QR Codes For Packaging At Every Stage

April 7, 2022

By now, most people already know how QR Codes work or have used one before. After all, those little pixelated squares were first developed and made public for the world to use in 1994.

Yet how many uses do you know for QR Codes? Does your business use them in the manufacturing and shipping stages? Are QR Codes contributing to your sales at the place of purchase? Have you considered using QR Codes to help customers even after they take the product home?

Unique QR Codes can be used at every stage of a product's life from manufacturing to purchase and beyond. Let's go through a few and inspire you to come up with some uses of your own.

In Manufacturing and Shipping

qr code for packaging

For your own purposes, placing a small QR Code on the packaging would allow you to follow the item through the manufacturing process. This is originally how these barcodes were used, and can help in every way from finding inefficiencies when a product sits for a long time to tracking defective parts back to their source.

Essentially you would add QR Codes to a product (or a batch of products) at the start of its life and then have employees scan the code at each step of the way, either when coming in and going out, or at important steps. Products that get started at one site as components, then go to another site for assembly, and finally to a warehouse for storage until they can be shipped out – this type of process is an excellent candidate for tracking. When those sites are distant from each other, you'll also gain valuable information on how long processes and deliveries take.

Shipping companies regularly use QR Codes to follow their items in transit and allow clients to see where their item is. The code becomes an automating process, replacing time spent on paperwork with a simple scan. Businesses can then learn more about the causes of lost items, theft or damage.

Using QR Codes in Sales

qr code for packaging

QR Codes are sometimes called Connected Packaging because of their ability to connect consumers with their product. In other words, with one scan a potential customer can learn more about the product. And because QR Codes can then tell you how they were scanned, you'll eventually learn where and from who you're getting the most results.

One of the best uses for this is to let people know the journey a product went through to reach the store, as described above. Conscious consumers would certainly like to know that a product hasn't travelled far to reach them, or that the ingredients came from responsible sources and won't cause them any allergy-related problems. You could even use QR Codes to give customers the exact date by which something might expire and the best method of disposal.

The website to which your QR Codes direct users to might include a video that serves as an ad or brand story for the product. Curious customers love getting reviews for a product, and a code on your packaging could send them to a video of the product being used by a promoted influencer, to your social media pages for them to learn about your brand identity, or to a website with a short and simple game to play where they use the product. 

A QR Code might also unlock Augmented Reality for a product. Imagine potential customers scanning the code and seeing your brand mascot emerge from the box through the image on their phone. This representative could inform them of interesting facts about the product or just say hello and ask how they're doing. Or the Augmented Reality could show the product outside of its packaging, allowing customers to get a closer look before they open it.

Some stores even utilize QR Codes as a contactless method for customers to make purchases. The business simply puts up QR Codes around the store with instructions posted nearby, customers walk in and scan the code to set up their purchase, and walk out after picking the item up at a window or choosing how they want the item delivered. 

Delighting Customers at Unboxing

qr code for packaging

Adding written instructions for how to assemble or use your products is fine, but what if customers could simply scan a QR Code and be sent a video with all of that information? Many people have trouble understanding written instructions, but most of us can get an idea for how to do something if we watch someone else do so first. 

Speaking of written instructions, do you know what language a customer will speak before you ship the product? If not, a QR Code could check the language setting of their phone and download instructions in their preferred language, or send them to the right website for customer service help. 

A QR Code could also provide customers with product uses, best practices, fun trivia and more. Best of all, a website is just a more spacious place to keep information about the product, so you can keep packaging cleaner and reduce info-density.

Or there's the classic method of delighting customers by sharing stories of other delighted customers. Perhaps each batch of a product features a new QR Code and a new story, or the website that your QR Codes link to changes every time someone visits. Maybe the code could send them to a website that finds the closest place to get another similar product when they want more.

By placing QR Codes inside the packaging, customers could scan and quickly register their purchase, then let you know how they would like to keep in touch. Like any loyalty program, you would offer future discounts and deals, then request product feedback after enough time for them to use it.

 Extra Tips For Using QR Codes

Always use QR Code generators that allow you to adjust the colours and style, like the Candr QR Code tool. You'll want to match your brand while also standing out from the packaging. Sometimes the design of the pixels can be modified, or you can make a code that looks “broken” but still works. Just make sure you test your QR Codes thoroughly before and after putting them on the packaging

Make sure you include a Call To Action near the QR Codes reminding everyone to scan them. Customers want to know what they might learn or gain from doing so. Also, consider simple instructions on how to scan for the rare customer who hasn't used them before.

QR Codes should be positioned with respect to your needs and the product lifecycle. At the manufacturing and shipping stage, you'll want them easily accessible and large, possibly on a removable cover. In sales, QR Codes can be small (about an inch at minimum) and on the back of the packaging. At the unboxing stage, make the QR Codes easy to find or somewhere the customer will look first such as the front of an instruction manual.

 Visit Candr for more support and frequently asked questions on using QR Codes. The Candr QR Code generation tool allows you to create free QR Codes and more. Help customers learn all about your product and your business by sharing the information directly. Create a free and unique profile for your business and use the Candr QR Code generator today.

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Brandon K. Stone

Passionate about learning, reading, and entrepreneurship. I have a degree in English from the University of Toronto and have been working as an executive assistant for a start-up company.

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