Quick Returns With QR Codes
Your customers rely on great print designs to capture the imagination, grab attention, and communicate information; however, continuing the engagement requires action — a phone call, a trip to a store, or finding the correct website. And no matter how big or small the message is, designers must also work within the physical size and limitations of the printed product. Adding a quick response (QR) code removes these physical limitations, creating interactive print that leads to digital experiences and expands the amount of deliverable information.
Brand marketers were the first to realize the many ways printing QR codes on marketing collateral and packaging could quickly extend the conversation, reinforce their brand, and facilitate transactions. As smartphone adoption increased and high-speed cellular networks added speed and technical capabilities enabling QR code as a native function of the camera application, the use skyrocketed for marketing applications. Today, you can offer the power of QR code interactivity to all your customers. And with 4over, it is easy to design interactive print with QR codes that anyone can use on their signs, business cards, and other printed items.
History of QR Codes
Denso Wave invented the QR code in 1994 to label automotive parts. A QR code can be easily distinguished from other barcodes by its square shape, deep contrast between the light background and dark foreground, and three positioning squares at the corners. The amount of whitespace within the square decreases as the amount of information contained in the QR code increases.
QR codes are a popular way to share information and enable transactions with quick returns. According to eMarketer, 84.4% of US smartphone users scanned a QR code in 2022 – approximately 259 million consumers. In practice, a smartphone camera is the gateway to scanning QR codes. The QR code redirects users to online content or a digital experience.
How Do QR Codes Work?
Many creative design applications can generate QR codes but consider starting with your 4over team. It is important to create an effective design around the QR code and ensure it is at a proper size for the distance it will be scanned. Overly dense QR codes make for a visually busy design and add difficulty in scanning, so a great best practice is to have your QR code point to a specific landing page that contains the message to reduce the amount of data encapsulated.
It is also important to consider where you will point the QR code. Work with your 4over team to understand how to avoid pointing at webpages and experiences that don’t exist. Talk to your customers about how they want to manage the QR code to ensure they always have a good experience. See the 4over QR Code Guide for Printing for further help.
How to Use QR Codes
From the early days of identifying and tracking automotive parts, QR codes are a valuable tool your customers can use to inform, identify, and transact.
QR Codes to Inform
A common use for interactive print using QR codes is to take the user to a landing page. Any business can add text, video, and other interactive digital elements to its landing page, including AI-based chatbots. Restaurants use QR codes to offer digital menus where food and prices can be updated regularly, and some open a gateway to placing an order. Retailers often link to new promotions or the broader story of the brand’s mission and values. QR codes on signs, stickers, and labels are a great way to increase awareness for events, promotions, and app downloads.
QR Codes to Identify
When a customer orders business cards, suggest that they add a QR code so new contacts can scan and automatically add contact information through the vCard format. QR codes can also be used on posters and outdoor signage to provide directions and educational content related to the area or landmarks, which would be helpful on any university campus or as part of a city walking tour. Increasingly, brands are also using QR codes to validate the authenticity, provenance, and content of their products. Of course, QR codes can also be used for their original purpose of tracking and inventory of physical items.
QR Codes to Transact
Not only can the QR code link to more detailed information, but you can link directly to an online storefront and incentivize with discounts. Allied Market Research valued global payments made using QR codes in 2020 at $8.07 billion dollars! Help your customers make it easy to do business with them. It is a great option for fundraising events or any customer selling products and services.
Need more ideas for how you can take advantage of QR codes? The team at 4over can help you from design to execution and delivery of your next interactive print project.