QR Code Generator
QR Codes have had the second chance they deserve. They hold tremendous potential for brands to share content with consumers and create an engaging customer experience. Let’s dive into the world of QR Codes and discover their tremendous benefits for manufacturers.
What Is a QR Code and How Does It Work?
QR Code stands for quick-response code and allows you to quickly view content on your mobile device. To use a QR Code, you first scan the QR Code using your phone’s native camera or a QR Code scanning app. After scanning the QR code, there should be a link that pops up once your mobile device has read the QR Code. Click the link and you should be able to access the content behind the QR Code.
The History of QR Codes
The QR Code, or Quick Response Code, was first created in 1994 by Denso Wave, a part of the Toyota Motor Group, and was originally designed to track vehicle components during the manufacturing process.
1990s - 2020
As mobile phones became more sophisticated, with built-in cameras and internet connectivity, the potential for QR Codes to be used by the public started to emerge.
However, QR Code adoption remained relatively low during this time period for several reasons.
A huge reason why QR Codes failed to gain traction was a lot of them led to broken links or content that didn’t resonate with them. So, consumers believed there wasn’t a lot in it for them if they scanned a QR Code - so they stopped doing it. Some consumers even believed that QR Codes were unsafe since they did not know where the QR Code would take them once scanned.
2020 - Today
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the adoption of QR Codes as they became an essential tool for safe, contactless interactions.
With the fear of virus transmission through physical contact, QR Codes became an important part of contactless payments and digital menus at restaurants. Many businesses adopted QR Codes to enable customers to order food and make payments using their smartphones. Governments around the world leveraged QR Codes for contact tracing purposes.
But since the pandemic, QR Codes have come a long way and have expanded beyond the pandemic-related use cases. Some of their use cases include dining, event ticketing, accessing product information, and more.
QR Codes have come a long way since their inception in the 1990s. While they had niche applications in the pre-COVID era, the pandemic served as a catalyst for their widespread adoption, turning them into an essential part of modern life for various purposes beyond contact tracing.
QR codes are now firmly embedded in our daily routines and are likely to remain an integral part of our lives for years to come.
QR Code Benefits
As most individuals have grown accustomed to using QR Codes in their daily lives, whether that be accessing a restaurant menu or providing ticketing information for events, QR Codes hold tremendous value for a wide set of industries, especially manufacturing.
Let's talk about what some of the manufacturers can see when implementing a QR Code strategy.
Why Manufacturers Should Add QR Codes
Customers Love Them
Last year, about 89 million U.S. smartphone users scanned a QR Code on their mobile device. That’s up 26 percent from 2020, according to a recent survey.
Customers have welcomed QR Codes back into their lives with open arms. They know how to use this technology and the potential benefits it can bring to their lives. Exceed their expectations by incorporating this beloved tech into your brand’s customer experience.
It Creates Your Brand as a Single Source of Truth
If customers can’t find answers on your brand website, they’ll look elsewhere - forums, YouTube, friends, or family. This can be troublesome if these sources informing your customers on how to fix, install, or use your brand’s products are incorrect or outdated.
Be the source of truth for customers by including a QR on product packaging, emails, etc. that leads customers to customer support, installation videos created by your brand, or troubleshooting guides.
It Differentiates Your Brand
Reduce the length of your consumers' journeys if you want to fully please them. Customers don’t want to spend hours looking for product information. Brands can make finding this important information easier by putting a QR Code on product packaging that can take customers to installation guides, a digital onboarding experience, or troubleshooting videos. QR Codes can also be used while consumers are shopping in-aisle to help differentiate your product from competition by providing helpful content to drive an in-store purchase.
Your competition likely isn’t doing this, so when customers go to repurchase a product, they’ll remember how easily they were able to find important product information from your brand, and in return become loyal buyers.
Capturing Valuable Data is Easier
If you haven't heard yet, third-party cookies are going away. In short - if your business still relies on third-party data to collect customer information, you should start looking for a new way to learn about your customers ASAP.
That’s where zero-party data comes in.
Zero-party data collection is essential for all brands. Any companies that rely on third-party cookies must come up with alternative strategies since Google intends to finally discontinue supporting them in 2024. Customers' zero-party data can be collected by marketers in a variety of methods, including warranty registration, lead capture, or rebate submission. Customers can willingly provide their information to brands by accessing a form through a QR Code that is on product packaging.
You Can Digitize Your Marketing Materials
A popular resource in the manufacturing industry has traditionally been PDFs. They served as valued materials to inform potential customers of product information, provided customers with installation instructions, and so much more. But the world has transformed digitally and they no longer hold the same value they once did; digital experiences are displacing PDFs. Landing pages, websites, and mobile apps are replacing PDFs and QR Codes are acting as gateways for customers to access this content.
PDFs do not lead to an engaging customer experience and customers want an easier way to access important product information. By tying a QR Code to digital product experiences, brands can deliver an engaging customer experience, save on printing costs, and update content when product data changes. These benefits cannot easily be done with PDFs.
How Do You Create a QR Code?
After learning about the benefits of creating a QR Code, you might search, “How to create a QR Code?”. For manufacturers, QR Codes have huge potential for driving revenue and brand loyalty. Luckily, they’re relatively easy to create if you choose to invest in the best QR Code generator.
QR Codes typically contain information like URLs, text, contact information, or other data, making them a powerful tool for sharing information and bridging the offline and online worlds.
Types of QR Codes
Before we get into explaining how to generate QR Codes, we must first begin our discussion by explaining the two types of QR Codes.
Traditional QR Codes
These are the standard black-and-white QR Codes. While they are functional, they may lack visual appeal. These are typically what you see when trying to access a restaurant menu or even on product packaging.
Creative QR Codes
This type of QR Code is more than just a black-and-white image. The brand has gone the extra step to create a custom QR Code tailored to its brand.
Here are some ways brands can customize the design of QR Codes:
Colors - Change the QR Code's color scheme to match your brand's colors.
Logo Integration - Place your company logo into the QR Code while making sure it doesn't disrupt the code's functionality the QR Code remains scannable. This is often referred to as a creative QR Code.
Design Elements - Add decorative elements or patterns around the QR Code to make it visually appealing.
Background Images - Place the QR Code over a background image that aligns with your brand's image.
Custom Frames - Add custom frames or borders around the QR Code.
Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes
A static QR Code generator and a dynamic QR Code generator differ in the product they create. A static QR Code’s content cannot be edited once it’s created while a dynamic QR Code’s content can be edited once it’s created, according to Beaconstac.
When choosing between a static and a dynamic QR Code, we recommend choosing a dynamic QR Code. No matter if it’s a one-time campaign or an ever-green landing page, you always should have the ability to edit the content the QR Code is linking to.
Creating a QR Code from a Generator
Now that you know there are several different types of QR Codes and even various methods to design them, let’s discuss how to create QR Codes from a generator.
Online QR Code Generators
Many websites and apps offer free QR Code generation services. Users can input the desired data, such as a URL, and the QR Code generator will create a QR Code for you.
Examples include QR Code Generator, Canva QR Code, QR Stuff, and QR Code Monkey.
A barcode generator is not a dynamic QR Code generator because they do not generate QR Codes.
Barcodes and QR Codes are both methods of encoding data for easy retrieval using a scanner or camera-equipped device, but they differ in several key ways. A barcode differs from a QR Code because it typically has a limited data capacity and can only store a small amount of information, whereas QR codes have a much higher data capacity.
Barcodes are commonly used in retail for product identification, inventory management, and point-of-sale transactions. They are also used in libraries, grocery stores, and ticketing systems.
QR Codes have a broader range of use cases; they are used for marketing campaigns, website links, contactless payments, boarding passes, event tickets, and much more.
QR Code Scanner
A QR Code scanner is not considered the best QR Code generator either because it does not create a QR Code; it instead reads it.
A QR Code scanner is a feature (or in some cases, an app) on a device that allows you to read and interpret QR Codes. For most users, a smartphone’s camera works as their QR Code scanner.
How Much Does a QR Code Cost?
What is the cost of a QR Code generator? The answer to this question depends on how much you want to spend on a QR Code and what your business goals are; you can either choose to go with a free QR Code generator or invest in QR Code generator software.
Free QR Code Generator
If you want the most cost-effective method to create a QR Code, you can use a free QR Code generator. Some popular ones include QRCode Monkey, QR Stuff, and QR Code Generator. These solutions offer basic QR Code creation with options for URL links, text, and contact information.
Other QR Code Generators
Adding more complexity to your QR Code increases the cost of your QR Code generator. Some software solutions, such as Adobe Acrobat Pro and Adobe InDesign, offer QR Code generation as part of their paid packages. This is useful if you need advanced design and customization options.
But there’s a better option for manufacturers to generate QR Codes.
Lumavate generates QR Codes as part of its activation services for customers. Each individual digital experience created in Lumavate receives its own unique QR Code automatically,
Do QR Codes Ever Stop Working?
QR Codes will stop working and lead to a bad customer experience if the content they’re linking to ever gets deleted. If you recall, this is what occurred during the first few years of the creation of the QR Code and ultimately led to low adoption rates.
Marketers don’t want to see this trend happen again.
That’s why it is so important for brands to have a long-term strategy to manage their QR Codes. On top of having an inactive QR Code, if brands forget to update content for a specific QR Code, the user might digest outdated or incorrect information.
Ways Manufacturers Can Use QR Codes
Manufacturers can harness the power of QR Codes in many different use cases. Here are a few of our favorite examples.
Trade shows are important events for manufacturers to showcase their products and connect with potential customers. To enhance the attendee experience and make it easier to share product information with attendees, manufacturers can use QR Codes on signage for attendees to scan and learn more about a product without the need for direct sales interactions:
Manufacturers can place QR Codes on product signage or displays. Attendees can easily scan the QR Code with their smartphones to access information about the product, such as specifications, features, benefits, pricing, and availability.
When scanning the QR Code, attendees can be directed to a landing page or a digital product catalog that provides details about the product. This can include product images, videos demonstrating product use, customer testimonials, and product specifications.
Plus, attendees can share the product information they accessed through QR Codes with colleagues or others who were not able to attend the event.
Packaging and Labeling
Manufacturers are constantly seeking new ways to improve customer experience and provide valuable information about their products. One effective method is to utilize QR Codes on product packaging and labeling.
QR Codes can be linked to onboarding instructions and user guides for the product. This is especially useful for complex products, electronics, or appliances, where customers may need step-by-step guidance to get started. Customers can simply scan the QR Code on the packaging or label, and access a landing page, app, or website with detailed instructions, minimizing the frustration of saving or locating printed manuals.
Inevitably, customers may encounter issues with a product. Manufacturers can put QR Codes on products or packaging that lead to troubleshooting guides or video tutorials that can save customers time and reduce the need for contacting customer support. Troubleshooting QR Codes can also link to FAQs, enabling customers to find solutions independently and promoting a sense of self-reliance.
In today’s retail environment, manufacturers are continuously seeking innovative ways to engage with customers and drive sales. One resource in their toolbox is the QR Code, which can be used for in-aisle campaigns. QR Codes serve as a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, allowing manufacturers to interact with customers in a more engaging and informative way
Customers often want more detailed information about a product before making a purchase decision. By scanning the code with their smartphones, customers can access content such as videos, charts, or image galleries that highlight the product's unique selling points. Compared to conventional shelf talkers and packaging, this visual representation can captivate the customer's attention and convey information more effectively. QR Codes can link to landing pages with product descriptions, specifications, and customer reviews. Manufacturers can also include links to user manuals or FAQs, enabling customers to make informed choices.
QR Codes can be a powerful tool for offering discounts, promotions, or exclusive deals to customers right in the aisle. Scanning a QR Code can instantly provide shoppers with digital coupons they can redeem at the checkout, creating an incentive for immediate purchases and enhancing customer loyalty.
Encourage customers to register their products by including a QR Code that takes them directly to the product registration form. This helps manufacturers gather information about their customers and provide a more personalized customer journey experience. Product registration via QR Codes can streamline the process, as customers won't need to navigate through websites or search for registration forms.
Manufacturers can include QR Codes that lead to detailed warranty information. This can include the duration of the warranty, what it covers, and how to initiate a warranty claim if needed. Providing this information upfront instills confidence in the product's quality and support, contributing to increased customer satisfaction.
Examples of Brands Using QR Codes
While we’ve discussed the benefits of manufacturers using QR Codes and provided some example use cases for how brands can utilize this technology, it might be helpful to take a look at how some brands are using QR Codes in the wild.
Michelob Ultra’s Shoppable Ad
QR Codes on TV commercials are rising in popularity among brands. Second screens (consumers using two different devices at the same time) are gaining traction and brands are taking advantage of this trend.
Michaelob released a television commercial close to last year’s big game with a QR Code that when accessed would bring viewers to Michaelob’s Instacart page so they could easily shop for the brand’s product in just a few clicks.
Remy Martin’s Product Packaging
Remy Martin took advantage of the potential of placing a QR Code on product packaging holds and placed a QR Code on limited edition bottles that would take customers to a landing page to learn more about the specific notes of the bottle. In addition to learning more about the product, when scanning the QR Code, customers can enter sweepstakes to win tickets to go to an upcoming event.
QR Codes on product packaging can provide customers with more than just product information. Skittles harnessed the power of this technology for Pride Month 2023 to create an experience for customers that when accessed would send them to a landing page where they could access content from LGBTQ+ storytellers.
Lumavate and QR Codes
While there are several QR Code generators as previously discussed, manufacturers rely on Lumavate as their QR Code generator for their digital product experience.
Lumavate is a Product Experience Management (PXM) Platform that has a Product Information Management (PIM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) capabilities. By using the Lumavate Platform, manufacturers can centralize product data, manage digital assets, and create engaging digital product experiences for their customers all in one platform. Plus, they can generate QR Codes tied to their digital product experiences.
By having a QR Code tied directly to a digital product experience, manufacturers can track data within its platform in terms of the number of activations through QR codes, text, URL, or even Near-field Communication (NFC). Plus, if manufacturers want to get more granular with their data, Lumavate has a direct integration with Google Analytics so manufacturers can see things like pageviews, average session duration, number of sessions, and more.
Want to get started using Lumavate as your QR code generator for your digital product experiences? Schedule a demo now to speak to one of our product experts.
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