QR codes on Cartons – Hinderance or Help for Enhancing Customer Experience?

QR code being scanned

Quick Response (QR) codes on Packaging

This article looks at QR codes and discusses whether or not they are a good idea to use on your packaging. In an article about QR codes on the website of the Irish owned Puca company, the author states that QR codes are enjoying a revival, coming back from being “on the brink of extinction” becoming “a key building block in intelligent mobile commerce and marketing”.

What is a QR code?

A Quick Response (QR) code is traditionally an array of black and white squares printed on packaging or other materials. Usually the QR code will link directly to a webpage with more information on a product, service or event. It’s purpose is to allow a consumer to get additional information about the product or to engage with the products brand owner in some way. Therefore after scanning the code the user will usually be brought to the brand owners’ website or another website that contains this extra information or facilities that they are seeking.

Origin of QR codes

QR codes were invented by the Tesla subsidiary, Denso Wave to track the stages of the car manufacturing process. The original square 2 dimensional codes were much faster to scan than the traditional barcode.

While QR codes became popular initially, consumers lost interest in using them as they needed to download a scanner onto their mobile phones in order to scan a QR codes. The author asserts that this added task meant that consumers stopped trying to use QR codes and reverted to a web browser search or searched for the product information using the products social media hashtags.

Improvements in QR digital technology means QR codes can enhance company and customer experience.

The author says that thanks to improvements in the digital technology used in QR codes, more companies are beginning to ramp up their use of QR codes. He states that this is due to the “intelligence” that is now built into QR codes. QR codes give brands a way to increase sales because the QR codes are personalised and “unique” to that particular user. Once a user has scanned a product’s QR code, this can trigger certain marketing events, directed at the user, such as allocating customer reward points, or trigger relevant social media updates or time or location-specific interactions.

Fyffes Example of QR Codes Usage

The author gives an example of the successful use of a QR campaign used on packaging by Irish produce company, Fyffes. Fyffes used a QR codes on their special Freddy Fyffes promotional packaging. Consumers could use their smartphones to scan the QR code and this allowed the consumer to redeem a free kids ticket to Dublin Zoo. If consumers were using the Freddy Fyffes app, they could share the promotion on Facebook at the same time.

This promotion used Puca trademarked digital voucher platform, known as SmartKode. The benefits of using the QR code in this campaign was that it allowed the brand to create a relationship with the consumer, it reduced redemption costs and gave Fyffes the ability to respond to individual consumer actions and overall campaign outcomes. Each QR code is unique and can be used only only, thereby providing a proof of purchase to the brand.


Another company that produce QR codes are Galway-based company Codacast. They create, design and manages promotional campaigns for its clients using ‘QR Codes’ with added Facebook-shareability. Mark White, CEO & Founder of Codacast comments as follows: “The scanning metrics provide our clients with the ability to monitor the performance of each code and calculate their Return on Investment on a code-by-code or campaign basis,”

In addition QR codes can now include the logo of the company, advertise the company via a Facebook post and include colours.

QR Codes Usage in the US

New federal regulations that come into force in mid – 2018 mean that all consumer packaging goods (CPG) packaging must be compliant with certain nutrition panel information regulations. This is pushing many manufacturers to add QR codes to their packaging in order to be able to provide enough nutrition information to meet requirements. This will mean that not all the required information needs to be fitted onto the packaging as this information is available digitally to the consumer via the QR code on the packaging. You can read more about this in an article on the Packaging Digest Website.


The author concludes that why some brands are still wary of QR codes, this fear is beginning to wane as other companies success in using QR codes becomes evident.

Talk to Dollard Packaging if you would like to discuss any aspect of your packaging.

You can read the full article here.