You’ve probably seen numerous QR Codes around. The square-shaped, black and white codes with a smattering of patterns can be found on everything from magazine adverts to business cards. Successful businesses use QR Codes to creatively enhance their consumer journeys: think Coinbase’s 2022 Super Bowl ad.
There are several ways to utilize QR Codes and incorporate them into the consumer’s journey. QR Codes allow brands to connect on-ground activations to online presence, i.e., you can lead potential customers to your social media page by asking them to scan your code. It is a less tedious journey than looking up your brand on social media, then clicking follow.
Consumers enjoy little innovations when they interact with their favorite businesses. QR Codes help businesses increase brand awareness by making experiences intuitive and easy. There are tons of possibilities, too.
For example, you can have consumers scan your code to enter a lucky draw. Once they scan, they will see your landing page – where they can interact with your conversational AI software or AI-based chatbot and participate in the raffle. Companies can also outsource live chat agents and consumers can reach them by scanning a QR Code.
Before we dive deeper into how you can enhance your consumers’ journeys through QR Codes, let’s take a quick look at what they are.
A. What Are QR Codes?
QR stands for Quick Response and is categorized as a matrix barcode. These nifty codes were created by DENSO WAVE engineers, who wanted to scan barcodes with more speed. They also wanted to optimize their manufacturing process and needed codes that could be printed on smaller areas compared to the traditional barcode.
The QR Code movement took off in 2017 and has peaked since 2020. According to reports by eMarketer, there’s no danger of the furor dying down since the number of smartphone users in the US who scanned QR Codes will go from 83.4 million in 2022 to approximately 99.5 million in 2025.
It’s not complicated to create your own QR Code and debut it right away. There are just a few tips to be aware of:
1. Mobile First
We live in a digital age, and mobile-friendly content is top tier. Make sure your QR Code is mobile-friendly, i.e., can be scanned with little to no hassle from a banner advert or webpage. If you’re adding it to your app, ensure that the developer does regular testing on it to fix bugs.
Bonus tip: you can include regular tests in your software contract with the developer: look up the software development contract sample to confirm that you’ve made full use of yours.
Ensure it’s easy to detect if placed on a physical medium, such as in a magazine or a flyer.
2. Consumer Gratification
Your consumers won’t want to take the trouble of scanning your code only to end up on your webpage. They’ll do it once, but they likely won’t return. Circumvent this situation by offering them a reward for scanning the code. It could be anything from a discount voucher to a gift. The consumer will remember the gratifying journey.
3. Go Guerilla
Remember that you can use omnichannel marketing and make QR Codes one of the touchpoints. If you’re trying to look up ‘what is an omnichannel customer experience’ on Google, keep reading. Omnichannel customer experiences allow you to lead users from one platform to another through various touchpoints. And you can add guerilla marketing into the mix!
Picture this: you own a brand that makes activewear for women. You’ve created an advert out of graffiti near a popular gym with a scannable QR Code also spray-painted onto the wall. Women walking by will be hooked by the unusual ad, scan the code, and land on your webpage. From there, a discount prompt will tell them to follow your social media and so on.
B. How to Enhance Consumer Journey with QR Codes
There are a lot of ways you can use QR Codes to enhance your consumer journey. Let’s take a look at some of them here.
1. E-Commerce benefits
You can add QR Codes to videos that demonstrate your products. It will give your consumer a better experience as they won’t have to look for the product they want. They can scan the QR Code you’ve provided and be directed to the product of their choice instantly.
QR Codes can be printed on your delivery packages too. It makes it easy for your customers to give important feedback without going to your website manually and provide a good digital customer journey. It’s also a great way to link offline and online presence, boosting brand equity.
Let’s say you have a unique on-ground activation somewhere in the city. You can set up QR Codes around the area and create meaningful experiences for consumers when they scan them. For example, with the help of optical character recognition, when a user scans the code, they can see exclusive content through their smartphone, or it can ‘pop up’ through AI. It enhances their journey and makes them loyal to your brand in one go.
3. Easy Access to Information
QR Codes allow you to connect consumers to information efficiently. Some consumers who may shy away from clicking on links might scan QR Codes instead because of the novelty of the experience. For example, a consumer who’s interested in buying VoIP software might not click on a link that explains the differences between VoIP and landline. They will want to scan an embedded QR Code that leads to the same webpage if it offers an exciting reward.
C. Live by the Code: Tips for Strategists
No matter how you slice it, businesses want to increase sales. The various forms of advertising are a way to create meaningful experiences with the customer, build brand equity, and ultimately lead them to purchase.
Smart strategists will understand that QR Codes alone won’t significantly enhance the consumer journey. They will elevate it, but other touchpoints have to be used in tandem if consumers are to engage with the brand effectively, such as listening to customers and providing data privacy. QR Codes can have a positive impact on brand growth and can draw in new customers. It’s up to the strategists to decide how to make loyalists out of them by using multiple touchpoints.