You’ve probably seen QR codes on print media such as flyers, posters, business cards, or even receipts. However, marketers are increasingly discovering the potential of QR codes to enhance product packaging.
Your product packaging has to pull triple duty. It has to describe the product in a way that will encourage customers to buy it, provide legally required information such as ingredients and nutrition facts, and express your brand. Needless to say, product packaging is challenging to get right. A single misstep can hurt your profits and drive customers away from your brand.
When you need to pack so much information onto the packaging, you miss out on a lot of opportunities. How can you help customers get answers to their questions about the product? How can you encourage them to visit your social media? Customers who do these things are more likely to make a purchase. If only your packaging could instantly direct customers to a website or have them make a quick phone call.
With QR codes, it can.
Here are the top ten best ways to use QR codes on your product packaging to drive sales, boost customer engagement, and encourage brand loyalty.
A big barrier to customers making a purchase is when they can’t envision how they would use the product. This is especially true if your product isn’t something they typically encounter. Consumers don’t like to make decisions or do research when shopping: They will always gravitate toward the simplest option.
Unfortunately, product packaging typically doesn’t have the space for you to print a how-to guide or show sample uses of the product. A video might be ideal, but we do not live in a magical world where moving images can be printed on paper. QR codes offer a convenient way for consumers to access an instructional video or a website that gives them more information about the product. If they can imagine themselves using the product, they’re more likely to buy it.
Example: You’ve invented a gadget that helps consumers slice and pit avocados more easily. However, you’ve heard some feedback that customers don’t always understand how to use it. Rather than printing cumbersome instructions on the product packaging, use a QR code to drive customers to a short video that demonstrates how to use the gadget.
Research shows that younger consumers are value-based shoppers. They gravitate toward brands that have a compelling story and demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and inclusivity. No matter what you’re selling, communicating your company story to consumers has a measurable impact on your sales.
Think how you can use QR codes to provide digital content that younger generations will appreciate. For example, you could use a QR code to drive shoppers to a landing page that showcases your company’s charitable giving. Your food packaging could feature a QR code that shows the customer a short documentary about the farm that produced the ingredients. This tactic can enhance the shopping experience and provide easy access to your company’s story in an unobtrusive way.
Example: You have a dairy farm that’s been in your family generations, and you’re very proud of your success. You want to share your journey with consumers and assure them that your animals are well taken care of. Print a QR code on your cheese packages to send customers to a mini-documentary that takes viewers behind-the-scenes on your farm.
Make no mistake, consumers regularly check review sites, as well as your own social media profiles’ reviews sections, to see if your product does what it promises. If they’re in a brick-and-mortar store examining your product, they likely have their smartphone out to look up reviews before they head to the checkout.
Why not guide the conversation a bit? Create a QR code that leads to a landing page with verified endorsements and other forms of social proof and print it prominently on your packaging. If you have good reviews on your Google, Facebook, Yelp or Trustpilot page, use a QR code to send customers there. Customers have their smartphone already in hand: Take advantage of that.
Example: Your Amazon product page has a lot of positive reviews, but you notice that most of your customers are visiting your Facebook page, which has some negative feedback. Print a QR code on your packaging that leads to the Amazon page, with a clear call-to-action, e.g. “See how much Amazon shoppers love our product!”
Under new FDA regulations for food products, you’re required to list nutrition facts and detailed ingredient information on your product packaging. That can take up a lot of real estate. Crowd your packaging with too much information, and you lose the customer. Remember, consumers want simplicity, but they’re still going to read the packaging.
If you need or want to list other product information, such as detailed ingredient lists or assembly instructions, a QR code is a great way to do it. Savvy consumers will scan the code and immediately have the information they need at hand. Save yourself the problem of crowded packaging or loose-leaf inserts and keep it digital. You’ll save on printing costs and make your customers happier.
Example: You sell spice blends, but the packages are very small, and you struggle to find space for all the product information. Use a QR code printed on the packaging to send customers to a webpage that lists all the spices in the mix.
With e-commerce websites, you can easily recommend related products to your customers or offer a subscription plan for convenient re-stocking. Upselling can be challenging in a real-world purchase scenario where you are not present. Customers may not think to visit your website and buy more of your products. Depending on how your product is distributed, you might not even have all your options stocked in the store that the customer frequents. What if you could provide a personalized shopping experience in the real world — then drive the customer to your e-commerce site to discover more options?
Once again, QR codes are the answer. Print a QR code on your product packaging that leads customers to a landing page that highlights related or complementary products. If your product is a gadget, health and fitness item, or something else that tends to be used alongside other products, a QR code is a great way to encourage customers to keep shopping with your company.
You can also use QR codes to send consumers to a subscription portal. This tactic works especially well for products that will need to be replaced or restocked, such as cosmetics or food and beverages. Generate a QR code for a registration page that sets up a recurring purchase of the product and offer to ship it to their doorstep for free. By including this code on the package, you can easily boost your customer retention rate.
Example: You have a brewery, and you’ve just rolled out a subscription plan in which customers can have your beer shipped to their door. You want to encourage the customers who buy your beer at the store to sign up for the new plan. Print a QR code on the cans that instantly sends consumers to your subscription portal.
People who regularly shop online are used to having an ultra-personalized shopping experience. They see products recommended to them based on their previous purchases. Their real-world shopping experience should be no different. Put the “custom” in “customer” and use QR codes to send consumers to a personalized shopping portal. You can send them to a lead capture form that collects their personal information then redirects to a Recommended Products page. In this way, QR codes can offer a customized experience that makes customers feel special and encourages them to keep shopping with your company.
Example: You have a display of wine and cheeses. Post a QR code that leads advice and a recommended pairings that work best.
Many shoppers are passive: They’ll buy the product and enjoy it, yet take no extra steps to share or review it. This unfortunate tendency is largely due to the inconvenience of logging on and making the effort to engage with your brand. Few consumers feel like they have time to visit your social media page to view your content or Amazon product page to leave reviews. What if you could make it easy for them.
QR codes offer a way for consumers to easily access these pages. Eliminating that initial hurdle is the first step to encouraging your customers to share and review your product. Get creative with QR codes used for this purpose: Incentivize customers to engage by offering a referral discount or free swag. You can use a special tracking URL in your QR code to be able to identify and reward these engaged consumers.
Example: If you sell cosmetics, print a QR code on its packaging that leads to your Instagram page. Ask customers to tag you with a picture of themselves using your product and offer a prize to a random poster.
You probably know that blogs, videos, e-books, and other high-value content are great ways to drive search engine traffic to your website. Why stop there? Get your customers engaged with your brand by funneling them toward these resources. With an inbound marketing approach, you prioritize existing customers and encourage them to engage with your content. This strategy builds customer loyalty and boosts word-of-mouth advertising. Your content can help get your customers hooked on your brand.
Naturally, QR codes are a way to drive traffic directly to your content rather than relying upon search. Consider printing a QR code to a relevant how-to article, worksheet PDF, or video on your product packaging. This tactic helps establish your brand authority and makes the consumer feel like you have something of value to offer.
Example: You sell yoga equipment. Your products could have a QR code printed on their packaging that directs customers to a video demonstrating different exercises. You could print a different QR code on each product linking to a video with further instruction.
As we’ve mentioned, you can use QR codes to send consumers to instructions, product information, ingredient lists, and other relevant content. Don’t forget to toss something fun into the mix! You can give your customers ideas about how to best incorporate the product into their lives, such as recipes they can use it in or life hacks they can try it with.
Be clever with supplemental content. When possible, make it a bit of a mystery: Print different QR codes on different units of the same product so that customers are urged to “collect them all.” Game-ifying the purchase process boosts engagement and encourages customer loyalty. You can even make the QR codes the only way to view the content (post them on a no-index webpage), so that your customers feel like they’ve got exclusive, VIP access.
Example: Remember your coffee blends? Use a QR code to direct consumers to different drinks that could be made. Each unit can lead to one of five different options that the customer randomly gets.
Are you one of the many companies that give back to your community? Perhaps you donate proceeds of each purchase to a nonprofit, or you’re using your platform to collect donations for a special cause. If you’ve got a charity drive or other fundraising activity going on, it can be challenging to promote that in coordination with your regular advertising. As always, QR codes are here to help.
Because QR codes look different and attract consumer attention, they’re an excellent means of capturing customers’ interest for a charity campaign. Post the QR code prominently on your product packaging with a strong call-to-action. You can configure your code to lead to your crowdfunding page or a video explaining the campaign, or better yet, straight to a giving link.
Example: You sell surf products, and you give a portion of the proceeds to help rid the ocean and beaches of plastic. You want to boost awareness of this effort while encouraging purchases. Print a QR code on your product packaging that leads to a short video explaining how every purchase funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean and coastlines. t. Conclude the video with a link to donate to the foundation you are working with.