The 15 Most Practical Uses for QR Codes

Apr 28, 2021
woman scanning a qr code for a taxi
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QR code usage is skyrocketing all over the world as QRs are an impressive vessel connecting users with pertinent and interesting information in no time. Is there something that you are sharing with your customers or to gain leads and followers but people aren't reacting? QR codes make it easier for people to take action and respond. Now it's easier to transmit information and get people scanning because everyone carries a mobile phone. Many cameras in phones automatically scan QRs themselves and if not, the apps to scan a QR code are free to download. 

Businesses can make QR codes for any use and they are getting more creative with their campaigns and applications every day. Here are 15 practical uses for QR codes to get you going and spark your creative side to make campaigns that work for you.

1. Introduce payments

QR codes are great for making easy payments with a cell phone. Since Alipay first introduced a QR code payment method which allowed offline partnering stores to accept payment by scanning a QR code in Alipay Wallet and Tencent using a similar feature on its messaging app WeChat to enable payments, QR code payments have come a long way. In 2018, mobile payment became the most popular method of payment in China, accounting for 83% of all payments, and QR codes played a significant role in that transformation. 

Recently, QR code payments have also become a new norm in the westerm world and today one can often notice QR codes for payments in cafes, ticketing machines and public transportation. Social distancing during the pandemic escalated the adoption rates even further and in 2020, PayPal rolled out QR codes for touchless payments. 

Many banks and even governments, like Thailand, are also making QR code payments an official way to pay for easy tourism so currency conversions aren't obstructing payments, and for leading the way to a cashless society. Since many countries are strongly considering going cashless and credit card machines are on the way out, adding a QR code payment system to your business makes for a clean-looking and simple option.

In Argentina, MercadoPago is a popular way to pay throughout the country. It is only available to those with Argentinian bank accounts, not tourists, but many places that don't offer a credit card machine, as it's a cash-friendly society, offer MercadoPago for convenience for those who aren't carrying cash.

mercado pago qr code advertisement
Image source: Mercado Pago

2. Incorporate contact tracing 

As we are all adjusting to different places and regions requiring contact tracing, QR codes are the easiest way to register your information online and attach it to the QR code in your phone. As the UK reaches the agreement to put contact tracing in every restaurant, restaurateurs are looking to get a contact tracing service now and they are all done by QR code.

Using QR codes for contact tracing is a great idea in places like gyms or schools where people are registered and go frequently, having contact with things and people. When users provide their membership information, it's possible to upload a CSV all at once to generate QR codes in bulk. In addition, when companies and schools use a private QR code service, people tend to feel more at ease than using government codes and contact tracing systems if they can avoid them.

There are several reasons why QR codes are great for contact tracing:

1) QR codes are safe and contactless to scan.

2) QR codes are almost impossible to duplicate or hijack. 

3) QR codes are fast and easy to use for people of all ages and no technical skills. 

In Turkey, the HES code is the QR code that Turkish citizens and tourists alike must use to utilize public transportation. They simply register with a few questions online and add the QR code information to their public transit card and they're done. It automatically scans with payment when you pay with your QR code transport pass.

3. Share product information

Printing a QR code on product labels and packaging is a smart way to share a lot of information in a small space without having to waste ink and paper materials. Users who scan can keep the information on their mobile phones and even compare ingredients, sizes, and prices with other products.

Adding QR codes to food packaging and product packaging will boost consumer trust and increase sales. Sharing what's in the ingredients and products in a sustainable and savable way is better than using printed materials that get misplaced or thrown in the bin.

Laughing Jack Wines incorporated QR codes into their label on the back of every wine bottle so wine drinkers could scan the code and see a "short, insightful video of Shawn talking about elements of the wine such as the vintage, wine making, cellaring, food matches etc." This is an intriguing idea, sure to get people who love wine tasting to educate themselves, especially while wineries are closed for tastings.

laughing jack wines qr code label
Image source: Laughing Jack Wines

4. Make your products traceable

QR codes have a wide range of uses in regards to traceability: authenticity of luxury products for the security of consumers and the luxury goods industry, tracing the supply chain for product origin and fair trade and working practice purposes, pharmaceutical tracing to make sure that drugs are real and they have been shipped and stored properly, and more. 

It's a great idea to add QR codes to your products in companies large or small, at least to share the origin information or materials behind it. There is also track and trace software available that uses QR codes to send products down the supply chain with ease.

It is always important to know what the result of scanning the QR code should look like. For example, some jewelry dealers have fake tags on items with QR codes that lead customers to the Swarovski website, but if the consumer doesn't know there should be an authenticity pop-up number, they will get duped. Remember that anyone can make a QR code for any website, but the verification must be successful and that will look different according to the brand.

swarovski ring with qr code tag
swarovski crystal verification successful on mobile phone
Image source: Swarovski Gemstones

5. Generate leads with QR codes

QR codes make for easy lead generation because sharing contact information can be done with vCards, website forms and even prewritten SMS and email QR codes to collect the contact details from customers. 

There are many ways to incorporate QR codes for lead generation into your marketing strategy but one example is adding a QR code to any of your advertisements whether they be in print, on material, at a store, or even offering a download for receiving contact details.

Jumplead reports, "The three most commonly used B2B lead generation strategies are email marketing (78%), event marketing (73%), and content marketing (67%). - Demand Metric Research Corporation via Direct Marketing News". Since the need for lead generation is so high, QR codes are just another simple channel to add to a successful strategy.

6. Use QRs for promotions, games, competitions and loyalty programs 

Value-added promotions, games, and loyalty programs can easily be added to packaging and merchandise with QR codes as a route to registration. A lot of companies have people scanning codes to collect loyalty points instead of carrying around a thousand plastic cards in their wallets and purses. Since people are always carrying their cell phones, it's an easy way to do it.

A fun application for any business would be to add a scavenger hunt in their local community. Getting people involved in scanning QR codes at different tourism sites or local businesses is a great way to get people out and walking using contactless technology.

During the 2012 Olympics, Turkish Airlines placed advertisements all over London bus stops so people who scanned could enter a contest to win free tickets. This campaign generated 20,000 visitors to Turkish Airlines' website at the time.

turkish airlines advertisement with qr code
Image source: Elma Alt Shift

7. Share contact details 

Sharing contact details has never been easier than with QR codes. Printing vCard or social media codes for sites like LinkedIn on business cards is essential for easy transmission straight into the input fields of phones. Never have a misspelled name, email address, or phone number error again. Always test any code you generate before printing on materials. Moreover, you can keep the QR code in your cell phone and people can scan directly from it for a more sustainable option or if you forget your cards or brochures at home.

A great way to make yourself stand out would be to make your own beautifully designed vCard QR code and save it on your phone with your company's branded colors and logo. Having a custom design will be memorable and people will appreciate the convenience.

turquoise and white business cards with qr code on yellow background
Image source: AntartStock / Shutterstock

8. Collect feedback 

Collecting feedback is simple and done quickly in real-time with QR codes. Supercode's QR code for feedback allows for star ratings, optional comments and contact information, so you can address any red flags immediately or generate leads if they offer contact information.

Place an attractive QR code for feedback on receipts or the shop window on the way out of your store. Gain private feedback quickly and respond to make your business run as efficiently as possible.

According to this survey, 86% of customers are willing to pay more for a fantastic customer experience. If you can receive valuable feedback from customers in any way, you can improve customer experience and increase profits.

supercode qr code generator for feedback

9. Promote app downloads

App store QR codes are soaring as a way to direct customers to apps in a single step. Since people spend 4.2 hours a day on apps, businesses should be as competitive as possible to get customers using theirs. 

Creating app store QR codes for any business is the easy part. Just make one QR code each for Android and iOS to offer your customers on your website, packaging, shop windows, banners at trade shows, and anywhere that will grab the customers' attention for efficient contactless marketing.

Provia commercial vehicle spare parts brand put their app store QR codes on their website so users can scan straight to the app catalog and order parts directly from their mobile phones. This is extremely useful for searching for parts from anywhere to find solutions in real-time.

app-store-qr-codes-provia
Image source: Provia Auto

10. Increase website traffic 

URL QR codes are amazing for driving website traffic, especially through contactless marketing. You can track any dynamic QR code in real-time on the Supercode analytics dashboard to see how many people are scanning the code to route to your site. You can then check your site analytics to see what percentage of people who visited your site came from your QR code. It's an accurate way to measure where your traffic is coming from and analyze your marketing strategy.

Design a custom QR code that consumers will be curious to scan with a clear call-to-action. They are perfect for m-commerce stores that customers can shop at when physical stores are closed for pickup later or for delivery of merchandise. M-commerce has consistently been on the rise for years and will continue. Place QRs on shop windows for after-hours shopping and appointment-making in places like the hairdressers or doctor's offices. 

There are endless numbers of possibilities that QR codes can assist URLs with. One major fashion retailer, H&M has a QR code to their website and to their apps which allows customers to look for sizes, colors, and inventory nearby. 

H&M qr code voucher on the phone
Image source: Dan Higham

11. Gain followers on social media

Social media QR codes are a great way to connect for two-way communication with your customers. When you use social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to reach out and share stories, photos, and promotions about your product, service, restaurant, and more, people will be excited to start following you to receive special events, hours, deals, and more.

Put social media QR codes on bags and receipts. Use on banners at booths at festivals and trade shows, or even put on free merchandise like notepads. Make your code stand out using interesting colors and logos for brand recognition. You either have the option of one social media QR code to route to different social media accounts or you can make a separate code for each account. The choice is yours.

Synopsis made a QR code for every social media outlet separately to put on a banner at a trade show, with a clear CTA so scanners know what they are connecting to exactly. 

black and white social media qr codes on a purple banner
Image source: Cygnis Media

12. Share WiFi access

Scanning a QR code to connect the customers directly to the WiFi in public places makes it easier than typing and retyping misspelled passwords. Of course, offering a password for computer connection is still necessary. Enabling customers to connect to WiFi by scanning a QR code is easier, takes less time and does not require the staff to help you for efficient, contactless service. 

scan to connect WiFi qr code
Image source: Digitional

13. Advertise with QR codes

Contactless marketing, billboards, displays, magazines and newspapers, and any way you advertise can be brought to life with a creatively designed QR code. Instead of a one-dimensional advertisement, attach a QR code with AR and VR experiences and m-commerce opportunities, so leads and customers can go one step further to interact and shop.

Moreover, dynamic QR codes are trackable so you can analyze every scanned code on Supercode's dashboard to see where codes were scanned and with what devices in real-time. QR codes make for a scalable campaign whereas old-school marketing campaigns can't really be tracked. Now you can analyze what works and what doesn't for your digital marketing campaigns and get a higher MROI.

TouchCon has QR codes for everything. They have many advertisements on the internet for QR codes to pay with cryptocurrency, can be used for coupons, that scan to their app, for advertising for businesses, rewards programs, and more. 

touchcon qr code advertisement in orange tones
Image source: Bitcointalk

14. Print QR codes on tickets

QR codes on tickets are useful for a range of events, especially for leisurely activities, music, and the arts. They can be used as a one-off scan for entrance to an event and can be produced in bulk for registration of many people to events. Another idea is to print them on concert or art gallery tickets for the audience to receive a link to an online gallery or a free music download for buying a ticket. Have fun putting QR codes on tickets for zoos and museums to make scavenger hunts and give extra educational information later on. 

Make QR codes creative and fun with a short message letting your audience know why they should scan. Use QRs on tickets for any type of reason, even to gain social media followers. The possibilities are numerous to incorporate them into your digital marketing strategy according to your needs and what you want to share with your guests.

Now airlines use QR codes that can be saved in mobile phones instead of printing boarding passes for a more sustainable option. Additionally, if the boarding pass is printed, there are QR codes on them to pull up any other necessary information they need to know about the passenger.

delta qr code on mobile phone
Image source: United Airlines Blogspot

15. Utilize QRs in educational institutions 

QR codes are emerging for an endless amount of uses in educational institutions. Use them to share campus news and club updates, put them in textbooks for AR and VR experiences that go beyond textbook learning, use QRs to scan for activities and homework assignments, organize the library on campus, for student and staff ID cards, and more.

On college campuses where time should be used teaching and there are hundreds of students in a classroom, use QRs for check-in so the professor is aware of attendance without having to do roll call. 

At Syracuse University where they use QRs for many creative ideas, they also put QR codes in the dining hall so students can make healthy choices about their meals instead of choosing out of impulse because they are tired and hungry.

student scanning qr code syracuse dining hall
Image source: Youtube video of the student above is scanning the QR code to see the nutritional information in the beef vegetable soup before making a decision, at Syracuse University.

Supercode QR code generator is a platform that helps businesses achieve any objectives to incorporate QR codes into their routines, digital marketing strategies, and make their and their customers' lives easier overall. Try Supercode's easy-to-use QR code generator and design platform and measure your analytics on the Supercode dashboard for accuracy and improving campaigns and services. 

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