Friday, October 26, 2012

QR Codes in Your Product Packaging – Maximizing the Magic of Interactive Packaging

QR codes or Quick Response codes have been in use since 1994 when they were first developed. Now, Nielsen has revealed that 31 percent of mobile users have a smartphone that can read QR codes and that this number is continuously growing. In fact, based on market estimates, this percentage is expected to grow by a third over the next two years.
The market has responded eagerly to this development. The ability to push quite a lot of information – any kind of information, in fact - by adding a small, simple code that is basically free to generate is like a Pandora’s box of benefits to marketers.  You can now incorporate this outside the box just like a label.  Once the box passes through the taping machine, these codes will eventually be visible to the eyes of the consumer.  This will create a lot of open doors for marketing.  
In other words, it’s too good a technology to pass up. As a business, you should start creating QR codes of your own, and one of the best places to put them on is your product packaging.
How Creative Can You Get?
The best thing with these codes is that they are highly versatile, thus allowing marketers to use them flexibly. The possibilities are just endless, and you can match them even with your most specific marketing needs. So if you’re thinking of using QR codes in your product packaging, don’t just use them to give your customers a link to your website. Although effective and useful, this is actually the most old-fashioned way of using these codes.
Here are some more creative suggestions to help you get started.
  • Use QR codes to store discounts, freebies, and prizes as a way of giving back to customers who support your products.
  • Use QR codes to store instructions manuals; as an additional incentive, you’ll be helping save paper too.
  •  Use QR codes to give your customers directions to your stores or to your service centers.

How the Big Brands Are Doing It
Before QR codes found their way to the market, the story all began in Japan. These small but powerful codes were developed by Denso-Wave, a Japanese automotive components manufacturer, who used it for distribution purposes.
The rest of Japan, however, quickly caught on, and before long, marketers were showing the codes on TV to allow viewers to link to company websites. Soon, McDonald’s in Japan began putting the nutritional information of their bestselling burgers in QR codes.
Eventually, renowned company Marks & Spencer adopted the technology in the UK. M&S was more creative; they placed the codes on their juice packaging and filled it with jokes and other information about their products.
Since then, a lot of other companies have taken up the technology, with Pepsi even launching an entire ad campaign to publicize the appearance of QR codes on its Pepsi Max packs. In Pepsi’s case, the QR codes contained video clips and free mobile games.
Some Last-Minute Reminders
Before you start printing QR codes in your product packaging, beware of these pitfalls:
  • Linking to websites that are not mobile optimized. Most consumers scan QR codes with their mobile phones and access the content directly on the same device. If your code is linked to a website that is not optimized for mobile viewing, it will just frustrate your customers.
  • Using codes that are only readable by certain devices. Many QR codes these days can only be scanned by iPhones or BlackBerry devices. Unfortunately, the Android and Windows smartphone markets are also growing, so make sure to create a more versatile code if you don’t want to make your customers feel alienated.

This smart guide to using QR codes in your product packaging is enough to get you started. As you go along, you’ll certainly learn how to be more flexible and creative with these codes.

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