High intent engagement
Like a Google search, a QR code scan is a high-intent interaction. A consumer scans a QR on a product because they want something relating to that product -- either to get information, buy, save, share, review, or get help. Each of these interactions is valuable to a brand.
If the scan leads to a purchase, then it is worth at least as much as a Google search click (i.e., several dollars). If it answers a question and avoids a customer service call, then it means a happy customer while also avoiding the cost of a call to customer service. Great customer service has a healthy ROI, and what better place to offer it than from the product in the moment of need.
The bottom line is that when consumers scan QR codes on products or packaging and get what they want, then the brand benefits with increased sales, customer loyalty, brand awareness and captured customer data.
Alternatively, every failed interaction has a cost - either in lost sales or in lost goodwill. If a QR code links only to a product promotion, but the customer scans it because they cannot figure out how to use the product, then the customer is disappointed and the brand loses a little goodwill.
Meeting expectation and need
The key to successfully deploying product QR codes is to fulfill both expectations and needs.
Take for example the restaurant menu QR codes. They are wildly successful because they fulfill both expectation and need. These QR codes typically have “Menu” printed with them and are located at the table, so a viewer knows what to expect. Restaurant patrons are gratified when they are able to review a touch-free menu without waiting on a server, and the restaurant benefits by saving on printing and labor.
Unfortunately, delivering on both expectation and need is not so clear cut for product QR codes. Customers with a product in hand can want several different things. One may look to reorder, another for a quickstart guide, while a third may want to contact support.
Some QR codes are dynamic and their experience can easily be changed from linking to an online store to showing a quickstart video, but such updates complicate the ability to use a printed message to set expectations.
If one prints “Quickstart Guide” under the QR code, then it must always maintain that experience. In this case, one class of customers will be satisfied, but others that want to buy, save, or share become missed opportunities for the brand.
Multi-action QR codes
The best answer for product QR codes is to offer options -- call them “multi-action QR codes.” Here is an example: qr5.to/multi-action-QR/
Such QR codes should satisfy several basic categories of customer needs for a product:
Buying - Purchasing the product, reordering, or getting accessories.
Learning - Accessing specifications, FAQs, a quick start video, a manual, sustainability information, and usage tips.
Getting help - Contacting support
Reviewing - Giving product reviews and feedback
Sharing - Making referrals, and social shares
Educate customers of all they can accomplish from a product interaction. Deliver the most relevant actions. Keep these actions up to date and the promotions fresh, and product QR codes will become a regular tool for customers and a valuable channel for the brand.
It will likely be your lowest cost sales channel, while creating loyal, repeat customers.