Ecommerce businesses are turning their attention to their packaging as ways to garnish new customers and improve operational cost efficiencies. While many use the opportunity to drive awareness towards their sustainability initiatives, few are utilizing QR codes.
QR Codes, or quick response code, is a matrix style barcode that was brought to the automotive industry in 1994. Today QR codes have become mainstream in a multitude of industries.
Those that do use QR codes are seeing more brand awareness, more sustainable growth, and less friction in their pick-pack-ship processes.
If you’re a brand still not using QR codes, read on to discover how you could be missing out on critical revenue in the near future!
The history of QR codes
QR codes first made their appearance in Japan in an effort to modernize vehicle tracking in production. Being small, discreet, and with the ability to link to an entire URL webpage, QR codes made monumental efficiencies for business owners looking to scale their warehouse practices. QR codes were able to hold simple 1-D data or be 100x denser than most complex barcodes. They also can be updated by the URL, not the printed code itself, and because they can be scanned by smartphones, QR codes are an inexpensive upgrade for many businesses.
They didn’t become utilized in the mainstream population until 2010 when businesses began to turn their QR codes outwards as an experiential way to brand, promote, and provide critical product information directly to their consumers instantly. Then, at the height of the pandemic in 2020, the use of QR codes exploded as restaurants, businesses, and offices went paperless to reduce the transfer of viruses.
Today, the small scannable squares have become common use amongst many ecommerce brands.
QR codes for ecommerce
Ecommerce businesses are seeing enormous value in QR codes. The benefits are wide-ranging and all drive better revenue margins. More importantly, these brands are gaining some of the most sustainable brand awareness out there.
One of the key benefits ecommerce owners are seeing with the use of QR codes is better warehouse management. Because the QR codes use smartphones as a reader, it eliminates the large clunky 1-D barcode scanners. These 1-D barcode scanners don’t hold as much product information and need to be connected to a centrally located computer which often can be difficult in a large, busy warehouse. They also are sturdier than 1-D barcodes, making the QR code harder to have errors or not be able to be read even after small tears or scuffs. With fewer errors in reading the codes, warehouse workers are more efficient and effective in speeding up your pick-pack-ship process.
Another benefit organizations are seeing is better sales and customer data tracking. As the QR codes get placed on boxes and small mailers with the brand’s product, businesses are now able to see important customer information such as when, where, and how they open the package. When an ecommerce business owner can access more of its customers’ habits, it’s able to more efficiently market to them.
Lastly, ecommerce owners that are looking to remain competitive and who are paying attention to their triple bottom line are using QR codes to market their brand in a more eco-friendly way. Without large manuals and many paper coupons being sent out, brands are able to reduce their carbon footprint and their marketing budget.
Future Focused Small to Medium Businesses are using QR codes
As mentioned above the key benefits of using a QR code are wide-ranging. Those small to medium-sized business owners that are growing sustainably are using QR codes to bring more money in the door.
With more efficient warehouse management, QR codes are also benefiting ecommerce business owners who are looking to track their wastage in their production facility and warehouse. Additionally, implementing them into your current processes is not expensive. QR readers can be downloaded for free on most cell phones or iPads. And because QR code readers can read barcodes, only newer items can be QR coded while transitioning older inventory with barcodes out.
QR codes improve all cycles of tracking from warehouse to customer which means optimization in all departments can be iterated on faster. In fact, because they are highly regarded for optimizing cycle counting, nearly all IMS and ERP platforms include some form QR code functions by default.
Future-focused business owners and CTOs will see bigger returns in their revenue from increased customers, increased brand loyalty, more efficient processes, and cleaner evolution of your business as it continues to scale.