What’s the easiest, most common sense way to boost customer engagement this year?

QR Codes, but doing it the right way.  

I’ve heard all the naysaying about QR Codes. Frankly, it’s coming from a lot of haters who are focused more on what marketers are doing wrong than what they are doing right.

You know where I’ve seen QR Codes in just the last few days?

  • On my Walmart receipt.
  • On the top of my new can of Bar Keeper’s Friend, an all-purpose cleaner and polisher.
  • On my take-out bag from McDonald’s.

All three of the uses above were really well done. If more people focused on those uses, they’d love QR Codes as much as I do.

What did these marketers do right?

Walmart: The QR Code led to the app store where I could download its Saving Catcher app for my phone. Walmart is making a heavy push for this app right now, and it made it easy. It put the opportunity in the right place, at the right time…making it simple to do.

Bar Keeper’s Friend: The QR Code, glued right to the top of the can to cover the pour holes, led to multiple short, mobile-optimized videos showing uses for the product and comparing it to competitors’ products in the same category. The videos were not expensive or high production, just a woman cleaning things in a studio. Not only did they show the product’s performance against its competitors, but they also showed other uses for the product that I might not have thought of.  I have all those problems in my house, so clearly, I need to buy another can — or three.

McDonald’s: The QR Code took me to an easy-to-navigate, mobile-optimized nutrition menu that is now stored on my phone. For people who care about nutrition, this is a super smart way to use QR Codes. I don’t shop for McDonald’s at home. I grab it when I’m on the run with the kids, so using QR Codes to get a mobile version of its nutrition menu in my hands all the time is just a super smart thing to do.

Study after study shows that 30% to 40% of smartphone owners have scanned a QR Code in the past six-to-twelve months. About the same percentages do so right in the store. The more people scan these codes and get significant value from them (that “value” doesn’t have to mean a coupon or discount), the more they’ll use them in the future.