QR Code : How is it used commercially?

QR code : how it is used commercially ?

General consumer habits have changed in 2020 and 2021 particularly due to the impact of health regulations, offering a greater place to e-commerce and omnichannel practices. The QR code, increasingly used year after year, has particularly proven its practicality in the wake of this health crisis. 

Menu display, redirection to a transactional or storefront site, remote ordering, omnichannel marketing… The QR code can fulfill several functions and satisfy different actors from multiple industries.

In this article, we will explain where the QR code comes from and present the best practices of this modeling.

What is a QR code and where does it come from?

The QR code is a kind of barcode presented in two dimensions, which functions similarly to the flashcode.

This code was originally developed in Japan by an international automotive supplier who used these codes to track Toyota spare parts. In 1999, Denso Corporation released the QR code under an open source license.

While this type of code is widely used in the East, especially on instant messengers to manage mobile payments, the QR code has been declining in popularity in the West since 2000, until the health crisis.

The Coronavirus allowed the use of this type of code to develop. Indeed, the health restrictions have limited contact and the use of the sense of touch. The Quick Response code therefore allows access to a digital resource without contact.

What is the purpose of the QR code?

The QR code allows to create a real interactivity and to highlight the omnichannelity of an establishment, a brand, a product, etc.

Its use, simplified and popularized thanks to the democratization of smartphones, permits users to open a URL quickly and efficiently. The QR code is presented on a square shape, organized around geometric shapes on a white background, providing data directly to the phone when scanned.

A classic application of the QR code is, for example, for restaurants to dematerialize their menus, or to dematerialize the ordering process. This catering modality allows to limit the contacts between the restaurant teams and the consumers, while avoiding having to clean the physical menus.

The best examples of QR code use

Some companies are heavily leveraging the various channels at their disposal. Some of the most innovative companies include:

Coca Cola

The American soft drink brand is often a role model when it comes to advertising and communication campaigns. The company, with its large financial resources, can afford to organize competitions with an international scope, for example with the Euro 2020 soccer tournament, which took place in 2021 and has been postponed due to the health situation.

The QR codes placed on its products allowed contestants to participate in a competition, the stake of which was a 500€ gift card to be spent on the E-Commerce website of the French Football Federation. This campaign was carried out throughout Europe, highlighting the national teams of each of the competitors.


In 2012, Nissan launched a campaign around these QR codes, allowing consumers to get more information about their vehicles. When they came across them, they could flash the code and get all the information about the car in question.

The consumer was then redirected to a product sheet of the vehicle, allowing to preview all the information on the options available, general information, …


The French cosmetics brand has chosen to take advantage of the caps and benefit from them.

The placement of QR codes in cabs allowed the promotion of Lancôme and Yves Saint Laurent products, making it possible to monetize the downtime of potential customers in search of entertainment. The QR code, then, sent users to tutorial videos and to relevant product sheets.

How to generate a QR code?

Unlike traditional barcodes, Quick Response codes don’t require the use of the GS1 CodeOnline platform.

For this, you can use several sites such as the Unitag site. The site offers several actions that can be triggered by the scan of your code, among which we can find:

  • Open a URL (classic use);
  • Connect to a local network;
  • Open a digital business card;
  • Call or send an SMS / email automatically;

A first code is then provided to you. You can nevertheless customize it thanks to the tools provided by the site. You have access to several templates, and can find templates for social networks, different mobile stores, and other platforms. But you can also do without these templates and create your own.

The colors

You have three options when it comes to choosing the color of your QR code:

  • Single color;
  • Embedded image;
  • Color gradient: can be oriented horizontally, vertically, diagonally and radially.

Black codes are easier to read for phones. For personalization and branding purposes, you can apply your logo colors directly on the code.

The look

Another element of customization, this feature allows you to go further in the modification of the basic QR code. Several choices are available, such as the square presentation of your code, angular, etc.

You can also customize the eyes of your QR, representing the most visible elements of the final code.

To develop your brand image, you must, as soon as possible, communicate around your logo and especially the colors that characterize your company. The site gives you the opportunity to upload your logo.

There are several possibilities, such as JPG, PNG and GIF formats. You can then place the logo as you wish, and create a depth effect with the “Dig” feature. This refers to freeing up the background of the logo.

The eyes

The external and internal colors of the eyes of your QR code can be customized, once again in a logic of branding of this communication channel.

The options

Finally, you can adjust the background color of your QR code, allowing you to make it stand out more easily. To add depth to this code, add a shadow, whose intensity you can adjust. Finally, adjust the redundancy of the code to display more or less detail on it.

The download

A first version of your QR code is then proposed to you during the download process. You will then have access to the low definition and high definition versions. To take advantage of the latter, you will have to pay, while the first one is free.

ECN Qr Code

Photo credit : minor