, customer reviews, or directions to a location where they can find your product.
Here are three examples of innovative ways to use QR codes:
Radisson Edwardian, a British hotel chain, embellished restaurant menus with codes that direct customers to videos of the specific dish being prepared by the chef. In addition to helping customers decide what to eat, these videos connect customers with the restaurant’s social media campaigns and enhance their overall experience. Thousands of customers have used the QR codes on the menus to watch the videos.
The A Box Life program gives customers of select online retailers the option to have their items shipped in a reused cardboard box that includes a QR code. This code is used to track the number of miles traveled by the box, as well as how many people have used the box and how many boxes have been saved in the process. Almost 6,000 boxes have been tracked with QR codes through this program.
HomePlus revolutionized the grocery business with QR codes. This grocery company lines subway stations with images of their store displays and allows people waiting in line to shop by scanning the QR codes that are included on the product images.
Whether your QR code marketing plan is simple or extravagant, remember these five best practices for including QR codes on your product packages:
1. Don’t make your customers do the work: always direct users to a mobile-friendly landing page, not your main webpage.
2. Ensure that the printed QR code is at least 5/8 inches on each side.
3. Use a URL shortener, such as bitly.com, when creating the code so that it has fewer, larger pixels.
4. Only print QR codes in black and white.
5. Place the code in a prominent place so that users can see and scan it easily.
QR codes are powerful marketing tools that can fit on any product packaging design. Since the codes are easy and free to generate at sites such as http://qrcode.kaywa.com/, they are a low-cost marketing solution with limitless potential.