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How to Use QR Codes to Boost Your Business

How to Use QR Codes to Boost Your Business

Quick Response (QR) codes are similar to barcodes except that the former is a 2D code that contains data about a product, service, or organization. Wondering how these codes can increase your profits? Let's find out.
Bindu swetha
Did You Know?
QR Code was first developed by DENSO WAVE ―a subsidiary of Toyota. However, the company did not exercise their rights on the codes, which eventually led to their widespread use.
QR codes are made of thousands of alphanumeric characters that store a lot of information about a service, offer, product or company. These codes, when scanned using mobile phones (the camera ones, of course), redirect the user to a web page containing information about a product or service. Thus, you can share a video, presentation, even an ebook that talks about the product or your business by using these codes.

In this article, we have suggested a few ideas regarding the placement and information to be stored in the QR code, so as to improve your business. We have also mentioned case studies of the companies who have benefited from the usage of these codes.

Accommodation and Food Services Industry

Our Idea

◆ People in the hotel business can use QR codes to redirect scanners or users to a mobile website that offers sweepstakes by taking a survey. You can place the code on menu cards, tables, cutlery (glasses), and the check (bill).

◆ If you are running a restaurant where musical nights are a norm, you can offer tickets for the next show, at discounted rates for scanners.

◆ For others, you can give away coupons that can be availed on the customer's next visit. You can chip in a quiz prior to the coupon give away, just to engage the customers.

◆ If you provide accommodation facility as well, you can redirect the scanners to a photo gallery of the hotel's lobby, the rooms, the dining areas, and other fun places. At the end of the gallery, you can give them points that should eventually lead to discounts in room rates.

Case Study: Heinz

The food industry saw a huge boost in 2012, when Heinz Ketchup launched a QR code-led marketing campaign to promote their recyclable PET plastic bottles that used the PlantBottle Technology. They ventured into a strategic partnership with Coca-Cola,  who eliminated around 30K metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010.

About the QR Code

These codes were placed on their restaurant bottles. When scanned via smartphones, the scanners were redirected to a mobile website which offered sweepstakes by taking their trivia game. Around 57 eco-friendly prizes were given to people who answered the green knowledge questions correctly.

Gains to the Company

The company reportedly received around 1 million scans as a result of this campaign. The spokeswoman for H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, PA, Tracey Parsons said,

Based on the great response we received from the PlantBottle QR code―more than 1 million scans―we found this to be an effective way to drive awareness and excitement in restaurants, where the special QR code bottles can be found.

Similar Campaigns

The company launched Wounded Warrior QR code campaign, where customers were educated about veterans program that Heinz carried out.

Mobile Industry

Our Idea

◆ You need to first select the perfect spot for placing the code. In retail stores, QR codes can be placed right below the displayed model. Upon scanning, the customers should be redirected to a document that will list out the various carrier plans along with details about the accessories of that particular device.

◆ You can team up with review websites and print media, to publish the codes alongside the relevant information. When the customer scans the code, he should be redirected to the company's store where the device can be purchased.

Case Study: Verizon

Verizon launched the QR code campaign for those customers who visited their stores. By scanning the codes, the customer ended up getting a free smartphone from the manufacturer. A California-based firm Hipscan prepared these codes for Verizon.

About the QR Code

Upon entering Verizon's store, visitors were presented with a QR code that took them to Facebook. The scanners then had to share this code on their Facebook profiles. If any of their friends used this code and ended up buying a Verizon mobile, the person who shared the code won a smartphone.

Gains to the Company

This was only a week-long campaign which saw a 3,400% ROI and about 25,000 Facebook shares. There was a 200% increase in the overall sales. The company invested about USD 1,000 in the campaign, and earned about USD 35,000. Their advertizing tagline for this campaign was:

Come into any Verizon Wireless EVO²  store, scan the Hipscan, tell your friends about the great deal and get a brand new cell phone or smartphone.

Similar Campaigns

In 2010, Verizon, in association with ScanLife, used QR codes in print advertisements, in-store displays, and direct mail. When visitors scanned the codes, they could download apps from their app store. This led to 150,000 scans in just three months.

Gaming Industry

Our Idea

◆ You can add QR codes on the game's CD label. When the buyer scans it, he should be eligible to play a bonus level of the game, which will help increase his points tally.

◆ Another approach that the gaming industry can take is to link trial versions of games to the codes. Upon scanning, the scanner can play the trial version and can avail discounts if he wishes to buy the game in future.

Case Study: Homefront

The gaming giant took the less traveled path of in-game advertising, to promote their games. However, unlike other companies, Homefront hid these codes in the games.

About the QR Code

The game had about 10 QR codes, of which, 9 were hidden at different places in the game, while one was present in the manual that was provided with the game. On scanning these codes, gamers could unlock wallpapers and exclusive videos. These videos had additional information regarding the current level of the game.

Gains to the Company

The company had whopping results, thanks to the campaign. About 30,000 scans were witnessed in just 2 days after the start of the campaign. This figure rose to 50,000 scans alongside 30,000 wallpaper downloads and 18,000 video views in the first month itself.


Our Idea

◆ Your NGO can team up with manufacturers and products, and upon buying their products, the scanned QR code will automatically donate money to the NGO, while the scanner would be eligible to avail offers on future purchases.

◆ If you are a heritage protection NGO, upon scanning the QR codes, the scanner should be provided free tickets to the said heritage site.

◆ Similarly, if you are running a child-care NGO, you can link discounts on products made by kids to the QR codes.

Case Study: The Cure Starts Now Foundation

This non-profit organization, in partnership with Graeter's Ice Cream, started a QR code campaign known as Cones for the Cure. It was started by Keith Desserich and his wife Brooke after their daughter died at the age of six, due to brain cancer.

About the QR Code

When these codes were scanned, users were redirected to the Cones for the Cure page.  Once there, if the user entered his/her contact information, he/she was offered a coupon for a free scoop of Elena Blueberry Pie ice cream. For every contact detail entered, Cones for the Cure  donated money to the foundation.

Gains to the Company

This promotional event lasted for three weeks. The organization raised more than USD 25,000 as charity to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

Similar Campaigns

The foundation relaunched the campaign in September 2013, with an increased fundraising target of USD 45,000. Guests who visit the company's website can donate USD 1 or more towards the cause.

Retail Industry

Our Idea

◆ For the retail industry, the main objective has always been to increase sales. QR codes can be linked to a document where details regarding future sales (discounts, offers) are available.

◆ You can also ask potential customers to scan these codes to avail free parking offers, at your mall. You can also provide free parking area, during peak hours.

Case Study: Emart

The Korean retailer created a 3D QR code which was set up all over Seoul. The target was to increase sales during the lunch hour. The campaign was known as the Sunny Sale.

About the QR Code

The code was designed in such a manner that only when sunlight fell on the code, it could be seen completely. Thus, the code could be scanned only at noon, during 12 to 1 p.m. Scanners got a special 25% discount coupon that could be redeemed through the company's e-commerce site or at their store.

Gains to the Company

This campaign led to 25% increase in sales during the lunch hours. The company doubled the locations since the promotion took off in 2012.

QR codes, though are a great marketing idea, haven't been effectively used by most companies. In comparison to other modes of marketing, these codes are cost-effective, and can boost profits. Try to place these codes in eye-catching areas, and watch your business grow.