QR Codes for Product Marketing

What’s your wish list for a perfect product packaging? We’ve asked our customers, and here’s what they told us:

The packaging has to look great and convey trust.

Nobody will pick up a product from the supermarket shelf that looks unprofessional. There have been brands that used deliberately ugly or incongruous packaging as a means of differentiating their brand from their competitors but this can be a risky strategy.

It’s important for packaging to look distinctive.

Brands need to ensure that the packaging is recognisable, and leverages brand recall to outperform competition.

Packaging should be informative.

Of course your packaging should also inform prospective customers. It should tell them why your product is worth their attention without plastering your packaging in text.

Packaging should represent your brand’s values.

Needless to say, your packaging should also reflect your branding. Everything from where your logo is placed and how large it is to the fonts and coloring on your packaging should be a physical representation of the quality and values your brand stands for.

But there’s more….

What if every product picked up by a customer had a much better chance of leading them to buy more of the same?

What if an inch square jumble of black and white characters could make one purchase into several?

What if it could make it quicker and easier for customers to engage with your brand and encourage others within their circle of influence to do the very same?

The technology to enable this is here, right now. In fact, it’s been here for quite some time (since 1994 in fact). Yet for years brands and consumers have failed to use this innovative technology to its full potential… Until now.

We’re talking of course about Quick Response or QR codes.

What are QR codes and how do they work?

Just in case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, a QR code is a square box containing characters in the from of black dots on a white background in various configurations. Much like a barcode, they don’t make a whole lot of sense to the naked eye but these unassuming squares are bursting with potential. In fact, think of QR codes as barcodes 2.0. They work in much the same way but are able to store far more dense and complex information than a barcode.

QR codes offer convenience to consumers and added exposure for brands by your customers to an app, a web page, a social platform, your online store or pretty much anywhere else.

It doesn’t take a great visionary to realise the potential applications for this technology (but don’t worry, we’ll go over some great ones shortly). Nonetheless, consumers have not warmed to QR technology in the way that marketing companies had hoped. At least, not until fairly recently. A relatively small upgrade from one of consumer tech’s biggest name has led to a resurgence in the popularity of QR codes both for brands and consumers.    

QR codes are more popular than ever… And you have Apple to thank!

QR codes first came into general use in the early 2010s and it didn’t take long for brands to start trying to leverage them in a number of ways to boost consumer engagement and in so doing boost sales. Nonetheless, consumers didn’t take to QR codes with quite the enthusiasm that many brands were hoping. Why? We can’t speak for all consumers, but perhaps it was a matter of convenience. While there are a great many third party QR code reading apps available on both the Apple ands Android app stores it doesn’t seem like all that many consumers were willing to go to the trouble of downloading and registering one without a tangible idea of the rewards they should expect.

With the onset of Apple iOS 11, however, that changed. This update allowed the iPhone camera’s native software to scan QR codes automatically without the need to instal a third party app. Unfortunately, this update was later found to have a security bug. Nonetheless, when the bug was rectified this made for a sharp uptake in the scanning of QR codes. Early last year the number of smartphone users in the US alone scanning QR codes went up to 34% while this number rose to 46% for tablet users. Data from Juniper Research yields some interesting statistics that speak to a bright future for QR codes.

  • QR coupons redeemed via mobile will reach 5.3 billion by 2022.
  • Coded coupons redeemed via mobile in 2017 approached about 1.3 billion.
  • Over 1 billion mobile devices will access coupons through QR codes by 2022.

Thanks to Apple, brands can now enjoy a surge of interest in QR codes thanks to the added convenience of being able to read them through the native software in iPhone cameras.

7 Ways To Use QR Codes in your packaging

Here we’ll look at a few of the ways in which you can leverage the power of QR codes in your packaging to grow your brand and boost sales. We’ll also look at some successful ways in which a variety of brands have used QR codes in their packaging. Thus armed, you’ll have a plethora of ideas in you can usher in a new era of brand exposure and robust sales with the help of these little black and white rhomboids!

1. Show off your sustainability / ethical credentials

In an increasingly eco-conscious age, consumers want to know that the products they use are made using ethical means by people who are treated well. They want transparent supply chains and products that are made with sustainability in mind.

It can occupy a lot of packaging space to give consumers the reassurance they need. However, environmentally aware customers can get the reassurance they crave with a simple scan of a QR code. Show off your green credentials and you’ll earn the brand loyalty of conscientious consumers.

2. Facilitate social sharing

When you truly make a great impression on a customer you have a limited window within which they will be happy to share this positive experience. Using a QR code, you can create a landing page that enables customers to tweet about your product, share their impressions with their following on Facebook take a selfie with your product and post it on Instagram.

Make sure that your approach to social sharing is multifaceted. You don’t want to limit social sharing to a single platform and thus alienate anyone who doesn’t use it.

Social sharing helps to create social proof. It builds value into your brand in the eyes of those who follow or are acquainted with your happy customer. If they have the endorsement of someone they know and trust they are more likely to gravitate to your brand.

Speaking of social proof…

3. Link to consumer reviews

Nothing legitimizes a product in the eyes of a consumer like a plethora of 5 star reviews from real genuine customers just like them. Entice customers to take a look at what their peers have to say about your product and you stand a much better chance of them taking it to the checkout.

4. Helpfully line up their next purchase

You’re confident that your customer will love your product… So why wait for them to decide that they need more of it? A QR code can take satisfied customers to your online store to buy more (you may want to sweeten the deal with a special discount for those who use the code) or even set up a subscription so that they need never go without.

5. Make registration easy

Registration is a great step towards building brand loyalty, yet relatively few customers do it… Why? Because it takes time and effort that few consumers are prepared to give up. A QR code, however, can make registration quicker and easier, enabling customers to enjoy the benefits with a fraction of the hassle. For products requiring digital activation, QR codes can make this practically instantaneous.

6. Give them the chance to win something for nothing

All consumers want something for nothing. A British QR code awareness survey revealed that 64% of respondents agreed that they would scan a QR code in order to be entered into a contest or sweepstakes.

Giving them the chance to win something, whether it’s a branded product with your logo on it, more of your produce or even a cash prize is a great way of building a buzz around your brand. Competitions incentivize new customers to try your products and getting people talking about you.

A QR code can quickly direct customers who want to play to a special landing page with a form that captures their information and uses it to enter them into a random drawing for some fantastic prizes.

7. They can even boost your SEO

There isn’t a business out there that couldn’t benefit from greater SEO to position themselves above their competitors in search engine rankings. The use of QR codes can enhance both your search engine and social media optimization by drawing traffic to and sharing your content.

Bonus: Allow users to make your product their own

The more ways you can encourage consumers to use your product, the more value they will perceive in it. For food manufacturers, for example a QR code taking them to creative recipes using your product is a great way to get them to keep using it. Any way you can encourage consumers to make your brand their own will increase your chances of having it play a bigger part in their day-to-day lives.

QR Code packaging success stories

We’ve barely scratched the surface of the ways in which QR codes on your packaging can be used to boost sales and brand awareness. But can QR codes really take your business to such staggering heights. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which brands large and small have used QR codes on their packaging…

Heinz Tomato Ketchup

Where there’s ketchup, there’s Heinz… But the brand’s ubiquity hasn’t led them to rest on their laurels. Heinz understands the needs of remaining relevant to the changing needs of the consumer in a competitive market. Thus, in order to associate their brand with sustainability and eco-awareness they developed a brand new plant based bottle. But what’s the point in doing good if you can’t tell anyone about it? The new eco-friendly bottles sport the slogan “Guess what my bottle is made of”. Scanning the QR code takes consumers to a mobile site which details the important and timely story of the development of their plant based bottle. That’s how you build value in your brand!


Geodeo deodorant are another brand that understand the importance of appealing to an eco-conscious consumer. A QR code is emblazoned on the packaging of their natural deodorant along with the slogan; “Scan Me! Discover the power of nature’s science.”

When consumers scan the QR code, they will find information about the deodorant’s naturally sourced ingredients on its website. This is a great example of how the information available from scanning a QR code has reinforced the USP of both brand and product.

Migraine X ear plugs

Cirrus Healthcare Products have developed an ear plug that they claim can help prevent migraines that occur from changes in barometric pressure.

For the ear plugs to work, however, they need to be used at the right time. Hence, the plugs can be paired with the brand’s mobile app which sends barometric weather alerts, so that their  users know when to insert the ear plugs.

Don’t fancy scrolling through the Apple or Android store to get the app? You don’t have to! Scanning the QR code on the package with brings up the mobile app’s download page in a matter of seconds.


Okay, so this one wasn’t a QR code found on packaging (we’ve yet to buy a car that came in a box). Nonetheless, it was so inventive and bold that we simply had to include it on the list.  Early last year Porsche launched a new immersive experience at the Digital Signage Expo. Here  attendees were given the opportunity to customize a Porsche Cayenne Turbo and interact with the model via mid-air haptic cues. Users scanned a QR code which led them to a dedicated microsite featuring their “intelligent car configurator”.

How we can help

Truligent offers a full suite of software that allows manufacturers to seamlessly create digital identities for their product, and automatically generate scannable QR codes.

Sign up today or contact us for a bespoke demo.