A few years ago, QR codes were the new big thing. Fast forward to a decade later and they are everywhere and clearly here to stay. The coronavirus pandemic further accelerated the widespread use of QR codes. In fact, a recent survey found that 18.8% of consumers in the United States and United Kingdom strongly agreed that they had noticed an increase of QR code use since the begin of COVID-19.
What is a QR code
So, what exactly is a QR code? A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) works in much the same way that a barcode works. It’s a unique, machine-readable code that contains data e.g. for a locator, identifier, or tracker that points to a website or application. Invented in 1994 by the Japanese automotive company Denso Wave for use in the automotive industry, QR codes have since become widely used across many industries including hospitality and retail.
Benefits of QR codes
- Popular across many industries and age groups
- Most smartphones now come with a native QR Code scanner in their cameras, making QR codes quick and easy to use
- Continuous growth in usage – 28% growth in 2019 and surge in adoption across many industries during the pandemic
- Provide customers with trackable content for one-time or continuous use
- Great for combining digital and non-digital marketing efforts
- Cost effective
QR codes in marketing
QR codes are an interactive way to drive traffic and boost engagement. Not to mention, they allow for tracking, making it easy to measure marketing efforts. From the consumers perspective, they are easy to use and convenient. With the number of smartphone users on the rise and the demand for contact-less, trackable technology in a post-pandemic world, the use of QR codes is anticipated to grow significantly.
There are many innovative use cases to help you get the most from this channel. Here’s just a few;
- Direct customers to personalised landing pages
- Combine traditional methods like direct mail with digital channels
- Generate unique discounts codes and promotions
- Deliver hyper-personalised, multi-media content
No doubt QR codes present a great opportunity for marketers. However, best practises must be followed in order to get the most from this channel. It’s important to prioritise the customer experience and the stage they are in in the customer journey in both the visual design, content and placement of your QR codes. Essentially a clear strategy and ethics are key to ensure that you are delivering real value for your customers rather than being spammy or simply adopting QR codes to follow trends.