Despite having been around for decades, QR codes never became the revolutionary marketing strategy that businesses and marketers had hoped.
But, 2017’s iOS 11 update changed that. Apple’s stealth update that allows QR codes to be scanned directly through the camera app is game-changing. Adding the QR code feature on the control setting was pure genius. Even the latest Android smartphones have made QR code scanning a native feature.
QR codes can also increase post-purchase engagement by allowing customers to re-order the product or link to a video tutorial on how to use the product effectively. QR codes can also act as effective lead magnets by getting consumers to sign up for loyalty plans or subscribing to the newsletter or getting valuable feedback.
How did QR codes become so important in 2019?
QR codes are ubiquitous in China. In an attempt to penetrate the smartphone market in China, the iOS 11 update inadvertently also opened up new avenues for global markets. Inspired by China, South Korea has also witnessed a staggering increase in the number of QR codes scans.
Scanning QR codes is second nature for consumers
The popularity of QR codes can also be attributed to increased consumer awareness. Social media platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram have all come up with QR codes that allow users to follow accounts by scanning the code.
QR codes at the store to curate an experiential shopping experience
QR codes can be used at the store level to give shoppers experiential choices. Nike’s Flagship store called House of Innovation 000 uses QR codes all throughout the store to give Nike Plus Members with the Nike app a truly unique experience. Nike Plus Unlocks upon entering a store rewards members. The flagship store also has ‘Scan to Try’ wherein members can scan mannequins and have store assistants bring them the right size and color to the fitting rooms. If consumers don’t have the Nike app, they can also scan the QR codes on the walls to download the Nike app.
Nike Instant Checkout also uses codes to allow members to skip the long checkout line and checkout from the Nike App. These Instant Checkout stations are positioned throughout the store.
According to research by The Paper Worker, 1/3rd of consumer decision-making is purely based on a product’s packaging. Creating packaging that is appealing is even harder when you factor in millennials that always steer towards aesthetically pleasing and minimalistic design. QR codes are the answer to this struggle.
Gone are the days of black and white QR codes. QR codes can now be customized with logos, colors and different shapes to attract consumers. This is very useful in that it allows consumers to know exactly what they’re scanning as well.
Businesses don’t need to keep swapping out QR codes to display different offers either. Static QR codes have given way to dynamic QR codes which explains why QR codes have been cropping up on digital billboards.
Digital marketing gained traction for one very important reason: Tracking performance metrics. Something that was impossible with traditional forms of marketing. But, with QR codes, marketers can finally understand which marketing campaigns are performing well based on the number of scans.
QR codes are extremely cost-effective and easy to deploy
The cost of running a digital or traditional marketing campaign can be quite steep without having any measurable results. That is why QR codes have gained so much popularity. Not only are they cost-effective, but they are also extremely easy to deploy.
The QR code market is on a steep rise. According to Juniper Research, by 2022, 5.3 billion QR code coupons will be redeemed by smartphones and 1 billion smartphones will access QR codes.
Marketers can take a two-pronged approach to maximize their ROI with QR codes. One at a store level to display general offers or to leverage national holidays and the other at a product level to create interactive products.