One of the most ubiquitous innovations that rose in popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic was the QR code. While this square, black and white 2-dimensional code has been around since the 90s, it took a global pandemic for most people to maximize its use. In fact, a 2021 survey published by Business Insider revealed the spike in US smartphone QR code scanner use from 52.6 million in 2019 to 65.7 million in 2020. Even after the pandemic, the rate of QR code adoption just increased. As mentioned in an article by Insider Intelligence, 94 million US consumers used smartphone scanners in 2023, and this figure is expected to increase to 102.6 million by 2026.
While QR codes were mainly used for faster contact tracing during the height of the pandemic, these days, businesses and marketers utilize these versatile tech tools to boost sales and enhance marketing campaigns.
Is your business missing out by not adopting QR codes? Keep up with the technology and locate the right way to use QR codes for boosting your business. Direct diving into the material may perplex you hence, let’s initiate with the basic one.
What Is a QR Code?
QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes that store information in a pattern of black squares on a white grid. Their versatility lies in their ability to encode various data types, from numeric and alphanumeric to binary and Kanji, a Japanese writing system that uses Chinese characters.
QR codes are captured and processed as images through scanning devices, such as smartphones, which then decode the information for the intended action. They could lead to websites, videos, or payment portals for easy transactions.
Incorporating QR Codes in Your Business
From marketing and supply chain management to digital payment processing, QR codes empower businesses to provide instant, engaging, and trackable experiences. Here are just some of the ways you can use QR codes in your business.
Accommodate Cashless Payments
With the proliferation of digital transactions, accommodating cashless payments is a strategic move for any business. Globally, the QR code payment market was valued at USD 11.2 billion in 2022 with a high compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.5 percent from 2023 to 2032. The QR code payment technology has gained widespread popularity due to rapid adoption by a lot of industries, including retail, food service, hospitality, transportation, and many others.
If you have a store, your customers can simply use their smartphone to scan your static QR code at your checkout counters to initiate the QR payment. They can pay using their digital wallet or bank app to send their payment instantly. Not only but also the same procedure is put into restaurants, salons, grocery shops, and other business establishments to make the payment. This payment solution reduces the reliance on physical cash or cards. What’s more, while you may think that today’s QR code payment systems already conveniently handle every payment, QR code solutions will likely only get better in the future.
Facilitate Cost-Effective Marketing Campaigns
Gone are the days when traditional marketing materials consumed substantial budgets. QR codes provide a cost-effective alternative by transforming physical materials into interactive gateways. Whether on posters, flyers, or brochures, a strategically placed QR code can redirect customers to promotional websites, special offers, or exclusive content. By applying this process, you will not only save costs but also get new routes to engage your targeted audience and potential customers.
In one of the earliest successful executions of guerrilla marketing campaigns using QR codes, French personal care company L ‘Oreal placed QR codes inside taxis during New York Fashion Week. This enabled passengers to shop while riding the cabs. Ultimately, the campaign saw a 7 percent conversion rate with an 80 percent increase in L’ Oreal’s app downloads. When done right, QR codes can be a winning strategy in your business’ marketing arsenal.
Allow Retailers to Provide Relevant Product Information
Customers crave information, especially when making purchasing decisions. QR codes on product packaging serve as a direct link between your products and detailed information about them. Whether it’s user manuals, tutorials, or reviews, customers can access valuable information by scanning the QR code. This transparency will assist you in fostering informed decision-making, driving meaningful results, and finally enhancing the satisfaction of your customers, leading to healthy Goodwill.
You can even use QR codes with other innovative technologies, such as augmented reality (AR) that will provide a more satisfying customer experience than usual. One great example of this is the campaign launched by Moscot Eyewear. Through QR codes displayed strategically on the shop windows, customers were channeled to a platform that allowed them to virtually try on different types of eyewear to see how these would look on their faces. This resulted in an astounding revenue increase of 174 percent for the company and was a resounding success.
Enable Restaurants to Direct Diners to Virtual Menus
Many restaurants and cafes have now revolutionized the dining experience by incorporating QR codes into their operations. By placing QR codes on tables or menus, restaurants allow diners to access digital menus instantly on their smartphones. This not only minimizes physical contact with printed menus—a concern that was of paramount importance during the pandemic—but also provides a dynamic platform for showcasing daily specials or promotions.
For restaurants, replacing traditional menus with virtual and dynamic menus also presents several other advantages. For one thing, they won’t need to keep replacing their paper menus because of wear and tear. For another, they can change the prices without having to replace the menus. More importantly, they can provide a more engaging visual experience to their diners.
Enable Faster Customer Feedback
Customer feedback is invaluable for business improvement. In this regard, QR codes simplify the feedback process by providing a quick and efficient means for customers to share their opinions of a business.
A study by Business 2 Community, a media platform for business professionals, showed that adding a QR code to a paper survey increased the response rate by 250 percent. In addition, the completion rate improved from 14 percent to 36 percent. This just proves that a well-placed QR code linked to an online survey allows customers to provide feedback seamlessly. Furthermore, it contributes to a continuous feedback loop for business enhancement.
In this hypercompetitive digital marketing era, you need a tool that can enhance your customer satisfaction. Apart from this, with high versatility and ease of use, you are allowed to use QR codes as an emerging asset for your digital businesses. This will assist you in ensuring that you are running ahead in the entire game of online businesses.