QR (Quick Response) codes are much talked about at the moment, but will the adoption of such a simple yet powerful code change the landscape of digital marketing in 2011? 

Here are ten ways that QR codes could be implemented into businesses, whether B2B or B2C. You will have heard of some of these, but i’m sure there are a few you haven’t…

A QR code is one of the easiest codes to set up, as in essence in it is a barcode with a URL attached. The QR code can link to any page the owner specifies, saving the need for manual entry of a URL.

Some brands have already starting adopting QR codes in their editorial and used it in very engaging ways, but 99% of brands haven’t. The potential is there for QR codes though, and their uses are almost unlimited.

Here are ten ways that QR codes could be implemented into business:

Till receipts

Placing a QR code on the bottom of a till receipt has not as far as I have noticed been implemented fully across retail. This is such a simple and cost effective way of engaging with a consumer especially for brands with a mobile savvy demographic.

Product labels

Whether on swing tickets or on the printed product information the QR code could link to a dedicated landing page that brings up all of the product information.

Consumer mailing

Why not place a QR code on the bottom of all printed and digital communication directing to the landing page showing further content or indeed encouraging readers to opt in to electronic mailing rather than postal.

In shop windows  

Direct consumers to your store page for the location allowing them to bookmark the details including opening hours etc.

Public transport

How often do you look at the seat in front of you when on the train?  Why not put a QR code on the back of every seat and sell the advertising space, the great thing is the URL can be changed without the need to re-label the seats. Advertising opportunity also exists on the label.

At conferences 

We all have badges scanned but using QR codes on stands allows potential clients to bookmark your chosen contact details, saving business cards and helping to engage the client.

On business cards 

The humble business card could do with a face lift, why not QR the card and allow a landing page of detail about the business or individual.


On every offline ad, put the QR code to divert to a digital experience or Facebook page.


Every drug sold comes with guidelines, place a QR code on the packaging allowing the patient to quickly view the instructions online.


This one is a little different and tongue in cheek but that’s no bad thing. Print a QR on the back of trunks or bikinis very similar to the year that Aussie Bum print on their swimwear linking to the wearers Facebook profile.

There are a few ideas that I have not put on here because they are probably beyond 2011, like projecting QR codes on buildings as well as placing them on billboards, or councils putting them on penalty notice charges, council tax bills etc, allowing us to go straight to the payment portal.

The above list contains practical uses in digital and offline marketing for QR codes, we’ll see if any come to fruition when I review this post in 2012.