We’ve been around long enough in business (15 years in 2022!) to see lots of marketing trends come along, and usually have a good nose for what is worth spending some time on and what is just a fad. QR code marketing was something we thought would take off when they first came out but… didn’t!
However when COVID-19 came along in 2020, all of a sudden we were being asked to check in to literally EVERYWHERE with QR codes, businesses were also looking for contactless ways to trade to avoid the spread of COVID-19 and QR codes provided a great solution. This image sums it up well!
A little history on QR Codes…
The first QR code system was invented in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave, a Toyota subsidiary. They needed a more accurate way to track vehicles and parts during the manufacturing process. To achieve this, they developed a type of barcode that could encode kanji, kana, and alphanumeric characters.
The QR code wasn’t actually introduced to the mainstream public however until around 2010 (and we remember!) when the first QR code scanners and readers were released on popular smartphone platforms. Even still, it was 2011 before they began gaining some traction and featuring from time to time on music festival signs and in magazines.
But given plenty of the population still didn’t have a smart phone back then, and generally people just couldn’t get their heads around them (clients we suggested them too certainly poo pooed them), they seemed to fade out of our consciousness until Coronavirus came along in 2020 and took main stage (alongside QR Codes).
How do I even use a QR code?
In case you’re still not sure, scanning a QR code using your device is really easy:
- Open the QR reader application OR the camera on your smartphone
- Point it at the QR code – you should be able to point your camera from any angle and still receive the necessary information.
- The data will be instantly shown on screen – for instance, if the QR code contains contact details, your phone should instantly download these.
So how can you do QR code marketing today?
Firstly there a bunch of super practical ways your business could be using QR codes to not only make it easier for people to do business with you, but also to make it SAFER for people to do business with you, due to the contactless nature. To give just a few examples for different examples for a range of businesses:
RESTAURANT QR CODE MARKETING
Many restaurants have not only implemented QR codes for checking in at their facility (Government mandated in many locations around the world), but they have also implemented them on their tables, doing away with hard copy menus, and allowing their guests to order as and when they wish via one of a range of great apps which allow you to upload your menu, and have guests choose and pay right there and then. This means if you are running a restaurant all you have to do is focus on creating, cooking and delivering the food and drinks in a timely and quality manner which may well save you on some staff costs, who, let’s face it are hard to come by these days in talent shortage markets.
Some apps you may like to check out if you have not already to implement something like this in your bar/restaurant or cafe include:
There are also many others available.
PRODUCT PACKAGING & QR CODES
Putting a QR Code on product packaging means people can scan the packaging to reveal information about the product such as nutritional information, the products journey from paddock to pallette or vineyard to wine bottle, your environmental intiatives, or special offers you can use next time you make a purchase.
MANUFACTURING & QR CODES
QR codes were initially invented to help track parts in vehicle manufacturing, and they can still be used throughout the manufacturing industry. Use it to track stock in the construction, engineering, and retail industries.
FASHION & QR CODES
QR codes are now sometimes being printed on the label of each garment to embed information about the clothing such as the materials used, country of origin, and production process of the garment. Global fashion brand ASOS moved entirely to QR codes for tracking refunds too.
ART & QR CODES
QR Codes are now used next to paintings and sculptures at museums and are great for visitors who want to learn more about the artist, the time period, and the meaning or the background of the art. It could also include links to other work by the artist, related artists, and even the ability to buy the image on a mug or poster at the museum shop.
HISTORICAL, NATURAL ATTRACTIONS& QR CODES
On historical sites and on walking trails, QR codes are a great way to link people who don’t like to read static information to constantly updated information say a website or even a video explaining the history or the attraction. Local attractions such as museums, zoos, parks, and movie theatres feature QR codes visitors can scan for information about history, items on display, and more. Of course, many now use mobile ticketing that makes use of QR codes as well.
REAL ESTATE& QR CODES
Real estate can use QR codes too on For Sale signs so passersby can link straight to the live listing, including auction dates, contact details, floor plans and more. It can also link them to drone or video walkthroughs, enquiry forms and more.
EVENTS& QR CODES
Why trade business cards when you can just scan them? Stick QR codes on name tags at events or on your presentation slides and away youy go.
BOOKS/PUBLICATIONS/MAGAZINES& QR CODES
Let people scan and learn about the author, other book titles from the author or publishing house. Let people scan the sales brochure and go straight to a product on a website to buy it, or to learn further information or access an offer.
APP DOWNLOADS& QR CODES
Promoting a QR code on a poster or online you can link directly to download an app on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
AIRPORTS& QR CODES
You’ve probably noticed that you don’t really need a physical boarding pass anymore. Yep, airlines now unanimously use QR codes for mobile boarding passes through their mobile apps.
GRAVEYARDS& QR CODES
A company in the UK called QR Memories even creates QR codes for use on gravestones, allowing people to scan the code to read more about that deceased person’s life (if they have an obituary or news story relating to them online)!
QR CODE MARKETING SUMMARY
So there we go. A wide range of ways you could be using QR Codes in your business! We hope we’ve given you some inspiration, and that you will start considering using QR Codes in your business!