Ever since McDonald’s unveiled its new packaging, featuring QR codes, there has been much talk about whether there’s anything remarkable about this move. The fast food giant’s QR codes will lead people who scan them to information about the nutritional value of the food that they have just bought. In most discussions about McDonald’s new packaging, the tone seems to be one of negativity and for a variety of reasons: some complain that QR codes are very 2010 and have long stopped being relevant, while others say that this is just another gimmicky use of the technology. There’s a common theme running through all the arguments, though – that customers should feel rewarded, in some way, when they go to the effort of scanning QR codes. As this article points out, a depressingly large number of QR codes simply lead to a company website, with no dynamic or interactive content and with no way for the reader to do or learn something useful. It is the easiest way, the article goes on to say, for a company to appear tech-savvy, without actually doing much.
This is why the whole attitude of marketers towards QR codes needs to change. These codes have the potential to be more than just a link to a company website or to hardsell services. Here are a few ways in which a company could use QR codes on its packaging and actually get its consumers to scan them:
- Don’t duplicate information – If you’ve already made information about nutrition or your company’s website available to the public, don’t put in a QR code for it. According to this article, nutritional information for its food is already available on menu boards inside McDonald’s restaurants, so there really wasn’t much need for them to put it on the packaging as well.
- Don’t waste your customers’ time – Most people don’t go out of their way to visit company websites, so you can’t assume that they would want to do that through QR codes. If you want to engage with your customers through QR codes, you need to find a better way to do so. There’s a reason Heinz did so well in this matter; the company used QR codes on its packaging to help consumers contribute to causes that it feels strongly about. Why not try something similar?
- Clear up the clutter – A lot of product packaging these days is visually very unappealing. Apart from the mandatory details about expiration dates, nutrition and other information, brands clutter their packaging with announcements about contests and special offers. How about sharing some of that extra information via a QR code and actually getting through to your customers?
- Enable customers to buy more or send gifts – If a customer really likes your product, they might just want to buy more of it, either for themselves or as gifts. Why not use QR codes on the product packaging to enable them to do that? And while you’re at it, add a special discount or offer as a scanning bonus.
- Enable customers to register their products – Putting QR codes on product packaging that will get your customers’ product/warranty registered automatically is brilliant move that will save your customers a lot of time. Try that, instead of simply asking them to log on to your website and do the whole thing in the usual tedious way.