From small retail stores to niche popular luxury brands, QR codes are a point of fascination for all categories of businesses. QR codes add an edge to the customer experience that a company provides. QR codes have seen diverse applications in every possible industry over the past two decades of its existence. With the number of smartphone users in 2019 forecasted as 2.5 billion, it is safe to assume that the usage of QR codes is only going to rise from here.
So how did QR codes come into existence?
QR Code or a Quick response code is the trademark name for 2-dimensional barcodes. The Denso Corporation of Japan invented QR codes in 1994 as a way of overcoming the limitations of barcodes. QR Codes gained importance after the Japanese automobile manufacturer Toyota incorporated the technology in their manufacturing process for identification and tracking of automotive parts.
Although QR codes were created as a technology to keep track of product inventory, it has become so much more today. Following are QR code examples of 15 brands that showcase the versatility of QR codes in business.
QR Code Examples: 15 Brands that redefined QR codes
1. Taco Bell makes QR Codes edible
Taco Bell has been incorporating QR codes as part of their promotional campaigns for quite a few years now. When Taco Bell launched its ‘Doritos Locos Tacos’ back in 2012, it placed QR codes on all Taco holster packages as a way of creating customer engagement.
Another instant where Taco Bell nailed the usage of QR codes was when they created QR codes that looked like a design made out of lemons. Taco Bell placed these innovative QR Codes in their print ads published with US Weekly and People. The campaign was an initiative for the promotion of ‘Taco Bell Cantinas,’ which was the restaurant’s attempt at serving a Gourmet menu.
2. Nissan increases mobile engagement with QR codes
Nissan launched another interesting QR code initiative for mobile engagement by placing QR codes on vehicle window stickers for the entire product line up in 2012. These QR codes led users to complete product related information such as the key features, product overview videos, accessories that come along with the vehicle to name a few.
3. General Motors replaces SPID labels with QR codes
General Motors, one of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers is no stranger to the benefits of QR codes. GM decided to add QR code stickers on its Chevrolet brand of cars. The automotive giant is aiming to increase the demand for its products by increasing customer engagement through QR codes.
The manufacturer also decided to replace the Service Parts Identification (SPID) label on the vehicle parts with QR codes to serve as a more reliable way of accessing critical information.
4. L’Oreal engages customers on the go with QR codes
L’Oreal partnered with Glamour and used QR codes inside taxis to capture customers stuck in traffic. The campaign promoted the range of Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent product lines by linking QR code campaigns to videos about how to use the products and redirecting to the store page. The campaign helped L’Oreal increase its app downloads by 80%.
5. Tesco making virtual stores a reality with QR Codes
The UK based retail giant Tesco first created virtual stores in South Korea, as a simple ‘Shop on the Go’ solution for customers with long working hours. This initiative of Tesco proved to be an effective strategy for them to regain the customers they had lost in South Korea as a result of their busy schedules.
The enthusiastic response received to the benefits of these virtual stores led Tesco to launch more virtual stores in the UK as well.
Paypal revolutionized the way cashless transactions are looked at by adding QR codes to the equation. The cashless payment systems that help in making purchase quicker and transactions easier is especially attractive to millennials.
Starbucks was another restaurant that adopted QR codes in a variety of forms with the focus of increasing coffee sales. Starbucks incorporated QR codes in its promotional campaigns like print ads with People magazine and also in outdoor ads in major cities of the US by printing QR codes on flyers.
Starbucks did not leave any stone unturned in their QR code initiative by implementing cashless mobile payments for coffee using QR codes.
8. Coca Cola uses dynamic QR codes to engage customers
The US-based soft drink manufacturer wasn’t one to be left behind in the QR code campaign initiatives. Coca Cola brought about a new perspective to QR codes by embedding dynamic QR codes in product packaging with new content that delivered unique experiences to customers each time they scanned the QR codes.
Dynamic QR codes are an innovative take on the regular QR codes where you can schedule a variety of time-based marketing campaigns and assign it to the same QR code. Intuitive dashboards like Beaconstac act as QR code generators for businesses and help them manage the campaigns end-to-end
9. Netflix and Snapchat come together for QR code-based promotional campaign
Netflix came up with an intriguing application of QR codes by transforming 200 real-world cafes to look like Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls as part of a promotional campaign for the show. Snapchat added a branding boost to this campaign by printing snap codes(Snapchat’s version of QR codes) on the coffee cups of these cafes. The snap codes when scanned would unlock a Gilmore Girls filter on Snapchat.
Nike took QR code marketing to the next level when they used QR codes to create customized shoes for customers. This campaign resulted from Nike’s collaboration with WeChat, the famous messaging app from China. To start with, the customers first had to scan a QR code to follow Nike. The users then had to click a colorful image of their choice and send it to Nike which would be followed by receiving a response from Nike with their customized shoe that matched the colors in the picture.
11. British Airways makes airport check-ins easier with QR codes
British Airways provides an excellent example of how QR codes can be useful in the travel industry. British Airways helps passengers use their mobiles for quicker check-ins by adding QR codes to the boarding pass.
12. Diesel’s ‘Scan for authentication’ initiative with QR codes
Diesel brings QR Codes denim. The famous clothing brand added QR Codes in their denim products to help users verify the authenticity of their products. This ‘Scan for Authenticity’ call to action added on the denim along with the QR codes acts as an authentication tool to verify the product even before they make the purchase.
13. Chili’s uses QR codes for raising funds and making scannable menus
Chili’s is an American casual dining restaurant chain that used QR codes for a variety of applications ranging from making scannable menus to fundraising reasons. The scannable menu with QR codes helped the restaurant in providing nutritional information to its patrons while the fundraising campaign with QR codes encouraged people to donate for cancer patients with a scan of their phone.
14. IKEA introduces faster check-outs with QR codes
IKEA makes check-outs for large furniture easier with QR based mobile check-out option. For a store like IKEA that sells furniture of different sizes, it is a huge challenge to take the products to the check-out counter and scan them. IKEA came up with a simple QR code-based solution to this problem by introducing the scan and check-out feature.
Instagram name tags are Instagram’s version of QR codes that help businesses and influencers promote their Instagram profile. Name tags work the same way as any other QR code by directing users to a specific Instagram profile when scanned.
QR Code relevance to businesses today: Are they here to stay?
QR codes today are a game-changing technique of combining the physical and digital business worlds. QR code-based campaigns act as a gateway for directing traffic generated offline to gain online visibility. They provide for an array of applications for increasing ROI to the business.