How To Print QR Codes on Your Product LabelsJuly 7, 2011
Have you noticed the cool-looking black and white square-shaped barcodes appearing more and more often on food and beverage labels, on signs, in magazines, and so on? QR Codes are growing in popularity – here’s how you can print your own QR Code label.
First, a little background: What are QR Codes?
“QR Codes,” short for Quick Response Codes, are small, square, two-dimensional barcodes. In comparison to traditional barcodes, the 2D QR Codes allow larger amounts of data to be encoded and scanned faster. QR codes were originally created to be read by barcode scanners. Today, marketers are embracing smartphone apps which can scan QR Codes, read hyperlinks, and bring the user directly to a web location where web pages, videos, and other rich online content can be viewed. QR codes allow marketers to store and share large amounts of information, including coupons, contact information, physical addresses, and URLs, all of which open up in the web browser of a mobile phone.
Eric Anderson, QuickLabel Upper Midwest District Manager, has seen a growth in the use of QR codes on his customer’s product labels. “I like to call labels with QR codes or Microsoft Tags ‘perpetual interactive marketing billboards’ that can be applied to most any product!” said Anderson.
Here’s How You Can Begin Using QR Codes on Your Own Product Labels:
Step #1: Go to an online QR Code generator such as Kaywa
Step #2: Follow the screen prompts to enter a text message or hyperlink in the content box (this is the information that will be encoded in the QR Code)
Step #3: Generate the QR Code on screen
Step #4: Download and Save the QR Code as an image to your computer
Step #5: Open Custom QuickLabel software and add the QR Code to your label format as a graphic image, or add the image to your label design in Adobe® Photoshop,® Adobe Illustrator,® or in any other software you use to design and print labels
Step #6: Print your label as usual, using any label printer. May I recommend the QuickLabel Kiaro!, Pronto!, or QLS-4100 Xe?
How You Can Benefit by Printing a QR Code on Your Label
QuickLabel’s Eric Anderson shared a few of his ideas with us:
- Private Label Wine: Imagine having private labeled wine bottle for a wedding with a QR Code on it. That code could launch a YouTube video of the couple thanking the guests for attending – or perhaps launch a slide show that guests could converse about. This would be a value added benefit that could be provided by wine bottlers.
- Food Companies: Print a label with a QR Code that can be scanned for a “Recipe of the Month” by customers. The QR code could point to a web page that could be updated with new recipes as often as one would like, making that same container, sitting on the shelf, a perpetual marketing tool.
- Industrial Manufacturers: Product training videos could be launched right from the product label – assuring proper usage and reducing training costs.
- Cosmetics Companies: Customer testimonial videos showing the product being used could help sell a product on the spot while the customer is at the point of purchase in the store.
A Brief History of QR Codes
QR codes originated in Japan in 1994 thanks to Denso Wave, a manufacturer of barcodes and 2D code scanners. Toyota was one of the first companies to use QR codes to track vehicle parts in vehicle manufacturing. Today, QR codes are still used in manufacturing, but now they are also being used on product packaging because they are such an easy and convenient means of bringing consumers to an online site.
The spread of mobile phone technology has propelled the use of QR codes since smartphones are equipped to scan QR codes through their cameras and phone applications. “I do not believe QR Codes have hit critical mass yet … but with the ubiquitous use of smart phones by a growing segment of the population, it will surely do so soon,” said Anderson.
Looking for QR Code Scanning Apps for your Smartphone?
Each smartphone has its own set of QR scanner apps to go along with it.
Android Phone QR Scanners:
Mashable so kindly put together 7 free QR Code Reader Apps for Android. The 7 apps include:
- Barcode Generator/Reader
- ScanLife Barcode Reader
- QuickMark QR Code Reader
- I-nigma Barcode Scanner
- QR Droid
- Barcode Scanner
- mobiScan QR
Apple iPhone QR Scanners:
- NeoReader (Free)
- Barcode (Free)
- ScanLife (Free)
Blackberry Phone QR Scanners:
BlackBerry has what is called BlackBerry App World, where BlackBerry users can go download and buy applications for their phones. BlackBerry offers both free and priced applications. Some of the QR readers include:
- QR Code Scanner Pro (Free)
- QR Code Now
- QR Scanner
How and Where QR Codes Are Currently Used
Food Packaging: QR codes are being used on food labels and food packaging. Hyperlinks within these codes can lead consumers to recipes, nutritional facts, discount codes, etc. Recently, Kellogg launched the “It’s Morning Somewhere” marketing campaign for its Crunch Nut cereal that includes an on-package QR code that its consumers can scan with their mobile phones while eating their breakfast! When the QR code is scanned, consumers are brought to a mobile site where the slogan “It’s Morning Somewhere” appears and one of 13 promotional videos is played depending on the time of day.
In comparison to the older SMS mobile marketing technology, the “It’s Morning Somewhere” QR Code campaign has been a smashing success. Thus far, there have been 40,000 Crunchy Nut QR scans, 38,000 videos played, and 50,000 page views – very impressive when company to just 6,000 SMS texts.
Restaurant Uses of QR Codes: The Colonial House Restaurant and Bar in Rapid City, SD uses QR codes on its menus and table tents. Patrons can scan the codes to see daily specials, promotions, and beer and drink offerings and can even be linked to the restaurants social media pages. Colonial House also advertises using QR codes on advertisements at local rest-stops, perfect for attracting travelers in the area looking for a place to eat.
Crime Fighting Uses of QR Codes: Vancouver police recently used QR code technology to generate tips on a wanted assaulter. Police distributed over 300 posters with QR codes in bathroom stalls around the city. When the QR code is scanned by patrons using their smartphones, they are brought to information about the wanted person. The information that is presented includes composite sketches of the attacker and detailed descriptions of their car.
Using QR Codes to Make a Purchase: Starbucks recently introduced a secure QR code payment system for iPhone, BlackBerry and Android phones that allows customers to pay for their purchases using their phones. This move put Starbucks on the map as the only large-scale coffee company with mobile payment capabilities. Just nine weeks after its launch in 2011, Starbucks processed more than 3 million mobile payments.
Selling Real Estate with QR Codes: Realtors are even using QR codes to sell homes. In Rapid City, South Dakota homes that are on the market have QR Codes displayed in a window. Interested home buyers can scan the code with their mobile phone and they will be taken to a unique page made specifically for that home. The website contains information such as photos, floor plans, neighborhood information and so on. Realtors found that the QR codes allow them to provide more information than a typical listing or flyer in the local paper.