QR Codes , shortened for Quick Response Codes, have become the latest e-commerce trend among the consumers and the retailers. It won’t be incorrect to say that we can find QR codes everywhere- pizza boxes, clothes, books, bottles, flyers, shop doors etc. QR code signifies as a type of barcode that anyone can scan and read with a camera on their smartphone.
QR codes are used for a variety of purposes: from keeping a count of COVID infected people in China to QR code prints on restaurant menus for customers. QR code would give either its user instant information or direct him to the website to perform a certain action.
Keeping in mind the easy way to scan these codes in order to be receiving something which you do not expect actually attracts the customers. Once scanned, QR codes can send the user to a PDF, landing page or video, or prompt a text message conversation, and much more.
Usually the terms QR codes and Barcodes create confusion among retailers. In reality, QR code is just a type of Barcode in itself.
Difference between QR Code and Barcode
Capacity to Hold Information-
Barcodes hold information in just horizontal direction while QR codes are able to hold information in both horizontal and vertical directions. This makes them hold more information than barcodes.
The chances of error happening for a QR code is just 7-30% which signifies that even if the package of the product is damaged or destroyed yet the QR code would do its job. The case is not similar with the Barcodes
Features of QR Codes-
- They are small Codes with Large Information. QR codes are able to carry large information within themselves more than the normal Barcodes
- They also have high capacity to encode data with which your data can remain secure
- QR codes have more than 40 Versions. Each version has a different module or combination of modules under it. This means that more data can be accumulated with more modules in a QR code making it larger and heavier with information.
- A QR code has the capability to be read speedily 360 degree or omni-directional way
- The data in a QR code is safe from dust and damage as it can be retrieved anytime, in any situation.
- A large QR code can be divided into multiple small QR codes in order to distribute the information and make it smaller.
Benefits of using QR codes for ecommerce business-
- Instant access to information
- Increase in incoming traffic
- track conversion rates from specific marketing campaigns
- direct customers to CTAs
- improves customers’ brand loyalty thanks to dedicated coupons and giveaways
- helpful in taking customer reviews and feedback regarding the products
- tracking marketing campaigns’ performance
- information under QR code can be updated easily
- directing customers to websites or social media pages without wasting navigation time.
- it has sustainability benefits as it cuts down on the use of paper
- they are easily traceable as you can keep a record of how many times they are being scanned and out of that how many times it is leading to sales generation.
- they are inexpensive means of marketing and traffic driver
Ways to use QR codes-
QR codes are becoming the future for online industries and ecommerce. In the world of Ecommerce, QR codes have a variety of uses like in the fields of marketing, payment, shipment tracking etc. They have the capacity to revolutionize the way we shop and the after sales service. This would make the shopping process more convenient and hassle-free for consumers and retailers.
Moreover, it is very easy for consumers to use QR codes as the scanning requires a camera for both Android and iOS mobile devices. While for the business owners too it is very easy to establish and requires least monetary investment. If they are implemented in a correct manner, QR codes are actually a cheap way to boost sales and also provide better after sales experience to their customers
QR codes have variety of uses in ecommerce -:
1. Direct Customers to your Landing Page or Social Media Pages-
Customers going directly to your landing page will boost your online presence and increase your online store’s traffic. You can put the QR code on your shopping cards, bills, product packaging , social media pages etc.
Also this way it would be easy for your customers to access your website without navigating their way around the page. Thus it would give them a hassle-free experience. But you have to make sure that you use a unique URL matched with your QR code to measure it accurately.
2. Online and Offline Advertisements-
QR codes are a great match with advertisements. It helps your potential customers find your website easily without typing the URL on their devices to be looking for you.
QR codes can be used on online advertisements like those on social media platforms of your website in order to invite the customer for “Call-to-Action”. While in the Offline advertisements QR codes can be put on magazines, packaging, outside stores etc.
3.Promotions and Discounts-
Customers love discounts, especially when they are really easy to get by just scanning a QR code. Awarding your loyal customers with coupon QR codes would boost their loyalty towards brands. The easy scanning of QR codes would lead them to product pages with special discounts. The urgency of the situation can also be increased by statements like “the code runs out within the next month unless it’s scanned.” This will make the customers feel acknowledged and also create a hurry to purchase on their parts.
4. Cashless Payments-
In the starting years of introduction of QR codes for businesses, they were mainly used to promote online checkout cashless payments. Many retailers like Zara, Starbucks etc have adopted the concept of QR code payment a long time ago. While for the ecommerce giants micropayment or mobile wallet payment is a solution to save their customers from various online payment embezzlement cases.
Micropayments or mobile wallets are special kinds of online digital wallets in which you can add money from other banks or even in some cases drop money directly in their accounts that would be transferred to your digital wallets. Some of the Micropayment giants are Google Pay, Samsung Pay, Apple Pay etc. They can even be collaborated with various ecommerce businesses in order to provide the customer a secure online payment experience.
5. Customer Feedback-
In e-commerce businesses there exists least customer and retailer interaction which may become a barrier. As for the customers it is difficult to communicate reviews and give feedback regarding the product. In this situation, Customers can simply scan the code with their mobile phone camera that would be displayed on the package in order to deliver feedback on their product usage experience.
This review can be then displayed on various social media platforms in order to increase engagement among potential customers and their purchase.
6. Product Tracking-
QR codes can be given to the customers after their online purchase so they can keep a track of their shipment and be informed about the location of their product. They are considered ideal for inventory tracking as they are able to hold more than 7000 numbers—or 4000 alphanumeric characters
7. Product Packaging-
There has been an ongoing trend of posting the QR code on the product in order to remind the customer to scan it in order to receive full information about the product like its nutrition levels, manufacturing etc. With this the ecommerce retailer can also review the product by rating it and giving their useful feedback. You can even inform the customer about your future collaboration or upcoming product in order to keep them updated. This way the Brand transparency of the business is maintained.
8. Social Media-
QR code constitutes a vital part of the social media pages of ecommerce businesses. By placing a QR code on your social media pages you can accomplish a lot of tasks like:
- directing your customer to a particular product or service
- directing customers to your website
- making them download an application
- to track your store’s location on the maps
9. Giveaways with QR codes
You can enhance the use of QR codes among your customers by creating special Giveaways for them which would in turn improve your marketing results. In order to host Giveaways, you must make a multi URL QR code and then provide it to your loyal customers
10. Add to Cart QR code-
For the convenience of your customer, you can also provide specifically made QR codes for products which the customer wishes to checkout later with. You can offer QR code for your customers to add specific products to their cart which can be used by the shoppers when they are ready to checkout later with their product. This way they won’t have to search for the product all over again on the platform.
Latest QR Code Trends being used by Ecommerce Giants-
Amazon has successfully taken the charge of adapting QR code in every operation of its website like for marketing, product packaging , payment etc.
- Amazon Smile Codes- These are the codes recently introduced by Amazon that allow mobile shoppers to activate offers from Amazon by scanning the codes when they see them in the physical world. They also have ensured that they are secure and remain exclusive to Amazon shoppers.
- Amazon Go- Amazon Go is a specific kind of endeavor to give the customers an easy grocery shopping experience. With an agenda “Just walk Out”, Amazon has tried to give its customers a break from long payment queue lines. The first step is that customers can make their purchase through their Amazon account and after doing so they can simply go to the Amazon Go store.
After that they can simply show their QR code which would activate their virtual cart and they can simply add articles in their cart and then the payment receipt would be sent to them on their Amazon accounts.
- Amazon Smile- These are a special version of QR codes rolled out by Amazon in 2018 for its exclusive customers with smiles in the middle. They are normally used to retrieve detailed information about a certain product the user has received. After the user scans the QR Code, the user is redirected to a page that shows him the detailed information about the product. Most of the Amazons product packages come with Smile Codes that have CTA attached to it. Upon scanning them you can avail special discounts and promotional offers.
Levi’s has always been a popular brand among the young generation and thus this gives them an opportunity to maintain their brand loyalty with the help of QR codes technology
- Levi’s Scan- Like Amazon, Levi’s also aims to provide hassle-free shopping experience to its customers along with an improved sales experience. For this they have rolled out the new Levi’s Scan feature where a customer has to download the Levi’s app, featuring 3 options to choose from- scan, search or favorites. They can scan the QR code present on the back of the jeans to add it to their cart and then simply checkout by paying through PayPal, credit/debit cards etc.
- Pride Capsule- Recently Snapchat and Levi’s collaborated to launch the collection in the honor of Pride Month 2019. Snapchat made some special filters accessible to everyone in which they can virtually try on the Levi’s trucker jacket. Once the feature is enabled, SnapChat’s AR technology empowers users to virtually try on a Levi’s trucker jacket.
3. Shopcodes by Shopify-
They are certain types of QR codes that a user can scan in order to find the product on Shopify store. They are unique and traceable, and thus traffic and sales can be traced from the Shopify analytics dashboard. shopify has made Shopcodes free for all merchants and thus this has successfully eased the bridge between online and offline commerce using QR Codes.
After knowing the benefits of using QR codes and the variety of ways in which QR codes can be put to use in the Ecommerce industry, you must definitely be wondering that is it simple to create a QR code?
The answer is YES! With a few easy steps and applications you can design a QR code according to the needs of your business.
How to create QR codes?
Creating QR codes is not rocket science. Just a pinch of strategy and analysis matched with correct application to design, you would be ready with a QR code to play with.
Step 1- Deciding the Use of QR Codes-
The first step in the process of designing the QR code is deciding the purpose of creation of QR code. You can start by thinking about your goals and needs that you are looking to fulfill from the creation of these QR codes or any kind of information that you want to share through their creation.
You can put the social media handles on your QR codes or the link to your website or certain kinds of products.
Step 2- Find a QR code Generator
The next step is an important one as there are a variety of QR code Generators that can be used in order to fulfill your needs but you must try to find the most appropriate one.
You must enter some information into the appropriate field, press a button, and you get one of the odd looking QR codes instantly in the form of an image. You then paste or insert the image in post cards, a business card, a sign or promotional materials.
Since it is the beginning of your journey with QR codes, you can try with these free QR code Generator applications-:
- QR Code Monkey
- Code Two
- QR stuff
If you plan multiple campaigns using codes, or have specific design or feature needs, then a paid platform offers more flexibility.
- QR Code Generator
Step 3- Deciding the Type of QR code to use
There are two main types of QR codes to choose from:
- Static QR Codes- These codes are fixed and have unchangeable data. So the most appropriate use for these type of QR codes is to create a VCard with your contact details for a digital business card. It would be better with Static codes because the contact information rarely changes.
- Dynamic QR Codes- The dynamic QR codes are the one that are changeable according to the needs of the business. In this case, the content is not stored on the QR code instead it is saved on a website URL and thus you can make the changes directly on the website URL whenever you want. These type of QR codes have certain benefits like:
*website URL can be changed whenever you want
*capture and measure statistics of the use of these QR codes
*give users access to automatic downloads
*the user must be connected on the internet before using these QR codes because they are going to be directed to a certain URL.
Step 4- Customizing the QR Code-
The next step is filling up the QR code with the data you want to include and then customizing it according to your needs. But before that you need to choose a QR Code Generator that has everything that you need. You can design your QR code as a replica of your company logo along with some animation or music according to your needs.
Usually you would be given the access to scan and preview the QR code before it is made available. In this case testing is very important for Static Codes as any mistakes made in them cannot be retyped or changed in the future.
Step 5- Download your QR Codes-
Once the QR code is generated the last step is to take a print of them or directly post them online through your various social media channels.
- Online: In case you are planning to post your QR Codes online be sure to make them available in jpeg, jpg, png, tif format. The png format has high resolution and so is able to save the information with transparency
- Print: If you have decided to print your QR codes then you have to make sure to print them in high and clear quality so that they are easily read by the devices. You can get them printed in svg, eps, or pdf vector graphics and even png file works.
QR codes are extensively being used everywhere. We can say without any doubt that QR codes are successful in making a digital revolution by implementing their use in marketing , payment, product tracking etc. Thus we can say that QR codes can be a helpful tool to help you better engage with your audience, enhance customer experience, boost sales, and drive value in your business. So the eCommerce retailers and marketers need to keep an eye on this unfolding trend and figure out how to use QR codes in their business.