How to use QR Codes

No, I am not going to tell you the BEST PRACTICES on how to use QR Codes. That is common knowledge now. You can also view it in this post: QR Code Best Practices.

This is an exhaustive and an epic guide on how to use QR Codes and how they can make our lives easier. QR Codes are useful to everyone. Be it, a marketer, product manager, mobile app developer or information security consultant.

The common knowledge is that QR Codes link people to a website. Well, that’s true but not enough. QR Codes are much more than that.

Everyone should know these 13 ways on how to use QR Codes:

1. Drive relevant traffic to your website

This is the easy one which most people already know.

Every company has a website. It contains useful information about products & services, offers, and other relevant content. What will surprise you is that most people are not aware of it. A majority will know just about your flagship product. How do you promote your other products?

It’s easy. Use a QR Code on your popular product and allow people to discover more. Direct them to your products page.

See how Cornitos does it. The help text instructs shoppers to discover other products from the brand.

how to use qr codes

2. Increase social media following

That’s right. You can get fans from your print media promotions.

Social media is integral to every brand for connecting with their customers. Be assertive and ask people to “Like” and “Follow” your page – just by scanning a QR Code.

Facebook QR Code is popular. The Twitter QR Code is useful to increase Twitter mentions.

how to use qr codes

You can also create a Social Media QR Code which directs your fans to a page with links to all your social media pages. They can choose to follow you on their favourite platform.

3. Get leads from print media

So not only can you get fans from social media, you can get high-quality leads. Potential customers who engage with your promotional material.

You can request users to provide their contact details. This can be done before sharing useful content or revealing an offer. It’s a standard technique to generate leads via content marketing. What’s stopping you from using it on print media?

how to use qr codes


4. Show relevant rich-media content

Plain Text is boring. Especially in marketing. Instead of a lengthy product description, why not show a video? Or at least a photo gallery. It’s more engaging.

For example, see how Chef’s Basket uses a QR Code to show a video of a recipe. Genius.

how to use qr codes

5. Accept mobile payments

Let’s say you are a restaurant with a billing invoice for your customer. Or a non-profit with a brochure that requests for a donation. Make it easy to make a mobile payment by adding a QR Code.

For example, a Paypal QR Code allows your customers to make a payment via Paypal.

how to use qr codes

Mobile payments are the in-thing. Guess who recently started accepting mobile payments using QR Codes? Walmart.

6. Use in a game or contest

The millennials – what are they doing most of the time? They are on their smartphones.

So, how do you entertain them in a physical setting like a restaurant?Make them play a game or a contest on their phones.

Put a QR Code on the promotional tent card to make it easy for them to get started. Generate leads while you are at it.

how to use qr codes

7. Provide personal information

A business card is your ammo in the war of networking. Most recipients will lose this card or forget about it. The timing is critical. Instead of handing them just a card, make them save your contact on their phone in an instant.

It’s possible with a Vcard QR Code.

how to use qr codes

No need to enter all this information. Just scan the QR Code on the business card.

8. Provide information related to a product or a service

In most cases, you won’t be able to provide all the product information on the packaging, can you? When you have to share tech specifications, user manuals, safety instructions, customer support information.

Actually, it is possible. Groceries Manufacturer’s Association (GMA) of United States has made it possible. They’ve developed the SmartLabel initiative. Food and other household products will now have a SmartLabel or QR Code on the packaging. What will the QR Code do? It will lead customers to a standardized product description page containing vital information.

smartlabel qr code

smartlabel qr code

9. Get inputs fom your audience

Another good way to connect better with your customers is to get their feedback.

Papa John’s in Britain ran a campaign where they added a QR Code on every pizza box they delivered. This QR Code allowed buyers to share their feedback or complaints with their delivery.

how to use qr codes

10. Make it easy to download mobile apps

Are you a mobile app developer and looking to promote your app via print media? Make it easy for smartphone users to discover and download your app by using the App Store QR Code.

how to use qr codes

A single App Store QR Code is good for any OS device. It will lead them to the right App Store.

11. Use in cardless payments

Card duplication fraud at ATMs is a menace and causes theft in billions of dollars every year. You can avoid these by using QR Codes for cardless transactions.

The ATM displays a QR Code and you scan the QR Code using the bank’s mobile app. The ATM verifies you and now you can withdraw cash. No need to swipe a card. No sensitive information shared.

Peer-to-peer transactions via QR Codes is also picking up. Subscribers can pay merchants and friends just by scanning a QR Code . Paytm,a mobile wallet and payments provider allows its subscribers to pay through QR Codes.

how to use qr codes

12. Identification and authentication

QR Codes are also used for identification and authentication. For example, mobile-first applications such as WeChat and Whatsapp. They use a QR Code to authenticate users for their web versions.

how to use qr codes

Also, you can use QR Codes on ID cards and important documents. It serves as an anti-counterfeiting measure. You can scan these QR Codes using a specific mobile app. It then displays identification details. You can match these details with the details on the ID card or document.

13. Tickets and discount coupons

QR Codes can feature on discount coupons and tickets.

In Dec 2016, Google handed out freebies to their Project Fi’s subscribers at the San Jose airport in USA. Subscribers could collect the goodies from Project Fi’s vending machine by scanning a QR Code. To generate the QR Code, subscribers had to dial in a code( *#*#FLYWITHFI*#*#) on their smartphone’s keypad.


How to use QR Codes

For his 2017 tour ‘Heavy Entertainment Show’, British performer Robbie Williams partnered with Ticket master, and Shazam to launch interactive tickets with QR Codes. When scanned, the QR Code will allow people to view extra information on the concert.

14. Inventory Management

Last in this list but the first use case of QR Code was inventory management. After all, QR Code is the advanced cousin of the 1D barcode used for inventory management.

In 1994, Denso Wave Corporation invented the QR Code. They developed it for managing inventory in the automobile industry.

QR Code technology is fascinating and if you are creative, you can come up with a use case of your own. If you have used QR Codes in a way not listed above, mention it in the comments below and I will add it to the list.

Create your first QR Code

Create a visually-appealing and dynamic QR Code for your print media promotions.
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Shubhi Mall is a big fan of mobile marketing and passionately writes about O2O technology, SEO, and Social Media. When not writing, she is busy either watching rom-com movies or gardening. Shubhi is a Content Writer with Scanova.

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