QR Codes: A New Frontier of Product Labeling

It has been said that in food retailing 50 per cent of the time that a product is taken off the shelf, the shopper will buy it. This means that on-product labels are a very important component of success. But how do you make a label pretty enough to attract a shopper, considering how much information must be included, from product details to corporate information?

For experienced packagers who want the shopper to see at least some of their product, it is difficult to imagine creating a label containing more than the minimum necessary information. And, of course once information has been printed on a label, it is quite literally stuck there for the shelf life of the product, and changing information can require a full recall. With the latest craze, however, we can now fit a customized QR (abbreviated from Quick Response) code onto almost any label. As for additional content, possibilities are nearly limitless, including not only text but visuals and even video.

For those unfamiliar, QR codes are a two-dimensional code commonly ranging from 10 to 114 alphanumeric characters and consisting of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background readable by dedicated QR readers, 'smartphones,' and computers with webcams, creating a dynamic tool that can be changed as new information becomes available as well as providing a new solution for coupon or multi-informational labeling. However, being a dynamic tool means that content has to up-dated regularly: if QR codes don't provide continuing value to shoppers, they will be left wondering why they bothered scanning a label for so little benefit. Simply linking to a homepage, for instance, offers little value. Whatever web page the code links to should be specific to the product, endowed with information that’s interesting and timely.

In the food retailing world, this means that when a product on the shelf is scanned, the shopper could see the latest reviews excerpted from magazines, or news about awards or charity functions where the product has been presented, or even about celebrity endorsements. All of these can become selling points, when presented in the right context.

Information is one thing QR codes can provide to consumers, but they can also be incentives; engaging shoppers who may be interested in rewards or directing them to contests and redemption codes, creating a traceable code that would make it easier to track the effectiveness of the labeling. To keep each QR code up-to-date, we at Precision Label and Tag Inc., work closely with a content management system partner, who can create QR codes to each client's particular needs.

At Precision, our long-term goal is for shoppers to come to expect something worthwhile hiding behind each QR code they see so that they will be enticed to take that product off the shelf, scan it and see a wonderful presentation...made for them!

- Brian Weller, President of Precision Label and Tag Inc.

Brian Weller is the President of Precision Label and Tag. To learn more about his business and their services, visit their website here: http://www.precisionlabel.ca/