Not sure what to use a QR code for in business? Or perhaps you just want more examples for using QR codes in your next marketing campaign? Whatever your purpose, our list of 50 creative ways to use QR codes is sure to trigger ideas to boost brand awareness, attract an audience, close more sales, operate more efficiently, and support customers better.
A QR code is a type of barcode anyone can scan and read with the camera in their smartphone. QR code stands for Quick Response code (“quick” because consumers can scan the QR code with a smartphone and get instant access to the information or be directed somewhere such as a website to take action).
QR codes are everywhere today — on pizza boxes, flyers, receipts, signs, shop doors — even on plants and toilet seats! Consumers finally have learned how easy it is to scan QR codes with a camera app on their mobile devices. Once scanned, QR codes can send the user to a PDF, landing page or video, or prompt a text message conversation, and much more.
It’s not just consumers who are catching on. Small business people and marketers have also discovered how to create a QR code. Using online tools, creating them is easy, fast — and often free.
Ways to Use QR Codes for Business
You can put QR codes on just about everything. Once you find a QR code generator and generate a QR code, simply download it as an image file. Place it anywhere you place an image. But first, you must have a company strategy for using QR codes. Here are 50 QR code examples:
Marketing QR Codes
Small Business Deals
A flyer or print postcard can boost local marketing campaigns. Use a QR code to take the recipient to the carryout order section of your website.
Bring your readers from print ads to your digital platforms.
Include a QR code in an infographic leading to a page to subscribe to your newsletter.
Put a QR code on a brochure leading to a Google Map with directions to your place of business. Read more tips about retail marketing.
Dynamic QR codes can be used to direct someone to enter a contest or giveaway. For more on using SMS, see SMS marketing best practices.
Place a QR code on a receipt and make it one-step easy for a customer to be taken to a feedback survey. No manually typing in a URL.
Connect Salespeople Directly
You can connect salespeople directly for faster response with QR codes.
Be like Wayfair and add a QR code onto a mailer. Users capture a discount coupon number in one simple action, instead of manually typing all digits at checkout in an online purchase.
Stop Updating Costs for Real-time Information
With dynamic codes, you can update real-time information without changing the codes you already have.
Interactive Video Ads
Take a page out of a Burger King campaign, and turn an advertisement into an interactive experience. The Burger King ad has a QR code floating across the screen. Scanning the code with a smartphone takes users to page with downloadable coupons. See on YouTube here.
Mobile Marketing SMS Lists
Send SMS messages to subscribers to opt-in with QR codes instead of their phone numbers.
Do like Little Caesar’s Pizza and deploy a QR code system for no-contact pickups of carryout orders. See how it works.
Packaging and Labels
Cans and Jars
Put QR codes on labels, leading to web pages with more product information. See photo above.
Add QR codes with a message prompting people to give a testimonial or register a product.
Make your wrapping paper help get repeat customers by integrating a QR code prompting the customer to subscribe to your email list for future deals. You don’t even have to pay for custom wrap – simply affix QR code stickers.
Reducing the packaging and make additional images, warranties, and paperwork accessible on QR codes.
Social Media Uses
Like on Facebook Page
This QR code takes you to a special social media page where you can Like the Facebook page of Small Business Trends.
All Social Icons in One
Instead of cluttering marketing materials with multiple icons for Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, use one dynamic QR code that sends visitors to a single landing page with links to all.
Add a scannable coupon on digital signs to increase sales.
Real Estate For Sale Sign
The codes on the for sale sign can send your potential homeowner to a virtual tour of the house you are selling.
Place QR codes on vertical banners in front of your restaurant so users can scan for your carryout menu. Or put a banner in your retail store with information for a product displayed nearby.
Scan to Pay
Add “scan to pay” QR codes to invoices you send, to get paid faster. Or see if your POS software offers the option.
Streamline orders by providing QR codes directly to a particular product.
Receive a Coupon
Use a QR code that takes people to where they can claim a discount coupon.
Self-Serve Ordering and Payment
The Square Self-serve Ordering solution provides a contactless dining and payment option for restaurants with QR codes. Patrons use their smartphones to look at the menu, order and pay.
Invite to Review
Include a scannable decal on your door, to invite a consumer to visit your business reviews on the Better Business Bureau site (businesses get the QR code from the BBB).
Join WiFi Network
Show guests to your facility a static code to allow them join your WiFi network without manually entering a password. Read: QR Codes for WiFi.
Pre-fill eCommerce Shopping Carts
Encourage customers with codes to reorder automatically by refilling shopping carts with items they have ordered in the past.
A South Korean grocery store placed a stand in a subway station with QR codes of items for sale. Shoppers scan codes to purchase groceries which the store then delivers to their homes.
PayPal QR Code
With the PayPal app, sellers can download a QR code that enables shoppers to scan and pay with their PayPal account.
Tradeshow Banners and Displays
Attendees can scan your QR codes from a sign or banner, and be prompted to get a special show discount.
Branded Swag and Promotional Items
If you give away promotional items like coffee mugs, mousepads and journal books why not add QR codes? Customize the codes to include your branding.
When name tags have QR codes, exhibitors can get metrics to gauge booth traffic. Offer a prize drawing to incentivize attendees to let you scan their QR codes.
Have people wear your t-shirts with QR codes to drive them to your booth or other destinations.
Instead of putting the events on dates of a calendar, put QR codes with more engaging and interactive information.
QR codes offer an easy way to follow up on leads from a conference. Contact details such as name, phone number, email address and company can be collected in a database instead of entered manually from business cards.
Communication and Contact
The QR codes on business cards can connect your customers to your site, social media, restaurant menu, products, and more.
Use Dynamic QR Codes to supplement your email marketing campaigns. The tracking data will let you know how well you are doing with each scan.
Add a phone number to your QR codes so that when scanned by a smartphone it will dial the number.
Codes on a resume can lead your potential employer to learn more about you by viewing videos and projects online.
Include QR codes in handouts at your next speaking engagement or conference.
Mobile Phone Case
Place a custom QR tag on a cell phone case for your name, email address or other contact information, in case you lose it. The design will be a conversation starter, too.
Get custom QR stickers or decals made. Then use the stickers on anything you want, to send users to your social media pages or your website. Ideas: See at Etsy.
Create beautiful greeting cards that when scanned open a YouTube video or audio file, for an interactive greeting to clients. Ideas at Etsy.
Bitcoin Wallet Address
Bitcoin and other crypto codes are almost impossible to remember. If you are in person, you can scan the other party’s QR code to send bitcoin. Or, put your bitcoin address into a code integrated into a keychain or piece of jewelry to always have it nearby.
Parts or Service
Scanning a QR code on a product can take the user to parts information or manuals. If you provide handyman or repair services, incorporate QR codes into your process. See example above.
You can direct your customer to a link where they can get instructions and more information on how to install your products.
An orchid plant grower used QR codes on labels to help consumers find out care instructions. See the nursery owner’s 1-minute video explaining.
Inventory Management and Tracking
Store product details, part numbers, and plain text in your code to quickly access identifying information.
Scan for Authentication
Have your customers verify the item they own is an authentic piece and not a counterfeit.
Quick Response Code Popularity
QR codes were invented in Japan over 25 years ago. While popular in parts of the world in the past decade, they failed to catch on in North America right away.
Partially it was a technology barrier. When marketers first started using QR codes, consumers didn’t know what to do with them. Some people lacked a smartphone with a good imaging device.
Today things are different. Per the Pew Center, 81% of Americans have smartphone devices, and among those age 18 to 29, it is 96%. According to Brett Narlinger of Blackhawk Networks, mobile wallet adoption jumped to 55% following the 2020 pandemic. Newer smartphones operate seamlessly with mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Google Pay or Samsung Wallet. Interest in contactless solutions skyrocketed and payment platforms stepped up, making QR codes part of plug-and-play solutions for small businesses.
The time is right for retailers, restaurant owners, home services providers, franchisees and other small businesses to use QR codes on marketing material, for payments and mobile marketing transactions and for customer service.
Get Started Using QR Codes
Here’s a simple guide to help you start using QR codes effectively in your business or marketing endeavors:
- Explore the Possibilities: QR codes have a wide range of applications. From marketing to customer engagement to operational efficiency, there are numerous ways you can leverage QR codes to enhance your business.
- Select an Example: Begin by choosing one or more examples from the list of 50 creative ways to use QR codes provided earlier. Select options that align with your business goals and target audience.
- Research QR Code Generators: There are various online tools and software available that allow you to generate QR codes for free or at a minimal cost. Research and choose a QR code generator that suits your needs. Some popular options include QR Code Generator, QRStuff, and QRickit.
- Decide on QR Code Content: Determine what content you want to associate with your QR code. This could be a website URL, contact information, a video link, a PDF download, or any other relevant information.
- Generate the QR Code: Use the chosen QR code generator to create your QR code. Input the content you’ve decided upon and customize the design if necessary. Most generators will provide you with a downloadable image file of the QR code.
- Place the QR Code: Once you have your QR code, decide where you want to place it. Consider the context and purpose of the QR code. It could be on marketing materials, product packaging, business cards, signage, promotional items, or even digital platforms.
- Test the QR Code: Before widely distributing the QR code, test it yourself to ensure that it functions as intended. Use a smartphone with a camera and QR code scanning app to scan the code and confirm that it leads to the desired destination.
- Deploy in Your Strategy: Integrate the QR code into your business or marketing strategy. Communicate the presence and purpose of the QR code to your target audience, whether through promotional materials, signage, or online platforms.
- Monitor and Analyze: Many QR code generators offer tracking and analytics features that allow you to monitor how often the code is scanned and the success of your QR code campaigns. Use this data to refine your strategy over time.
- Experiment and Learn: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different QR code applications and placements. Learn from the results and gather feedback from customers to understand what works best for your audience.
- Stay Updated: Keep up with QR code trends and innovations. As technology evolves, new possibilities for QR code usage may emerge that could benefit your business.
|Explore the Possibilities||Understand the diverse applications of QR codes, from marketing to operational efficiency.|
|Select an Example||Choose specific QR code applications that align with your business goals and target audience.|
|Research QR Code Generators||Explore online tools to generate QR codes. Choose a suitable generator based on your needs.|
|Decide on QR Code Content||Determine the content you want to associate with the QR code, such as a URL, contact info, or video.|
|Generate the QR Code||Use a chosen QR code generator to create the QR code. Customize its design and generate the image.|
|Place the QR Code||Decide where to place the QR code, considering context. It could be on marketing materials or more.|
|Test the QR Code||Ensure functionality by scanning the QR code with a smartphone to verify that it leads correctly.|
|Deploy in Your Strategy||Integrate the QR code into your business strategy and communicate its purpose to your target audience.|
|Monitor and Analyze||Use QR code generators with tracking features to measure scans and campaign success.|
|Experiment and Learn||Try various QR code applications, gather feedback, and adapt based on the results.|
|Stay Updated||Keep up with QR code trends and innovations to leverage new possibilities for your business.|
Remember, QR codes offer a versatile and dynamic way to engage with your audience and enhance various aspects of your business. With a bit of creativity and strategic thinking, you can unlock their potential and create unique experiences for your customers.
Visit our guide on creating QR codes, including a list of the best QR code generators.
Image: Depositphotos, SBT Media
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