3 ways entrepreneurs are using QR codes to connect with customers
- Kim Kardashian released an ad in December for her brand, Skkn by Kim, that included a QR code.
- Kardashian is one of many entrepreneurs using QR technology in their marketing strategies.
QR codes are reemerging as tools for business owners, and now entrepreneurs like Kim Kardashian are using the barcodes for growth and outreach.
Kardashian released an ad campaign this month for her skincare line, Skkn by Kim, which featured QR codes designed to connect "with our consumers, driving purchases and measuring the impact of the campaign with real-time analytics," she told Digiday. Meanwhile, other entrepreneurs are tapping the tech to direct customers to sign up for brand emails, follow Instagram accounts, and watch related videos.
While the technology isn't new — the codes have been used since 1994 — the number of US smartphone users scanning a QR code is expected to increase from 83.4 million in 2022 to 99.5 million in 2025, Insider Intelligence reported. Additionally, QR codes saw a resurgence in the pandemic, as businesses used them for contactless payment or instead of physical menus.
Three small-business owners share how entrepreneurs can use QR codes to grow their brands.
Bring in customers and retain valuable info
In Kardashian's campaign, the QR code leads users to the Skkn website, where they're prompted to subscribe to its email list to get 10% off their next online purchase.
"Our goal with this campaign was to meet customers where they are to drive brand conversions and capture CRM for the brand," Kardashian told Digiday, referring to customer-relationship management.
Many business owners are using emails and text messages as methods of CRM. The strategy of capturing a customer's email, phone number, and other information is essential for a company's success and sustainability, Michael Burke, the founder of SMS-marketing startup Curated, said.
"The only thing that a business owns is their website, their email list, and their SMS list," he added. "Everything else is rented. You're renting space on Facebook; you're renting space on TikTok."
Give customers recurring support
Erin Robertson, the winner of season 15 of "Project Runway" and founder of the clothing brand An-Erin, launched a dip-nail kit in 2021. On the inside of each box is a QR code that directs customers to a YouTube tutorial where they can learn how to master the tricky technique, Robertson said.
She created the brand as a way for customers to get their nails done when salons were closed earlier in the pandemic, so the video tutorials serve as bonus content and nail-design guidance, she added.
The QR code can be rescanned every time a customer is doing their nails, eliminating the need to save it, which is why it's printed on the box next to the nail tools.
Turn interested shoppers into followers of the brand
QR codes can also be used to introduce shoppers to brands.
That's how Abby Price, the founder of the home-goods brand Abbode, and Alyssa Coscarelli, the founder of the curated-collaboration platform Infinite, used the codes at their 2022 New York Fashion Week pop-up.
The pop-up included a collection of fashion, wellness, and home-goods items, each with a QR code that directed shoppers to the brand's Instagram account.
While a pop-up creates a special experience, the duo wanted to use technologies like QR to encourage customers to connect with participating brands online, Coscarelli said.
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