QR Codes: The Comeback Kids

Labeltronix QR Codes

How do consumers choose between dozens of brands of beer or wine in a supermarket? Most typically go for the labels that catch their eye. But sometimes you need more information than the manufacturer can fit onto a small label.

Sure, you can pull your phone and Google each product that smiles at you from the shelves. But that’s quite time-consuming. We’ve got some good news for both buyers and brands who strive to fit in a lot of information on their labels without using 8pt font: QR codes are back, and this time it seems like they’re here to stay.

Didn’t catch them when they were first popular 10 years ago? Here’s a quick refresher.

What Are QR Codes?

QR (Quick Response) codes are matrix barcodes that consist of black squares arranged in various shapes in a square grid. QR codes can be read by imaging devices like cameras and then processed to show the information they were programmed with or to lead the user to a certain web address embedded in the code.

For example, if you pull up your phone’s camera app, point it at this code, most phones will automatically take you to the Labeltronix homepage.

Labeltronix Homepage

QR codes were invented in 1994 by a Japanese automotive company and they were initially used to track car parts. Since then, they have been adopted by almost every industry. They had some time in the sun in the 2010s but were quickly forgotten.

And now, it seems like they are set for a major comeback, a comeback that’s been somewhat quickened by the pandemic. Since almost every mobile user has a QR code reader on their phone and they can use it without having to download any other app, they are once again popular.

Today, QR codes are increasingly used in the hospitality field, where users can scan a code and access the menu instead of having a printed menu passed from hand to hand and in the labeling industry.

Curious how you can use QR codes to enhance your labels? Let’s find out!

How Can You Use QR Codes on Your Labels?

Any label for any product can benefit from QR codes. But there are certain industries where QR codes can help manufacturers sell more just by adding information that wouldn’t have fit the label otherwise.

First and foremost, there’s the cannabis industry. In such heavily regulated industry, there are countless things that you must mention on your label. The biggest problem is its size. Cannabis products typically come in small packages and label space is at a premium. You can read more about cannabis label compliance here

Other fields that face similar issues, but for different reasons are the wine, beer, and spirits industries. While regulations aren’t as strict in these fields, the competition is pretty high, so any differentiating factor matters. 

When you create a new type of craft beer or when your wine or spirit are truly special, you want to make that pop in the eyes of the consumer from the first encounter. But, again, limited label space makes it hard. 

This is where QR codes come into play. Check out some ideas on how to use QR codes on labels for products that truly need to stand out from the crowd.

1. Showcase Your Brand Values and Personality

Are your products fun, quirky, and casual—or elegant and exclusive? Add a link to your website or to a fun YouTube video to get consumers hooked from the very first time they lay eyes on your products.

Communicating your brand values can be done visually, through the label design. But it can be more effective to play around with more formats—not everyone digests and understands information the same way. 

2. Give Details on Your Fabrication Process

Does your beer use a special type of hops? Are the grapes for your wine harvested by hand processed in a unique way to enhance their flavor? Do your cannabis products contain a special blend of active ingredients?

You may not have the space to tell the full story on the label. But you can certainly do it in a video or on a web page that’s embedded in a QR code printed on your label. A simple CTA like “Scan the QR code below to learn more” will show that you care about consumers’ right to be informed.

3. Build Long-Lasting Relationships with Your Customers

QR codes can do more than influence buying decisions in a supermarket. Perhaps not everyone will have the time to scan them at the shelf.

But once they are home and they enjoy a glass of wine or a beer, they have the time to learn more about your brand. When it’s easy to learn more about a product you like and the company behind it, people are more prone to do so. Otherwise, it takes too long to squint at the URL printed on the can or the bottle and punch it in letter by letter on your phone.

Thus, you can use the QR codes to send customers to your website, where you can prompt them to subscribe to your newsletter or to your social media profiles that they can follow. A pretty simple and fun way to win repeat customers, right?

Are QR Codes Right for Your Labels?

At Labeltronix, we specialize in helping our customers choose the right label for their products. We know that no two products have the same needs when it comes to labeling, so we are always happy to consult with our clients and recommend the best solution for each product.

Let’s talk about your needs and we’d be happy to advise on using QR codes or other solutions.

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