The DL on QR: And Why They are Here to Stay

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QR codes have made a major comeback. When QR codes first came on the scene, they seemed destined to be a flash in the pan. They were unreliable and often confusing to navigate, requiring a 3rd party app and too many steps to get from scan to screen. Enter the global pandemic, when QR codes emerged as an essential tool to communicate in a touchless society. Many businesses transitioned from physical menus and face to face ordering to using QR codes, enabling customers to order right from their phone, no contact necessary. In tandem, smart phone technology evolved to support native scanning, making QR code access seamless right from the camera app.  

While menus may have been where the average consumer tested (or re-tested) the waters with QR codes, the versatile little squares can now be found just about everywhere (even tattoos!) and are proving to be invaluable tools in enhancing brand, product and consumer experiences. 

Hands using smart phone scan QR code on smart menu online to select food in restaurant

Companies began putting QR codes on their packaging to promote product transparency and strengthen consumer engagement. With one click of a button, shoppers were able to see important information including ingredients, nutrition facts, potential allergens, and even a product’s environmental footprint, production journey and end-of-life information. To encourage consumer engagement, many companies have begun linking QR codes directly to their brand website, loyalty programs, deals, or social feeds.  

Concept of using smartphones to scan QR codes to make payments or earn points in restaurants. Using technology in the food business

Creating a Connected Pack

When we partnered with Eggland’s best to develop the packaging for their 100% Egg Whites product line, QR codes played a key role in building the brand and product experience both on pack and off. Along with the package design, our in-house recipe developer and food stylist created a collection of custom recipes for the brand, all of which feature healthy ingredients approved by the American Heart Association. Incorporating a QR code into our back of pack design allowed customers to instantly connect with the brand’s YouTube channel to browse for recipe tutorials and inspiration. In this way, QR codes proved an irreplaceable asset in building a seamless and connected omnichannel experience. 

Endless Codes, Endless Possibillites

Collecting data and insights with QR codes is also proving beneficial for companies. It allows brands to monitor purchased goods to help make important business decisions to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. Information from QR codes on packaging can also be used from a more technical standpoint allowing businesses to be able to identify supply chain inefficiencies, reduce costs and errors and improve product performance leading to an increase in the profit margins. This data is also used to view marketing analytics that can be beneficial to creating a successful future campaigns or strategies.  

From billboards to in-store displays to digital advertisements, many companies have employed QR codes in their brand marketing efforts both on and off-pack. With a single scan, consumers can easily be directed to a brand’s website, social page, or current campaign. 

Last year, Burger King launched the “QR Whopper” giveaway, offering a diversion to their fans stuck at home during quarantine. The popular chain ran 3 TV commercials, each with a floating QR code. If viewers could scan the QR code quick enough, they were brought to Burger King’s web page offering coupons for a free whopper to the first 10,000 scanners with a purchase through the BK App. 

More recently, Skittles launched the “QueeR Codes” campaign, celebrating LGBTQ+ creators during pride month and reprising their gray pack as a tribute to the pride flag, or as they tell it, “the only rainbow that matters” during pride.  

Of course, social media platforms are also jumping on the QR trend by adding custom QR to profiles enabling users to easily follow their favorite accounts. Even Smith Design has one! 

QR codes have taken off as an asset for brands and consumers alike and we feel confident that they are here to stay. AS we continue to build brands that must live and compete in a connected world, embracing trends and advances in technology is pivotal for success.  

Interested in learning more about how we’re designing omnichannel brand experiences that connect and delight? Get in touch!

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