How To Use QR Codes To Enhance Your Brand’s Accessibility

23 March 2022
QR Codes
Forbes Magazine

The last two years have been something of a renaissance for QR codes in Australia. Brands across industries were forced to embrace them to deliver products and services in contact-free ways.

Now that they’re more commonplace, it’s time for brands to implement them more strategically, to not only enable new functionality but also improve customer experience.

Increasingly, we’re seeing brands pay attention to how improving accessibility across touchpoints can make for a better overall customer experience.


Here are five ways brands can leverage QR codes to boost their accessibility:

1. Offer alternative payment methods.

Contactless payment methods offer a clear benefit in pandemic times: safer transactions that are less likely to spread germs. Indeed, in the USA, contactless payments grew by 34% in 2020. Crucially, consumers can fund digital wallet accounts without a traditional bank account or debit card, making them more accessible to the unbanked and underbanked.

QR codes are among the simplest ways for sellers to set up contactless payments and make them available to more consumers. To accept payments through QR codes, merchants can partner with a QR code provider that can help them generate payment codes. Those codes can work with a variety of digital wallet providers, including those connected to devices and services like PayPal. This means digital payments are available to any customer with a smartphone.

2. Empower consumers to access content on their terms.

Being in public is difficult for many people, especially during a pandemic. But even in the absence of a large-scale public health crisis, some people, such as those with ADHD, anxiety or autism, may get easily overwhelmed or distracted in public places, meaning they’re not likely to engage with marketing or advertising content—even if it piques their interest.

Combine this with COVID-19 lockdowns across Australia, Melbourne being the lockdown capital of the entire world - 263 days. It is clear that people are spending more time at home, working from home or in Melbourne's case, simply not allowed to leave their home.

QR code sign-ins for contact tracing have taught even the most technically-challeneged Australians to embrace the technology as a matter of health guidleines and government protocols.

Scanning a QR code—which takes just seconds—means customers get instant access to deeper information about a product, brand or event that they can engage with when they’re most comfortable doing so.


3. QR codes to drive reviews

Local SEO expert Gregg Gifford mentioned that business should consider using QR in marketing to drive reviews, mainly Google Reviews. Set up a landing page that has all the different review sites listed and point the QR code at that site. Once people arrive they can pick the network where they want to leave a review. Alternatively, direct straight to the Google Business Listing where the Review pop up will appear.


4. Contactless ordering at bars, restaurants and cafes

Especially in the time of COVID-19, restaurants can use QR codes for diners to scan and get the menu on their phones. Some will even transition you along the ordering process to a payment gateway. Confirmation emails or SMS can be delivered and a few minutes later, your order magically arrives at your table.

5. Simplify and facilitate common interactions.

At a nearby supermarket, I recently heard someone say, “I want to sign up for a loyalty card, but I don’t want to hold up the line.”

Many brands offer great benefits through their loyalty cards—and loyalty programs increase profits. Brands should do everything in their power to make them easy to sign up for—not just for those unwilling to hold up the line, but also for parents of young children, those who get overwhelmed in public and anyone who might simply be in a rush.

A simple scan of a QR code can trigger common brand interactions like signing up for a loyalty card or writing a review, making them simpler, less time-consuming and available anywhere—and therefore more accessible.

Best Practices

The best practices for using QR codes to boost accessibility don’t differ that much from best practices for using QR codes generally.

  • Follow visual accessibility guidelines for color contrast. There are slightly different considerations for printed materials versus those that will appear on screens.
  • Size your QR code appropriately. Consider how far users will be from the QR code when they scan it. The farther away, the larger your code should be.
  • Include clear call-to-action (CTA) language. Always indicate where a QR code will take someone if they choose to scan. If you’re using a multilingual QR code, include the CTA in each language you offer content in.
  • Measure results. QR codes should drive people to your digital properties. If they’re not doing that, you need to change something about them: placement, design, CTA language, etc.

Conversion metrics can tell you how well your QR code is working, but they won’t tell you how to improve it. To get that information, consider user testing your designs with people from the groups you’re hoping to connect with. These user groups can provide feedback about what is and isn’t working, which you can use to improve your design.

Accessibility is a key part of excellent customer experiences.

It’s worth saying that no brand’s accessibility efforts should start and end with QR codes. But I believe this technology does have a role to play within an enterprise’s larger strategy for ensuring accessibility across its physical and digital properties.

That strategy will likely be of growing importance in the years to come. As consumers increasingly expect personalized experiences from the brands that have access to their data, finding ways to deliver goods and services in formats that meet varied needs will be crucial to brands’ survival.


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