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2-way and multi URL QR codes

2-way QR codes and multi-URL QR codes are set to become more popular than ever in 2022, after the QR code making a popular comeback during the COVID-19 pandemic. In this blog we’re bringing you everything you need to know about QR codes, and paying particular attention to how they can help retailers in 2022. 

QR codes; the birth and death

Though QR codes didn’t really start to become popular until 2010, they were actually invented in 1994 by a Japanese company who were looking to track automotive parts as they moved through the supply chain. By 2013, QR codes had started to emerge everywhere, popping up at almost every trade show across the globe as a way to check in.

Durintg this time QR codes at this time were pretty one-dimensional and only really provided basic information, meaning their popularity rapidly decreased in the public domain and they were only really used by businesses to keep track of logistics. 

Fast Forward to 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic brought about the need for social distancing and a reduction in physical contact; welcome back to the long lost QR code. In 2020 a survey revealed that between September and March found that 47% of respondents had noticed an increase in QR code use, and 32% of people that week alone had scanned a QR code.

The re-emergence of the QR code

During 2020 the QR code was most popularly spotted in replacement of a hard menu, at local museums, zoos, cinemas and parks. With this type of one-dimensional QR code users can scan to learn more information on the area they’re in or provide their pass to enter into the cinema or zoo.

QR codes have also been used during this time for check-ins across the public health and hospital industries. However, some companies did utilize this time to find ways that QR codes could be more multi-use and actually retrieve and provide information at the same time, for instance providing a user sign up page, as well as offering promotional offers and product information. Given how easy QR codes are to actually generate, it’s not surprising that it is estimated that by 2022 there will be 1 billion people using QR codes to access and provide information. 

Moving into 2022, there has already been a significant increase in the use of QR codes across the globe, with the new 2-way, multi-use QR code proving popular, particularly amongst retailers. Below, we’ve detailed several ways we think QR codes can be useful in retail environments to increase sales, consumer brand interaction, and new product awareness.

2-way and multi-use QR code benefits;

1. Controlled interaction

95% of consumers want to be left alone when shopping, making the 2 way QR code a brilliant way to ensure your brand still engages with your consumers. Having 2-way multi-URL QR codes across your store means consumers can scan them at any point of their journey and are provided with a wealth of any information you choose to display.

You could choose to place a QR code on the hanger of a barcode to provide more information on the product like sizing, materials and availability. Shoppers can then also be prompted to sign up to the brand whilst reading product information, to set up their own profile which they could then add their favourite in-store items to their profile to view later at home and potentially order online, extending the customer journey.


2. Gain customer insights

Adding QR codes to your store lets you get to know your customers better. By scanning and setting up or accessing their profile, customers can add physical in-store products to their ‘digital favourites’. This means as a brand you can then target your customer using more personalised marketing content and advertise the latest products they would be interested in.

3. Trackable analytics

Adding analytic technology to your QR codes means you can gain customer information that will further shape your customer buyer persona by tracking which information is most popularly accessed, where it is accessed and who it is accessed by. For example, if the most popular QR codes in your store are at the point of sale, you can increase their roll out across your whole estate. If you also find that they are most popular amongst males in certain areas you can increase their use. On the other hand, if QR codes prove more popular in UK stores, opposed to stores in Europe, you could look for ways to improve their popularity by changing the content or removing them from certain stores and looking to use other marketing tools instead.

4. Change in content

Adding a multi-use QR code to your store means the content you provide can be continuously modified and changed based on several factors. If a user enters your store and scans a QR code at the door for the first time, they could be greeted with a simple message and promoted to sign up to the newsletter. When they then progress further into the store, if they scan further QR codes the content could then change based on the fact it would be the second time they have scanned an in-store QR code.

The more times a user scans the QR code the more information they will receive, or be prompted to provide meaning you can offer discounts, exclusive product information or any other kind of marketing information you think would benefit your consumers.

5. Location based content

It could be that you decide to roll out QR codes across your whole estate, but you don’t want to just set up one piece of content that is provided across them all. Based on in-store analytics or consumer trends in certain areas, you can tailor the content displayed through your QR code. The content could also be changed based on the country it is in – for instance the language could automatically be tailored to the country of origin, and the items displayed could be personalised to represent customer preferences in that particular country.


QR codes here to stay 

I think it’s fair to say QR codes are definitely here to stay and they are going to continue to crop up everywhere across the rest of 2022. Although the QR code was born out of a desire to track basic logistical information, it has actually gone on to provide value for almost 30 years and will continue to do so as it keeps adapting and changing to keep up with consumer demands and the digital world. There’s no doubt that QR codes are going to continue to adapt and will remain essential for retailers as they continue to add value to consumer facing businesses.