How To Improve Sales Promotions With QR Codes

Modern marketing strategies are about engaging with potential customers and making genuine connections. An effective marketing strategy is providing a simple, user-friendly way for customers to get more information about your brand, product, or service—enter QR Codes.

Quick Response (QR) Codes allow all smartphone users to scan the code and access more information through an embedded URL that goes to a specific webpage. They are especially effective with sales promotions. 

In this post, you’ll find industry-specific examples, strategies, and guidance on measuring the success of QR Code-based sales promotions. The versatility and effectiveness of digital marketing strategies that use QR Codes are unmatched when bridging offline and online marketing efforts

Note: Brands discussed below were found during our online research for this article.

Why sales promotions are so important

Sales promotions have been part of sales and marketing strategies for years. Coca-Cola distributed the first-ever coupon in 1887 to increase brand awareness—customers used a voucher to get one free drink from a vending machine. This added up to 8.5 million free drinks (or one in nine Americans). Coca-Cola’s brand recognition persists to this day. 

Imagine if your business could harness a fraction of that brand awareness. With the right sales promotion, you could be the next Coca-Cola, transforming your business into a household name.

But you can do better than a simple coupon. Nowadays, streamlined marketing options offer more bang for your buck. Instead of your sales agents wasting hours handling data, modern solutions free up more time for closing deals.

Level up your sales promotion while streamlining data with one tool—QR Codes. But before we dive into how to improve sales promotions with QR Codes, let’s look at some reasons why sales and promotions are a must for today’s marketers.

Differentiates your brand from competitors

Odds are, there are many businesses like yours offering similar products and services, so why should a customer choose you over your competitor? How can you stand out from the crowd? A sales promotion is an effective strategy to tip the scales in your favor. 

Once a customer interacts with your brand, you can convert them into a loyal customer who will recommend your business to friends and family for years to come. 

Establishes the initial reason for purchases & urgency

Offer a deal that’s too tempting to turn down, and a curious onlooker becomes a paying customer.

A promotion for a product or service enhances the awareness of its value to consumers. This adds a sense of urgency and increases sales. 

According to research, emails that convey a sense of urgency and importance include time-sensitive messaging.  For sales promotions, this means offering customers a deal for a limited time. When customers are afraid of missing out, they’re more likely to buy.

Jump-starts long-term marketing & sales

In competitive markets, it’s tough for new businesses and startups to succeed. A sales promotion gets you into the game. The foundation you build with each customer continues over the long term. 

When planning your promotion, monitor, collect, and analyze the data provided by anyone who interacts with your business. The most valuable insights are from point-of-sale (POS) data. These metrics help you understand your target market. You’ll gain insights into the best methods to reach your ideal customer and the best timing for future sales promotions. 

Takes advantage of current events

Attract new customers by planning sales promotions around current events, times of year, or holidays. Between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, for example, the average American consumer spends about $500. That’s money in your pocket with the right sales promotions. 

Sales promotions, special offers, and giveaways can be effective during many times of the year—not just holidays. During transition seasons, people need to update their wardrobe—such as bathing suits for the summer and winter boots for snowy weather. Parents fork over cash every back-to-school season, and major sporting events always prompt consumer spending. 

The unique benefits of QR Codes in sales promotions

So, how do you integrate QR Codes into sales promotions to elevate your campaign? QR Code Generator PRO is an easy way, offering many Static and Dynamic QR Code types for just about every use case—including sales promotions. 

Let’s explore the unique benefits of QR Codes in sales promotions. 

Example landing of a Coupon QR Code from a photography studio
Example of a Coupon QR Code

Track campaigns easily

During sales promotions, it’s essential to track the results of your campaign. Tracking helps you understand your campaign’s success and what future adjustments are needed. This is super easy with Dynamic QR Codes. 

With codes made with QR Code Generator PRO, you get information about your target consumer—the location of who is using the code by city and country, what time of day the code is scanned, and what device customers are using. Distinguish between unique scans of the code and repeat scans by the same individual. All this tracking data is invaluable for future campaigns. 

A screenshot showing the different scan data available in QR Code Generator PRO
Demo version of QR Code tracking metrics available in QR Code Generator PRO

Update or change the QR Code content effortlessly

With a Dynamic QR Code, you can update and edit the embedded information at any time. This includes the link and altering the type of QR Code used with your sales promotion, such as switching to a PDF QR Code or an Image Gallery QR Code

This flexibility saves time and money. The QR Codes on printed materials or in digital ads stay the same even after changing the embedded information within the code. 

Appeal to both mobile and desktop target audiences

Understanding consumer behavior is the key to successful sales promotions. For example, some of your potential customers research new products and services and make purchases from their mobile devices. Others do this from their computers. 

Adding QR Code marketing to sales promotions reaches both audiences. 

Customers who receive a mobile code through an email, for example, may easily access it from their phone or computer. After scanning the code with their phones, they’re directed to a mobile-friendly landing page. When your site is well-optimized for mobile users, it’s much easier for them to further engage with your content—and your brand!

As a marketing tool, QR Code campaigns can include contact information, a link to a webpage, Amazon or other e-commerce store, or coupons to share promotional deals and discounts for desktop or smartphone users. 

Calculate ROI on print materials

A major challenge of sales promotions is understanding where your paying customers came from, especially if they learned about a sale from print materials. 

This is a problem of the past with QR Codes. Some common examples of printed materials with QR Codes include flyers, brochures, print ads, packaging, displays, and more. You can add QR Codes on posters, billboards, vehicles, windows, clothing—virtually anything!

Once a user engages with the QR Code, you’ll get the same data as digital ads, web banners, e-books, and social media pages.

A physical pamphlet for a gym with a QR Code on it leading to a video about membership
Example of print-based sales promotion with a custom QR Code

Offer unique brand awareness through customization

An overview of QR Code Generator PRO's customization options
Demo of QR Code Generator PRO’s customization features

Like other marketing materials, QR Codes boost brand awareness with customization. Reflect the visual elements that make your brand unique by using the customization features available through generator software. 

You can design your QR Code to feature a custom frame using your brand colors. You could also include your logo and add a call to action to motivate your audience to engage with the QR Code.

Promote across a variety of marketing channels

Once you’ve generated your QR Code, you can use it across a variety of marketing channels, helping your sales promotion reach the maximum number of potential customers. 

A Coupon QR Code is a great addition to a marketing email because it incentivizes customers to scan to take advantage of the discount—boosting your conversions along the way. Display a QR Code on social media pages to connect with customers online quickly. Use a QR Code to share a video from your YouTube channel on printed materials—the sky’s the limit!

And don’t worry about how to keep track of your QR Codes’ performance in your multichannel campaigns. You can track QR Code metrics within QR Code Generator PRO’s analytics feature to help you understand your audience and see which platforms provide the best results for sales promotions. You can use that data to iterate on future campaigns to get better results. 

Examples of industry-specific sales promotion with QR Codes

The type of sales promotion that works best depends on your business. The same is true with QR Code marketing.

Your industry, your product or service, and your target customer help you decide the best QR Code to use. These details also help you decide where to include the QR Code and the embedded link.

For example, one of the most effective sales promotions is the limited-edition item. Take the limited-edition Stanley cups as an example—this product skyrocketed the 100-year-old company’s profits and brand awareness. If consumers are likely to purchase one of your products, promoting a limited-edition version through a QR Code could potentially turn a one-time customer into a repeat customer. 

Let’s take a look at a few more examples of how to integrate QR Codes into sales promotions to help improve the user experience and maximize profits. 

Retail: Boost attendance at a pop-up event

Coupon QR Code on a retail store invitation card
Example of a fashion retailer using QR Codes for sales promotion

A pop-up event is an effective marketing strategy for retail businesses. These are temporary mini-events that pop up in surprise locations to promote the business and its products or services. They usually last no more than a few hours and come with specific promotions and sales opportunities. Even small businesses can benefit from the buzz created by fun pop-up events. 

Include Coupon QR Codes on any event materials and offer an exclusive deal to pop-up guests. Email or print invitations and flyers with the QR Code, and add it to social media posts. 

Anyone who attends the event gets the deal—a highly effective strategy for boosting attendance.

Consumer packaged goods: Drive repeat sales with QR Codes on product packaging

On consumer packaged goods, the QR Code could link to a coupon page while also acting as the 2D barcode for your product packaging. Once the promotion is over, you could update the link to information about the product, video instructions, or other valuable resources.

For example, let’s say a customer makes a purchase and gets a package with a QR Code printed on it. But it’s not just any code—it’s got a CTA that directs the customer to an exclusive discount just for loyal customers. By incorporating the QR Code directly on the package or label, you can effectively target your existing customer base—without additional marketing efforts. This is a win-win that enhances the customer experience and boosts customer loyalty. 

Many products—such as cosmetics, personal hygiene products, and snack foods—encourage repeat customers, because they’re used daily and need replacing more often than other consumer goods (like electronics or houseware). So these frequent replacements are an opportunity to make more sales. When it’s time for the customer to order more of their favorite moisturizer, lipstick, or granola bars, they have a built-in coupon waiting for them through the QR Code.

Hospitality: Get more bookings on luxury rooms over the holidays

QR Code idea on a poster to promote a hotel deal
Example of a QR Code used for hotel sales promotion

Sometimes higher priced rooms can be tricky for hotels to receive bookings for, but they’re highly worth it when they can get them filled. One method would be to try a sales promotion for these special rooms using a Coupon QR Code

You could do this by retargeting users via email who viewed these rooms in the past but decided not to make a purchase, as well as targeting new users on social media or with posters. By offering special holiday promotions, you can target past customers and help maximize booking rates. 

To engage past customers, you could send a promotional email with a special Coupon QR Code offering a limited-time offer on luxury rooms. With the right data, you can target users who have looked at these rooms but haven’t yet booked. 

These consumers have expressed an interest in elevating their stay at your hotel but have hesitated to pull the trigger. Give them a nudge in the right direction with a custom QR Code right to their inbox. 

How to get the most out of marketing campaigns with QR Codes

A QR Code elevates your marketing and sales campaign by engaging more customers. But don’t wait until the campaign is closed to start measuring your success. That process starts before you even generate the QR Code.

1. Define your objective

What do you want to accomplish with your campaign? Would you like to increase your customer base? Make more money on a product or service? Boost the RSVP list to a special event? No matter your objective, defining it from the start helps your campaign run more smoothly. 

2. Decide which type of QR Code works best for your goals

A simple Static URL QR Code that links to a landing page for a special invitation to a webinar might fit the bill, as you won’t need to change it and you’ll primarily be interested in the number of registrations rather than the number of clicks or operating system. 

Or, if you’re directing customers to different seasonal promotions and will need to update the URL with each holiday, a Dynamic URL QR Code might be more effective. This will allow you to make changes as needed and lets you track how customers engage with the link.

When choosing a QR Code generator, make sure it’s a trusted company with a strong reputation in the industry. 

3. Determine where to include the code to maximize reach

If your customers are primarily online, a social media ad on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Instagram works well. To engage with in-store customers, add the QR Code on signs at your retail location or on receipts. You might also try out different versions of the QR Codes to see which performs best—perhaps you use slightly different CTAs or color schemes.

4. Consider the best timing

Look back at your customer data. When is your target audience most likely to open and engage with an email marketing campaign? Use this data to time a targeted email. For in-person shoppers, place a sandwich board with the QR Code outside your store during peak foot traffic hours. The best timing depends on your industry, products and services, and ideal customer.

5. Use the right tools

If you’re using QR Code Generator PRO, you can gain valuable insights into when and where your code was scanned, plus the time and operating system of the devices used. 

If you want even deeper insights into your customer behavior, you can view these metrics alongside data from other analytics tools, like Google Analytics, to see how much time users spend on a particular page and their overall engagement.

6. Follow up and iterate

Put a plan in place to follow up with customers who engage with the QR Code. For example, send a targeted follow-up email to those who opened or clicked through on the first email.

Uncover new opportunities with QR Code promotions

QR Codes are a powerful marketing tool for any business, especially when running sales promotions. By leveraging QR Code promotions, you’re connecting with your target audience in a new way and maximizing user engagement. 

With the right approach, QR Code marketing allows you to address specific sales challenges and reach customers directly. 

With QR Codes, you can create unique promotions that grab customers’ attention and set your promos apart from the competition.

QR Code Generator PRO gives you all the tools you need to boost your next sales promotion. Get started today!

Trupti Desai

Trupti Desai is Bitly’s Senior Director of Growth Marketing. She has over 10 years of experience working in B2B and B2C marketing roles spanning the UK and the US. A key part of the marketing strategy at Bitly, Trupti elevates global teams with her expertise and insights and was notably a speaker at the Digital Marketing World Forum. You can connect with Trupti on LinkedIn.

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