Last Updated: May 29, 2022

When QR codes first came out, most people thought they would just be a fad and not a real business must-have. But today, QR codes (Quick Response Codes) are just about everywhere.

You’ll find them on restaurant menus, on invoices from an online order, or printed on food packaging and clothing tags. These small black and white squares are able to pack detailed information that’s accessible with a quick scan of a smartphone camera. Users don’t have to type in lengthy URLs or waste time browsing search results pages to find what they need. And that makes them perfect for today’s on-the-go audience.

Demand for quick, touch-free transactions is rising, and QR codes are the perfect solution for this. U.S. mobile phone users who scanned QR codes jumped from 52.6 million in 2019 to 83.4 million in 2022. Emarketer says that this figure is expected to rise into 2025 as well. This creates opportunities for marketers and small business owners to connect with their target audiences in new ways. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at how ecommerce entrepreneurs can use QR codes to optimize their marketing strategy. With the right plan, you can use QR codes to improve the customer journey, boost sales, and streamline your business operations. 

Let’s see how now.

How Do QR Codes Work? 

A quick response code is a machine-readable code that stores information that can be read by a QR code scanner or smartphone camera. QR codes can store details like a website URL, a phone number, or a message that people can access after scanning with a QR code reader.

QR codes are like barcodes on steroids. A QR code’s structure contains data and error correction mechanisms that allow them to store more encrypted characters, gather information quicker, and eliminate errors better. Barcodes have to be read horizontally and scanned with a special device or a third-party app. QR codes on the other hand can be read in an omnidirectional way. 

QR codes can also sustain up to 30% of structural damage (from tears, water, or print smudges) and still continue to function, making them a great choice for businesses who use them on printed materials.

(Source: QR Code Tiger)

There are two types of QR codes:

  • A static QR code contains fixed information. Once a static code is generated, it can’t be edited or changed. They’re best for personal use or creating large batches of codes for IDs or documentation. But because of this fixed nature, they’re not the best choice for marketing campaigns as they can’t track metrics or allow future editing.
  • A dynamic QR code allows users to edit and update the encoded details as many times as needed, making them the best fit for business purposes. Dynamic codes allow data tracking and measuring. It can show you where, when, and what device was used to scan it. 

Business Benefits of QR Codes

QR codes are extremely versatile. Businesses can get creative with them and use them in a variety of ways, from marketing campaigns to lead generation, improving customer engagement, and more. Here are some more benefits of QR codes:

  • QR codes are an inexpensive way to increase traffic to your site and social media pages. 
  • With QR codes, you can distribute coupons at a wider scale and implement fun, gamified marketing campaigns. 
  • QR codes streamline the user experience by saving navigation time and giving customers the information they need with one scan.
  • Dynamic QR codes have tracking features that let you automate and track where the conversions happen. They’re a great first-party data source that gives you information on which platforms your leads come from, which campaigns work, and the date, time, and location of the QR code scan. 
  • vCard QR codes are a convenient way to share your business number and other contact information.
  • QR codes help facilitate business operations like contactless payment processing and inventory tracking.

9 Ways to Use QR Codes for Business

QR codes are a great way to add a bit of novelty to your marketing campaigns. They have an element of gamification, offering customers incentives and surprises in exchange for scanning. Here are some ideas on using QR codes to bring in more traffic and boost sales in your business:

Direct Users to a Landing Page or Product Page

Increase your online store’s traffic by directing customers to your landing page or sales pages. You can put QR codes on your product packaging, social media pages, direct mail marketing materials, email marketing newsletters, or ads. It’s a quick and easy way for them to go straight to your offer without the hassle of navigating around the website. 

Bring Customers to Your Social Media Pages

Today, it’s easy to meet your audience where they’re at. A social media presence humanizes a brand and makes it easier for businesses to stay fresh in their audience’s minds. If your business priorities include increasing market reach and brand awareness, use a QR code that directs customers to your Facebook page and other social media accounts. 

(Source: QRCode Tiger)

Use QR Codes in Online and Offline Ads

QR codes work well with ads. Whether it’s a digital or print ad, create a bit of hype or gamify the experience by offering a surprise, free content, or a coupon if they scan it.

(Source: Justinsomnia)

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Offer Coupons and Discounts

Juniper Research says that QR code coupon redemption is predicted to reach 5.3 billion, up from 1.3 billion in 2017. Online retailers often use coupon codes that need to be manually typed. Make it even easier for customers to redeem discounts by using QR codes that direct customers to the product page with the special discount.

To increase the chances of sales, create a sense of urgency by limiting your promo period. Statements like “promo lasts until midnight” or “code expires in one week” encourage them to take action quickly.

(Source: DontPayFull)

Get More Reviews and Encourage Customer Feedback

Customer reviews and social proof influence other people’s decisions to buy from a brand. However, one study shows that only 50% leave reviews after completing a purchase after being asked by the business. Thirty percent of these consumers were never prompted by a business post-purchase. 

Increase your chances of getting a review by adding a QR code in your package inserts that direct customers straight to your review page. Asking for feedback also shows you care about customer satisfaction and that you’re open to improvements.

(Source: Gatherup)

Connect It to Content

A QR code is especially useful for providing in-depth and detailed product information that won’t fit on a flyer, an ad, or a product sheet. Share helpful content that’s related to product usage or product care. You can also link it to an instructional video or a printable instruction sheet.

Sharing information and content like this helps increase customer trust as it shows that you know what you’re doing. It also boosts post-purchase engagement as customers can refer back to it anytime they need it again.

Connect It to Value-Add Content

Creating value-adding content that goes along with the content can boost the worth of the product in the customer’s eyes, without costing the company a lot. A QR code can lead to an instruction video, or behind the scenes of making the product. Small things that don’t take a lot to produce, but can go a long way in the customer’s eyes.

Order Tracking

For most online shoppers, tracking online orders isn’t always straightforward. They’d have to go through several steps before finding out where their packages are. QR codes are already widely used in the shipping and logistics industries to keep track of shipments. You can also use QR codes in your business to help customers keep track of their packages in real-time with a single scan. 

Share Contact Details 

A vCard QR code is a virtual business card. You can use a vCard QR code generator to create a QR code that shares your business contact details with potential customers. Your contact details are automatically saved to their phones with a single scan. With a dynamic vCard QR code, you can also easily edit and update your contact details.

(Source: QR Code Generator)

Loyalty Programs

Loyalty and rewards programs help increase revenue by retaining existing customers, increasing their lifetime value, and increasing average order value. Loyalty programs are popular, with an estimated 4 billion online loyalty cards active today. Try using a QR code solution for your loyalty program to make it easier for customers to keep track of their rewards points and wallets.

(Source: QRCode Tiger)

QR Codes FAQs

What businesses need QR codes?

QR codes’ applications benefit a wide variety of industries. They were first created by Japanese company Denso Wave in the 1990s and were used in manufacturing, but today, QR codes are used almost everywhere: from healthcare, banking, food and beverage, tourism, to retail. The most popular use of QR codes in business is for discounts and promos, which makes it a particularly great fit for ecommerce and online shopping.  

Do QR codes increase sales?

QR codes that link to coupons and discounts encourage people to buy more products, but calculating ROI is critical if you want to make sure you’re still making a profit instead of just giving away stuff for free. Linking QR codes to sales and product pages is also one way to use QR codes to increase sales. 

The Next Steps: Creating QR Codes for Your Business

QR codes clearly have many benefits and applications for ecommerce businesses. If you think QR codes are a great fit for your company, here are the next steps you can take: 

Step One: Decide How You Want to Use QR Codes in Your Business 

Connect it to your business goals and set measurable KPIs. Does your business need more brand awareness? Do you want to improve your loyalty program’s enrollment and usage? Do you want to run a sale and use QR codes to boost coupon redemption? Defining your goals helps you determine the type of content you lead users to.

Step Two: Create Your QR Code

There are many free QR code generators today that can help you create a QR code easily. Some of the best QR code generators out there like QRCode Monkey, QR Code Generator, QR Stuff, and QRCode Tiger have great free plans that allow you to create static and dynamic QR codes. Paid plans include extra functionalities like customization, unlimited QR code generation, and metrics tracking. 

Another fun thing about QR codes is that you can customize the design to align with your company logo, colors, or campaign theme. QR Code Monkey and QR Stuff allow you to design custom QR codes for free.

Step Three: Optimize Your Content for Mobile

Users today have a low tolerance for bad user experience, especially on mobile devices. You don’t want to have a customer scan your QR code, land on a page that isn’t optimized for mobile, and then click away. Make sure your pages are mobile-friendly with clear CTA buttons.

Step Four: Set Up A Distribution Plan

A QR code won’t work if people won’t see it. Think about where you want to share your QR codes. It can be on print ads, package inserts, online ads, or even in physical locations where people can scan them. Make sure your QR code is easy to see and scan. 

Adapting to new technologies can be overwhelming to business owners, who already have so much on their plate. But in today’s business landscape, customers want a seamless shopping experience, more value, and better marketing campaigns from brands. QR codes are a great solution and a good, inexpensive tool that can help you to optimize your marketing efforts.

Want to make more sales? Reach out for your free 20-minute consultation call. Let’s discuss strategies that are tailor-fit for your ecommerce business that will help you to scale quickly and efficiently. 

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