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Guide: How CPG Brands are Leveraging QR Codes

July 19, 2022
Alex Rosenberg


The number of consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands used on a daily basis is astounding. If you’re like most Americans, you probably use around 42 different consumer packaged goods daily. At-home consumption of CPG products is at an all-time high on the heels of pandemic-related demand for convenient meal solutions, self-care and home-care products, and a variety of on-the-go options, according to IRi’s 2002 CPG Market Review and Outlook. With so many CPG brands competing for consumers’ attention, it can be overwhelming to try and stand out from the competition.

With QR codes, however, brands are able to differentiate themselves and optimize their marketing efforts. QR, or quick response, codes are two-dimensional barcodes that are scannable by any device that has a camera and an internet connection. When scanned with a smartphone camera, these codes link consumers to online destinations where they can watch a video, fill out a form, or engage in other online experiences.

How to use QR codes for your CPG brand

In the following guide, we break down the many ways brands are leveraging QR codes for CPG products and how you can get on board with the technology.

1. Add QR codes to CPG packaging

QR codes are one of the most popular ways to drive people to your website and other digital platforms. The technology has been around for years, but it's only recently that companies have started using them for CPG packaging. Now, nearly every major brand — from ESPN to Campbell's Soup — is using QR codes to promote their products. In fact, Retail Brew predicts that going forward, it’ll become weird for retail packaging to not incorporate QR codes — not to mention put a brand at a competitive disadvantage if they fail to use the technology.

So what does this mean for you and your brand? If you're in the business of CPG, you can use QR codes in your CPG packaging design to increase website traffic, boost your social following, and build customer loyalty — whether you sell CPG items at your own store, at other retailers, or at a pop-up shop. The easier it is for customers to engage with your brand online, the more likely they’ll be to buy your products and reorder them again and again. For example, if someone scans a QR code on an energy drink can and wants more information about how it's made or why it tastes so good, your code can direct them to an online page with more details about the product or brand, an email signup page, a sweepstakes form to win a prize, or any other information you want to share with customers that can’t fit within the confines of your product package.

2. Put QR codes on marketing materials

QR codes are all the rage in marketing, and for good reason. They're a simple way to promote your products and services, but they're also easy for people to use. That's why you should be putting QR codes on your marketing materials, including shelf talkers, sales sheets, and one-pagers. Here are some ideas:

Use QR codes on retail shelf talkers:

A shelf talker is a small sign that sits on the edge of a shelf next to your product and conveys some information about it. Shelf talkers can also protrude from the shelf to catch the eye of passersby. They're small, but they have a mighty big impact on sales if you use them effectively. Adding a QR code to your shelf talkers makes it easy for customers to find out more about your products or services, enabling great customer service even if your store is busy. They don't have to track down a salesperson, remember key information, or type in long URLs into their devices — they just scan the code to access product information at their fingertips, without the code taking up much space on your marketing materials.

Add QR codes to your sales sheets and one-pagers:

QR codes allow you to convey more information than you would be able to on traditional sales sheets and one-pagers, while keeping things clean and easy-to-read. Their simplicity makes them especially useful for one-pagers and other marketing materials that need to be short and sweet. You can send customers to a video or other assets that move the sales process forward.

Shelf talker: scan to join mailing list

3. Create digital business cards

When you’re attending networking mixers, trade shoes, conferences, expos, and other business events, QR codes can make your life much easier. Add a QR code to your business card, and you can easily share your contact information and drive people to mobile landing pages. This is incredibly useful if you want to convey more information than will fit on your business card. It can also help you capture contact information by driving people to an email sign-up form through your QR code.

Another option is to add Flowtags on your CPG products to connect customers with your contact information, social media pages, payment apps, and more — turning your QR codes into digital business cards. It’s like having an entire social ecosystem in one easily accessible format that your customers can scan while they’re on the go. Place your Flowtag on the back of your phone, and you can easily share information about your products with everyone you meet.

4. Get more 5-star reviews

Online reviews are more important than ever, with increasing numbers of consumers relying on online reviews for their purchasing decisions. An estimated 77% of consumers read online reviews when browsing for local businesses, meaning it’s critical to encourage your customers to leave 5-star reviews after using your products. Not only do these reviews assist with your reputation management, but they also boost your local search rankings, helping your business appear in search results for people searching for products like yours.

QR codes can help in gathering more 5-star reviews by driving people to review platforms. Simply add your Flowcode QR code to your packaging insert with a call to action to leave a review, and when customers scan the code, they'll be taken directly to the review platform of your choice. You can also place signage inside your store with a QR code that links to review sites to encourage more people to leave more reviews.

The benefit of using QR codes isn't just about collecting customer feedback — it can help you build a loyal customer base, too. The more you engage with your customers, respond to their reviews (both positive and negative), and handle customer service issues gracefully, the better your online reputation will be among all the people who read reviews before choosing to make a purchase or visit your shop.

5. Make an impact at trade shows

If you have a trade show coming up, incorporating Flowcode QR codes in your trade show booth and event marketing materials is a great way to engage with attendees. They can scan it with their phones, instantly bringing up a video or link that provides more information about your products. You can also incorporate your QR code into brochures and other printed materials and post it on social media prior to your event to generate buzz. Here are some ways to use Flowcode QR codes at your next trade show:

● Add your Flowcode QR code to posters and banners so attendees can easily scan it to learn more about your company or products.

● Print out handouts with the code on them so attendees can scan it later if they don’t have time to do so on the spot. This is another great way to use Flowtags with your contact information, website, and social links in one place.

● Print your QR code on direct-mail pieces that you send to attendees prior to the event. Send people to a landing page with information on where to find you at the event, and capture their email information for later use.

● Add your QR code to email signatures when emailing customers before and after your event.

● Put your QR code on printed business cards to hand out to anyone who walks by your booth.

● Link your Flowcode to a giveaway, and make sure your booth screams “Enter to Win!” This will allow you to collect contact information and create excitement around your brand.

CPG Trade show

6. Get customer insights by store

QR codes in retail can be goldmines of information. If you own or manage a brick-and-mortar store with multiple locations, you can use custom QR codes to gain customer insights at each store and see which brick-and-mortar location is getting the most engagement. With Flowcode, your QR codes are dynamic, meaning you can get real-time data on who is scanning your codes and from where, as well as how they are interacting with the content on the other end of your QR codes. This will allow you to collect data about the products that are most popular among your consumers, as well as those that are not selling well so that you can make adjustments accordingly.

If you have products on shelves at multiple retailers, you can also use your QR code to direct customers to a Flowpage customized for the retailer. Show your partners that you’re driving sales to their business, all while educating your customers about your products, improving the customer experience, and gaining customer insights.

7. Collect more contact information

Advertising on Facebook and Instagram can be expensive, especially if you're not an expert in social media ads. Mistakes like having too many ad sets, selecting the wrong Facebook campaign objective, or failing to audit your campaigns can cost you thousands of dollars and fail to get you the leads and conversions you’re after.

With QR codes, you can avoid costly social advertising mistakes by collecting customer information in the real world, helping to increase your email contact list, which you can use for additional marketing. For example, if you run a bakery and want to get more email subscribers, use a QR code on your in-store signage to collect names and emails from customers. You can also use it for other purposes like getting online reviews or distributing coupons and discounts. Here are some other ideas for how to use QR codes to build your email list:

● On posters or flyers. The most obvious place for QR codes is on posters and flyers. If potential customers walk by these items with their smartphones in hand, they'll likely scan the code to learn more about your business or product.

● On print ads. Again, this is a place where people will be scanning codes with their smartphones while they read magazines and newspapers.

● In store windows. Capture attention from people who are walking through or passing by your shop.

8. Gain smarter analytics for decisions

If you want smarter analytics to drive your business decisions, QR codes are a must for your CPG brand. When people scan your QR codes, you’re able to:

● See exactly when and where customers are scanning your codes and plan decisions around this data.

● Improve your social media marketing efforts; for instance, if your goal is to increase your Facebook following, you can create a QR code that’s linked to a “like” button on your Facebook page.

● Pinpoint which of your real-world ads with QR codes are getting the most scans, helping you make any necessary adjustments or boost your efforts with ads that are working well.

● Gauge which retailers are getting the most engagement with your products as customers scan your QR codes.

9. Use custom QR codes for more engagement

Don’t sacrifice your branding with a boring black and white code — especially when it comes to CPG products. Make your QR codes pop and get more engagement with a custom code that sets you apart from the competition. With Flowcode Pro, it’s easy to create an artistic QR code that helps your product stand out on store shelves and gets people scanning. Here are some ways to get creative:

● Turn your logo into a scannable design. You already put a lot of time and effort into creating a beautiful logo, so why not leverage it as a custom QR code that drives more traffic to your website?

● Think beyond the packaging. Adding your QR code to your package is great, but how about taking things a step further by placing it right on your products? If you sell organic hand cream, for instance, place your QR code on the bottom of the bottle — and anyone who picks it up will be instantly intrigued enough to scan (and hopefully place an order!).

● Customize your code however you like. With Flowcode, you can use your brand colors or customize the design for a holiday or special event. Have a 4th of July product launch planned? Create a red, white, and blue artistic QR code that makes a patriotic statement.

10. Use dynamic QR codes on products

Whether you place QR codes on your packaging or on your products themselves, Flowcode’s dynamic QR codes are the way to go if you want to be able to update your information from time to time. If you change the ingredients, instructions, contact information, or any other details related to your products, you can easily update your dynamic QR codes without having to reprint or repackage anything. This isn’t the case with static QR codes, which require you to create entirely new codes anytime you have any updates. The high quality stickers you print will never need to be replaced!

If you have evolving campaigns and priorities for your CPG brand, dynamic QR codes from Flowcode also allow you to gain real-time data on customer engagement and adjust your campaigns for better results. You're able to conduct retargeting of customers and track coupon redemption, for example. This enables brands to tailor their marketing messages to specific audiences and customer behavior, making their campaigns even more effective.

product body with QR

Now more than ever, consumers are relying on QR technology as a quick, easy way to learn more about a product or brand. An estimated 5.3 billion people are scanning QR codes today, and within the CPG sector, adoption is taking off for brands that want their marketing to go the extra mile.

By using Flowcodes as part of your CPG marketing strategy, you can ensure your products are getting the attention they deserve. Flowcode QR codes provide endless opportunities for brands to engage with consumers around their products in new ways that aren't possible through traditional advertising methods alone — enabling them to reach out directly to customers and engage with them in a memorable and interactive way.

Ready to elevate your packaging?

Modernize your packaging with technology that will help your customers come back for more! Head to Flowcode to make a QR code in less than 60 seconds for your product, or discover how consumer packaged brands use QR codes for their products!

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