The true value of pairing QR codes with e-commerce packaging

There’s one thing that every e-commerce order has in common: it comes with some kind of packaging. Failing to recognize this point of interaction as a major moment to deliver brand experience and collect data is a missed opportunity.

As the industry has evolved, packaging has grown significantly in terms of its ability to serve more than just a delivery vessel. QR codes are a great example. They are equipped with technology designed to discreetly deliver insights to customers while providing brands with insights that can help shape an even better customer experience in the future.

There are lots of ways brands can use QR codes to improve e-commerce packaging, but here’s why and how it actually works.

It allows you to be agile with marketing

Everyone knows what a QR code is, but what isn’t as universally known is that there are two types. Static QR codes embed permanent information, so once created, the content they link to cannot be changed.

Dynamic QR codes are more advanced. Even after they are created and printed, you can update them with any content at any time. This means you don’t have to worry about reprinting boxes, bags or packaging materials. You simply update the code with the latest content you want to attract customers to, such as a seasonal campaign or a new offer. Static QR codes also enable real-time data tracking, allowing you to pivot as quickly and efficiently as possible, making them infinitely valuable.

It reveals what your customers are doing

When a customer scans a code, it generates data indicating where, when and with which operating system the scan took place. This gives businesses insight into which efforts are most effective for customers based on various factors, such as their location or the type of device they use. As you learn more about your customers’ behavior, initiatives can be optimized accordingly, resulting in more effective use of marketing budgets.

It tells you what your customers want

Buyers are forced to scan QR codes for various reasons. In our 2022 Ecommerce Consumer Study, we asked online shoppers when they are most likely to scan a QR code printed on packaging materials included in an online order. Most (28%) attribute their interest to participating in a contest or giveaway. The following reasons people scan QR codes include access to personalized offers based on purchases (26%), learning about the products they have ordered (22%), learning about the company where they ordered (14%) and access to interactive features. such as games and videos (10%).

Imagine what you could learn about your customers’ habits and preferences if you tested your own campaign mix.

It is an ecological and economical communication tool

Today’s conscious consumers are increasingly interested in companies that strive to implement sustainable business practices. You can include an insert with online orders that educates customers about your ethical sourcing, manufacturing processes, or other information detailing your sustainability efforts. While this information is extremely valuable, its delivery method can be expensive to print, as well as an unnecessary use of paper resources.

Going digital with this information is walking the pace. By printing QR codes on packaging materials, you can provide customers with easy access to the information they want without the additional costs and materials needed to design and print inserts. Plus, with options to customize QR codes with your logo, patterns, colors, and eyes — those three squares surrounded by a frame at the corners — it doubles as a branding tool.

QR codes are easy to create, you can get them to market quickly, and with the ability to track a myriad of data points and measure analytics, they can show real ROI. Their incorporation into personalized packaging transforms it from a logistical element into a valuable and highly sustainable brand communication and marketing tool.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.