Why Consumers Aren't Scanning Your QR Codes

A new report explores why some brands aren't seeing the QR Code engagement they need.

September 25, 2023

QR codes can be highly effective in engaging and exciting consumers — keeping them connected with your brand. However, when QR best practices aren't followed, the codes can lead to low scan rates and a negative brand experience.

A new QR Usage Report from Blue Bite finds a few reasons scan rates may be lower than expected.

Importantly, we'll also explore how to improve consumer engagement with your connected products.

Why QR Codes Have Low Scan Rates

Your QR Codes Are Not Prominent

Just because you have a QR code on the package does not mean it is clearly placed — or enticing enough for consumers to scan.

Hidden QR Codes

A recent Blue Bite study found that a majority of QR codes on all product categories in Europe were hidden — meaning they could not be easily seen when looking at the product.

While consumers may pick up a product if they are interested, if the label does not catch their eye or entice them enough, they will not pick it up — and therefore, never see the QR code.

No Clear CTA

Even if your QR codes are clearly visible, if consumers see one but do not know what it’s for, it’s likely they will just pass over it.

The recent study also found that the wine and spirits sector has the highest QR code usage across different categories in Europe, with nearly 25% of products having a QR code. However, 66.1% of those products do not have a CTA. This figure is even higher for the apparel industry, with 75% of apparel QR codes lacking a CTA.

Hidden QR codes or those without a clear CTA lead to many missed opportunities for connection.

Instead, brands should place QR codes — or wording indicating there is a code — prominently on the label, packaging or on a hang tag or sticker. This should be coupled with a clear, concise CTA that entices them with what they will gain if they scan — whether it’s “Play and win here!”, “Scan for 10% off," “Learn about our sustainability initiatives” or whatever the best CTA is for the brand.

You Are Not Engaging Consumers With the Content They Want

Your QR codes may also fall short if they don’t engage consumers with relevant content they want to see.

QR codes historically have simply linked to static web pages — like a company’s homepage. But this does not deliver the most relevant content to consumers.

According to the report on QR code usage:

  • Over 25% of QR codes in all categories led to the brand’s homepage.
  • Roughly 10% of wine and spirits and apparel QR codes had a broken link — rendering them ineffective.

Linking a consumer to a brand’s home page does is necessarily relevant to the consumer or the product they hold, nor does it do anything to establish engaging, lasting connections. It's obviously even worse when the QR leads to a broken link.

After the brand’s homepage, product information was the next highest-linked category across wine and spirits and health supplements. While a brand may link the consumer to product information, this is not necessarily done in the most effective manner.

For example, if you were to scan a QR code on a bottle of wine and it linked to a static page with much of the same information you could already find on the bottle, it falls flat — and again, does nothing to form a continued connection with the consumer.

The most effective QR codes help brands make sales and form lasting connections by giving value beyond the product packaging — with additional product information, behind-the-scenes, brand vision and story info, coupons and other purchase incentives and more.

How To Create the Most Effective QR Codes That Excite and Engage Consumers

Consumers crave storytelling, promotions, sustainability and multifunctional information — all in one place. Create effective QR codes that are dynamic, entice consumers to scan, and go above and beyond linking to a static web page. Learn more about how to create effective CTAs for QR codes.

Blue Bite empowers brands to create the most effective QR codes that continually engage consumers. As the top connected products platform company, Blue Bite makes it easy to enable products with dynamic mobile Experiences, which are personalized at scale — brands manage the content and Experience directly in the Blue Bite platform rather than building many individual pages. 

While scan rates may be low for some companies — either due to the fact that they are hidden and/or there is not a clear CTA  — many brands may not even know their scan rate, as they do not have a way to evaluate their QR code usage, behavior or insights.

Brands are much more equipped to tailor their QR code experience and continually ensure its effectiveness when they are empowered with engagement analytics and metrics like those Blue Bite has built into the platform.

Gone are the days of missed consumer connections due to QR codes that fall flat. With Blue Bite, your Experiences are powered to have continuous engagement that excites and delights. You also gain powerful insights on your campaigns — so you can continually tailor them to be the most effective and keep building those powerful connections.


Learn even more about the state of Connected Products today.

Download our Connected Products U.S. Trend Report to:

  • Find out why 57% of consumers are more likely to buy if they have learned about it or accessed services through packaging
  • A majority of consumers want to learn more about the brand through connected products
  • Learn why consumers feel they are contacted too often by brands and that it's not always relevant
  • And much more!

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