QR Code Effectiveness

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QR Code-Consumer Usage

People are using QR codes in innovative ways: to make payments, to obtain unique information like the GMO information, and to interact with the website and with other users, like the “Snapcode” of Snapchat.

Payments by scanning QR codes

  • Description: “QR code payments” allow merchants to receive payments from customers by merely scanning generated QR codes.
  • Why are they used like payment method: In the client’s side, QR code payments are faster and more secure.
  • In the merchant’s side, QR code payments allow businesses transactions in all kind of platforms such as mobile or any other hardware.
  • Moreover, QR payments began in China with the Alibaba group in 2013, registering in April 2016 over 175 million transactions per day using this payment method.
  • Big companies like Starbucks partnered with Wechat to receive QR payments in China, then countries like Japan, India, Switzerland, and the US joined to the use of this kind of payment between 2018-2019.
  • When do people use QR codes to make payments: People use this payment method when wants to acquire a product of retailers like Walmart or small companies that permit this payment type.

Use of QR codes to offer extra “special” information.

  • Description: The use of QR code is like a “digital information portal” for unique information the food that is going to be bought.
  • It talks about the GMO (Genetically modified organisms) information.
  • It in the US law for food merchants to place the GMO of their products since November 2016.
  • Why are they used to offer extra information: The QR codes like “digital information portals” are used by people who want to know exactly what they eat, because over half of Americans are worried about bio-engineered food.
  • In a study performed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2017 was determined that 62% of interested consumers enjoy the right to a digital food disclosure.
  • Moreover, currently, big brands like PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Nestle, Hershey, and Colgate use QR codes to offer extra information to their clients.
  • When people use QR codes to know extra information about one product: The use of QR to acquire extra information is used when people are worried about the GMO ingredients that they are going to buy.

Use of QR codes to interact in Social Media websites (Facebook, Snapchat…)

  • Description: The QR codes are used in social media to different features like add friends, called “snapcode” on Snapchat, unlock filters and animated lenses or open Discover channel on Snapchat, or create your QR code to link any website you like.
  • Why are they used to interact in social media: The use of QR codes currently in social media, allows a faster connection with other people’s profiles, or with another website, and this innovative use being expanded more and more.
  • The number of Snapchat users increased in 2015, and one year later, after the launch of Snapcode, followers of Snapchat increased to 46.2 million.
  • In 2016, Snapchat introduced an inbuilt QR Code scanning feature, and in 2017 the number of users increased to 70.4 million.
  • When do people use QR codes to interact in social media: People use QR to interact in social media, when they need to add a new friend or to recommend a new website to another friend.
  • Furthermore, they use QR codes when they need to save time doing these things.

Research Strategy

We started the research by getting access to Scanova, a professional website that specializes in the QR code generation by several tools. With the use of the app, it was possible obtain information about the current ways of the use of QR codes. However, it was necessary to enter in other reliable websites like Easy pay, Food And Wine, USDA and Mashable to corroborate and support the information that was found in Scanova.

Easy pay corroborated the information about the use QR code like payment method. Food and Wine and the USDA websites corroborated the information about the use of QR codes like “Digital information portals.” Mashable corroborated the information about the use of QR codes to interact in social media.
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QR Code Consumer Action

Approximately 4% of all consumer transactions around the globe are completed through the use of QR codes. While QR codes are most commonly used in China and Japan, this trend is growing around the world because it offers speed, simplicity and security in transactions.


  • China has quickly adopted the use of QR codes, including in the management of social networks. The popularity of QR codes in China, mainly comes from the ease of using them, compared to shopping, searching websites, or obtaining additional information about a product manually.
  • According a report published by Alipay in April 2016, the company registered more than 175 million QR code transactions per day that month.
  • In China, many companies use QR code scanning as payment methods, and they are popular because they offer speed and security. Tencent Holdings, Alibaba Group and Inspiry are among the companies using QR codes in this way
  • Around the world, QR codes are used to simplify transactions.
  • The app WeChat has a built-in QR code reader, which has resulted in widespread support for QR codes where this app is popular.
  • In the U.S., it is estimated that 11 million households will utilize a QR code in 2020.
  • QR codes have been adopted in countries throughout the world, including the U.S., Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, UAE and France.
  • According to Jupiter Research, in 2017, there were an estimated 1.3 billion redeemable QR Codes.


  • Across the world, around 4% of transactions are made using a QR code.
  • China is renowned among users of QR codes, with $1.65 trillion in transactions being completed using QR codes in China in 2016.
  • China is also the leader in terms of the number of people who have scanned a QR code during a shopping trip.
  • Other leading countries in terms of QR code scanning include Japan and the U.S. with Canada and the U.K. trailing behind by a significant margin.
  • Much of the data puts iPhone users at the top with respect to the use of QR codes, with an age range of 25 to 34 years.
  • In 2018, an estimated 3.27 million households obtained a coupon via a QR Code.
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QR Codes-Business Usage

Some ways in which businesses or brands are using QR codes include increasing website traffic, revealing offers and promotions, signing up to newsletters or feedback forms, processing payments, increasing social visibility, and increasing app downloads.


  • QR codes can be used to link to a specific website when scanned.
  • Retailers can add a ‘scan to learn more,’ call to action to create more traffic to a website and to make purchases easier for buyers.
  • As an example, Ralph Lauren has used QR codes in offline ads like posters and magazines with a link to their online store.


  • Retail marketers can link discount coupons and offers to the QR code and also use an advertising slogan or tagline that attracts customers to scan it.
  • For example, Heinz used QR codes when it launched its environment-friendly packaging, leading customers to an online green trivia quiz.


  • QR Codes can be used to link sign-up forms to collect customer contact details while keeping its customer updated.
  • They can also be used to link feedback forms that help understand customer behavior.
  • One example is Nissan, who placed QR codes on vehicle window stickers so users can access product-related information, like key features, product overview videos, accessories, among others.


  • QR codes are used as payment systems to help customers shop easily and make payments without the use of cash.
  • Walmart and Target were the first to use QR codes for facilitating quick cashless payment systems.


  • QR codes can be linked to any company's social media profile, which can help the company to gain likes, shares, and subscribers.
  • For example, eat24hours has used a QR code to invite their customers to like their Facebook page.


  • By linking QR codes to an app download page, brands can effectively encourage and grow the number of downloads.
  • Instagram and Angry Birds have both used QR codes to get more app downloads.


From Part 02
  • "In 2013, Alibaba group’s e-wallet, Alipay, allowed users to make payments by scanning a QR Code. According to April 2016 stats published by the company, Alipay recorded over 175 million transactions per day."
  • "Huge credit goes to both Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group of China for the growth of QR Codes."
  • "In China, however, as well as Japan (where they originated) and increasingly South-East Asia, QR codes are seen as everyday and commonplace: a quick and seamless way to join the offline world with the online one. "
  • "Their simplistic, un-technical nature and their ease of creation have ensured their popularity in Asia – whereas in the west, they are the reasons that QR codes are regarded as gimmicky, unsophisticated and annoying."
  • "QR (Quick Response) codes are starting to pick up steam among the growing smartphone-browsing crowd – a statistic that has marketers brimming with creative ideas and promotions. "
  • "This recent increase in awareness of QR Codes via payment transactions will allow consumers to interact with QR Codes for other purposes as well—getting information, availing an offer, registering for an event, etc."
  • "According to a 2015 survey by TNS Infratest and Google, the Chinese also lead in the percentage of people who have scanned a QR Code while shopping. "
  • "These QR Code statistics show that not only is QR Code scanning rampant in 2018 but also rapidly growing. If you’re a marketer planning to run a print campaign globally or even locally, add a QR Code. Your target audience will scan it."
  • "Today, businesses can use QR Codes for marketing opportunities. From providing additional product information to bringing ads to life or directing customers to a landing page, QR Codes are officially making a comeback in 2019."