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QR Codes in Retail & Hospitality: The Future of In-Store Marketing
March 10, 2023

Consumers are increasingly bombarded with digital information, so businesses must keep pace with the help of evolving digital marketing tactics. QR codes in retail and the hospitality industry are marketing essentials of the future that are already giving today’s businesses the edge they need to stay ahead of the curve.

You don’t have to look too close to see QR codes popping up everywhere, from printed material to mobile apps and products. Shops, restaurants, and professionals use them too. In addition, schools around the world are looking to integrate QR codes into learning practices. So, QR codes are here to stay.

The possibilities QR codes present are undeniable, yet many small businesses remain unaware of QR codes’ marketing potential. So, this guide will show you everything you need to know about QR codes, including how they work, their benefits, their uses, and how you can make QR codes easily. Ready for a glimpse at the future of retail marketing? Good. Let’s get to it!

How do QR Codes Work?

QR or “quick response” codes store data embedded within two-dimensional patterns. They’re similar to traditional barcodes, which emerged in the 1950s that now appear on every imaginable product. However, while barcodes are primarily used for inventory, pricing, and tracking purposes, QR codes offer a wider range of marketing capabilities. So, think of a QR code as an updated, more versatile version of the old familiar barcode. 

So how do QR codes work? QR Codes use a design featuring black and white squares which contain unique data. Data can range from simple text to URLs, pictures, and more. A quick scan with your smartphone’s camera or scanning app instantly gives you access to the information embedded within the code. The quick and easy way to reveal relevant data to users makes QR codes a powerful marketing tool for businesses, especially the retail and hospitality sectors.

The Benefits of QR Codes in Retail

QR codes give marketing strategists an effective tool for building successful campaigns and steering consumers to relevant information with speed and focus. QR codes are ideal for the smallest marketing campaigns to the most ambitious and are especially attractive to small business owners looking to optimize their customer’s experience. 

Retail QR codes’ cost-effectiveness is one of the most intriguing benefits they offer business owners. QR codes minimize expenditures while giving a wider spectrum of customers access to the information you want them to see instantly. They are also fully customizable and user-friendly, adding greater value for in-store marketing. 

QR codes really showcase their worth by neatly combining online, mobile, social media, in-store and other channels used by your customers. This robust “omnichannel” capability lets you maintain an uninterrupted flow of communication with consumers. The result is a stronger, more fruitful customer experience that encourages repeat sales and customer loyalty.

Using QR Codes for Retail Stores

Retail QR codes offer limitless marketing potential. As we’ve seen, they are go-to marketing power tools that make the job faster, easier, and cost-effective. The best part is you can use easily customized QR codes in as many ways as you can dream up. As a result, QR codes are becoming commonplace in more and more aspects of 21st-century marketing. Let’s dive into just a few of the many ways QR codes can work for you.

Print Marketing

One of the most common QR code placements is in print media. It is hard to go through a day without seeing QR codes. You’ll see them on brochures, advertisements, in-store signage, product labels, magazines, catalogs, business cards, menus, receipts, and shopping bags. QR codes in physical print allow consumers to learn more about products, news, or events in-store. So, users don’t have to spend time searching online or shopping other businesses for info. Instead, just a quick scan and the info is instantly in front of them.

Driving Website Traffic

Viewing in-store shoppers and website users as separate entities can be all too easy. Yet combining the best of both worlds can greatly enhance the in-store experience. QR codes are especially valuable for building a direct link between web-based and in-store promotions. QR codes let you drive users to your business website, and product pages fast and effectively. So, in-store customers can directly access pages to learn more about your business, products, and services you offer. The knowledge customers gain from your website can be the spark that grows into more in-store and online sales. So, QR codes guide in-store shoppers to your website and encourage customers to use all of your business’s available channels.

Product Promotion

Product promotion is at the heart of every in-store marketing strategy, and QR codes offer a powerful tool for developing a successful plan. It works when a customer scans a QR code on product shelf-talkers, labels, signage, or the product itself. The code provides a link to a webpage that highlights the product or in-store promotion. It’s an effective way to generate more in-store sales. Product promotion QR codes can also encourage greater eCommerce activity. In addition, QR codes let users access information whenever or wherever it’s convenient. So, at the very least, QR codes can plant a seed for those looking to make purchases later on.

Product Alternatives

There’s nothing more frustrating for customers than wanting to make a purchase only to find out an item is out of stock. It can be a hassle to fill out rainchecks or special order forms. The customer could decide to go elsewhere, and no one wants a lost sale. However, QR codes for retail can alleviate some frustration by directing customers to product alternatives. They can scan the product code for details or special offers about similar products. Another workaround that can keep customers in a purchasing mode is to use QR codes to direct customers to an online order form so they can be notified when products will be back in stock. It maintains a solid in-store experience while giving you another way to get customer data. 

Customer Data 

Today’s growing emphasis on first-party data collection makes QR codes essential to procuring customer data safely and at lower costs than purchasing from outside sources. QR codes give you all the information necessary to build winning marketing strategies and improve customer retention. For example, in-store customers can scan QR codes that direct them to a feedback form, a survey, a poll, or any webpage requiring customer response. With just a few clicks, you’ll have valuable information to use with your marketing toolbox. This direct, contactless information collection gives you the flexibility to create customer databases, cater inventory to demand, design more effective marketing tactics, or evolve the overall customer experience.

Social Engagement

Social media is so intertwined with everyday connectivity nowadays that businesses simply can’t afford to ignore it. QR codes open up a vast world of social engagement opportunities that let you convert everyday digital interaction into powerful marketing tools. Using QR codes within social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter gets information to users fast. This can build a thriving online presence and get customers more involved with in-store promotions. In addition, QR codes are great for encouraging customers to visit your website or other platforms, such as Yelp, to leave positive reviews or ratings. 

Discounts and Special Offers

Discounts always get everyone’s attention, and QR codes give you tremendous versatility when steering customers toward purchases. In-store special offers are great examples of how QR code discounts can make a difference. When a user scans a QR code on in-store promotional material, it can reveal a special discount or coupon that encourages the user to make purchases. You can create QR codes for various offers to fit each marketing campaign or product promotion. In addition, allowing in-store customers to use these special offer codes online is another way to bolster eCommerce and link customers with other business channels.

How to Make Shopping QR codes For Retail Marketing

With all that you can do with QR codes, you might think you’d need an engineering degree from MIT to make these fancy QR codes for your business. Luckily, making QR codes is so simple anyone can do it, and AppURL can help you create them in seconds. One of the many features of AppURL’s toolbox is a QR code generator. So, no expensive, specialized degree is required! 

AppURL’s QR code feature makes QR code creation lightning quick and easy. All you need is a URL you want users to open. So, just enter the URL in the QR code generator, click “Save and Create,” and that’s it. You’ll have a custom QR code you can use for your in-store marketing campaigns. 

Step Into the Future Of Retail Stores With QR Codes Now

QR codes continue to prove to be one of the most effective in-store marketing tools available today. As more and more users scan QR codes daily, the importance that QR codes in retail hold for marketing success will only grow. QR codes are cost-effective, easy to use, and help build a better customer experience. That’s a win-win-win! So, get a jump on the future of marketing. Create QR codes with AppURL today.