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Retail Renaissance: QR codes redefining customer experience and growth strategies

Meet Jenny Stanley, the visionary Founder and MD of Appetite Creative, leading the charge in innovative B2C marketing and connected packaging solutions. With over two decades… View Article


Retail Renaissance: QR codes redefining customer experience and growth strategies

Meet Jenny Stanley, the visionary Founder and MD of Appetite Creative, leading the charge in innovative B2C marketing and connected packaging solutions.

With over two decades of global sales management experience spanning media, advertising, and creative technology sectors, Jenny has consistently driven forward-thinking strategies, including her commitment to empowering women through initiatives like FemmeNiche. Under Jenny’s leadership, Appetite Creative has become a global leader in transforming customer engagement experiences.

In our conversation with Jenny, she shares insights on leveraging QR codes to revolutionise business strategies in today’s digital landscape. Jenny dives into their diverse applications, from authentication and traceability to gamification and sustainability initiatives.

Backed by real-world examples and success stories, Jenny’s expertise offers invaluable guidance for businesses seeking to capitalize on QR codes to drive growth, enhance customer engagement, and maintain a competitive edge.

Unlocking the Power of QR Codes: 8 Innovative Ways to Transform Your Business

By Jenny Stanley

In the fast-paced world of tech, QR codes have emerged as versatile tools that can revolutionise the way businesses interact with their customers. I have witnessed first-hand the myriad of ways in which QR codes are helping brands to reshape customer experiences, inform marketing campaigns and impact business strategies.

Packaging featuring QR codes is extremely targeted marketing. It’s a direct gateway to a customer who has already bought the product or is in the store aisle about to buy something similar. Most consumables are never decanted so the packaging it’s bought in becomes part of the consumer’s ongoing engagement and experience with the product and the brand.

There are eight key uses for QR codes which I seen consistently contribute to the evolution of customer engagement and business growth, they include:


  1. Authentication & traceability: One of the most fundamental uses of QR codes is in the authentication processes. From securing digital transactions to accessing exclusive content, businesses can use QR codes to verify the identity of users, ensuring a secure and seamless experience. This not only safeguards customer information but also enhances trust in the brand. This is particularly popular with luxury brands to discourage copies or imitations of expensive items such as whiskey and face creams.
  2. Gamification & competitions: Injecting an element of fun into the customer journey is a powerful way to boost engagement. QR codes can be integrated into gamified experiences, such as quizzes, competitive games with a leaderboard, AR filters to share on social media, or loyalty programs, turning routine interactions into exciting adventures. This not only captivates customers but also fosters a sense of loyalty and enjoyment.Interactive games delivered via connected packaging can help brands glean a unique and in-depth picture of consumer behaviour. This insight can be invaluable, assisting brands to better understand their target audiences, but also reach them more efficiently, building valuable engagement, delivering untold value to both customers and brands.
  3. Customer Loyalty: Building and maintaining customer loyalty is a perpetual challenge for businesses. QR codes offer a solution by facilitating loyalty programs that reward customers for their continued support. Whether through discounts, exclusive offers, vouchers or early access to new products, QR codes can be the key to nurturing long-term relationships with customers.From games and competitions, vouchers and prizes, data collection and information sharing, connected packaging offers a sticky experience which encourages customer loyalty and repeat visits, and delivers a direct interactive relationship between brands and their customers.Last summer we had our most successful connected packaging campaign ever with a popular dairy food and beverages brand. The campaign looked to raise awareness of a milk and fruit drink range as families returned to school and offices in September. The results were outstanding – with over 97k scans and 9.9k Registrations. Over 8.5k took selfies with 3.2k sharing them on social media.
  4. Inclusivity: QR codes play a crucial role in making information accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities. By incorporating QR codes into signage, product labels, or menus, businesses can provide audio descriptions, translations, videos, magnifying glass and other accessibility features, ensuring that their offerings are inclusive and cater to a diverse audience.QR codes also serve as a direct gateway to detailed product information. Rather than overwhelming packaging with excessive details, companies can include a QR code for customers to scan and access comprehensive information about the product. This empowers customers to make informed decisions, enhancing their overall satisfaction.
  5. Customer education & sustainability: One major area for customer education we’re seeing lots of requests for is sustainability. Brands want to use QR codes to educate their customers on eco-friendly practices. By linking QR codes to informative content about sustainable sourcing, manufacturing processes, and recyclability, companies can empower their customers to make environmentally conscious choices.Connected packaging is a valuable tool to explain to customers how to be responsible and sustainable, eradicating confusion. People like to recycle things, but they don’t often know how or which bin to put it in, having that information inside the packaging can really help with the educational work. It’s something that consumers will start looking for on packaging, in a similar way to nutrient information, they’ll start to look for details about how to best recycle the product.A recent survey we carried out showed that connected packaging is deemed increasingly important as a sustainable way to connect with and educate customers (57%) and it is perceived by almost half (44%) to be becoming the main route to communicate directly with customers. Increased sustainability pressures on packaging producers and the introduction of new EU packaging laws have positively impacted the perceived value of connected packaging.

    One example is our work with Elopak’s new aluminium-free carton which Don Simon has recently started using for its beverages. We were able to raise awareness of the new aluminium free carton, personalise the experience by product type, test customer knowledge and address the gaps and drive sales. All while identifying ambassadors for the brand. We saw an average dwell time of two minutes and 46 seconds, 14% scan rate and 60% registration.

  6. Understand your customers: Understanding customer preferences is invaluable for tailoring products and services. QR codes can be strategically employed to gather customer feedback and preferences, providing businesses with valuable insights into their target audience. This data can then be utilised to refine marketing strategies and enhance the overall customer experience.QR codes facilitate efficient data collection, allowing businesses to learn more about their customers. By encouraging users to scan codes for exclusive content, promotions, or surveys, companies can gather demographic information and behavioural patterns. This knowledge is instrumental in crafting targeted marketing campaigns and improving customer relations.
  7. Recycling Returns: In a world grappling with environmental challenges, QR codes can be integrated into deposit return systems or recycling initiatives. By scanning a code on a product, customers can access information on proper disposal methods or participate in recycling programs. This not only promotes corporate responsibility but also encourages a culture of sustainability among consumers.Deposit return schemes offer significant benefits, such as promoting reuse and waste reduction. However, challenges arise from storage and logistical issues faced by supermarkets. Financial incentives provided may not be sufficient to drive meaningful consumer behaviour change. An alternative idea proposed by soft drink companies is where bottle return bins would be placed in schools and children could collect and return the bottles, with the proceeds benefiting the schools. This approach combines recycling with environmental education and provides a more appealing incentive to encourage participation.
  8. Have Direct Conversations with Customers: As Google begins the removal of third-party cookies, the need for first party data has never been stronger. QR codes open up a direct line of communication between businesses and customers. By linking codes to chatbots, feedback forms, or customer support channels, companies can initiate real-time conversations with real customers. This personalised interaction not only enhances customer satisfaction but also provides valuable opportunities for data collection, better understanding product preferences, addressing concerns and building a strong rapport among other benefits.Brands that effectively integrate connected packaging solutions, via QR codes, into their strategies will be well-positioned to meet evolving consumer demands and drive future growth. As brands navigate this dynamic landscape, embracing innovation and leveraging data analytics will be key to unlocking the full potential of connected packaging and creating a more sustainable future.QR codes are not just black-and-white squares; they are dynamic tools that can transform the way businesses engage with their customers. From authentication to fostering sustainability, these codes are shaping the future of customer interactions. As businesses continue to adapt to the evolving landscape of commerce, incorporating QR codes into their strategies is a forward-thinking move that can unlock a world of possibilities.

    To find out more, reach out to Appetite Creative.

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