Local Business

Taking QR Codes Outside : A Playbook for Creative Outdoor QR Uses

QR codes present tremendous creative marketing potential in outdoor spaces through strategic placement on objects like ...

QR codes present tremendous creative marketing potential in outdoor spaces through strategic placement on objects like trail markers and farm equipment. This guide explores how compelling call-to-actions and relevant landing pages can maximize conversion. With performance tracking and iterative testing, marketers can optimize strategies. The applications are truly unlimited, but require imagination and strategic follow-through to unlock the boundless opportunities beyond four walls.

Unlocking the Potential of QR Codes in the Great Outdoors

QR codes are not only valuable indoors but also epic for outdoors, bridging the physical and digital worlds to engage customers in new ways. This little playbook explores and discusses the power of displaying QR codes outside of traditional indoor spaces and provides actionable tips to leverage their versatility.

Whether you’re looking to boost customer convenience, improve operations, or take your marketing to the next level, innovative use of QR codes beyond four walls can help you meet business goals while enhancing experiences. The only limits are your imagination and willingness to embrace the technology’s potential outside the box!

You might notice some repetition on topics, but this guide is meant to be explored, and not even exactly in entirety. Browse the sections, get some ideas, have a little fun. If you need us we are always around.

Straight to the section:

Benefits of Scannable QR Codes for Businesses

Implementing scannable QR codes provides a multitude of benefits for businesses across industries, especially outdoors businesses. QR codes bridge the gap between physical and digital, allowing companies to drive traffic, boost engagement, collect data, and streamline operations.

Specific benefits include: generating more website visits by linking QR codes to online content, building customer loyalty programs by providing exclusive deals upon scanning, accessing helpful resources like product manuals or ordering menus, and simplifying payroll and inventory management. The versatility of possible uses makes QR codes a highly valuable, low-cost tool for accomplishing business goals.

In 2022, approximately 89 million smartphone users in the United States scanned a QR code on their mobile devices (source:Statista)


The Capabilities of Outdoor QR Codes

QR codes are capable of providing immense value specifically when utilized in outdoor environments. Their scannability empowers businesses to place actionable codes on physical objects outside. Some unique capabilities include providing information about landmarks, trail markers or points of interest by linking codes placed in nature to online resources.

QR codes can also be displayed on farm equipment and fixtures to give instant access to manuals, tutorials or maintenance records. When printed on product packaging or food items, outdoor QR codes enable shoppers to check origin details, trace supply chains or access additional product information on the go. The potential applications are endless, as QR codes create a digital bridge between the physical and digital worlds regardless of environment.

Planning your Outdoor QR Code Strategy

Implementing QR codes outdoors requires thoughtful planning and strategy optimization to drive engagement. First, clearly define campaign goals and desired actions when codes are scanned. Do you want to educate consumers, drive traffic to your website, collect contact info, or promote special offers? Establishing objectives will inform ideal QR code placement locations. Try positioning your codes where people linger like lines, waiting areas, or benches.

For awareness, place creatively designed, eye-catching codes in high visibility areas. Ensure QR codes are readable in outdoor lighting conditions. Develop compelling code content that provides value and incentivizes scanning like exclusive deals, helpful resources, or intriguing information.

Refresh code content frequently to encourage repeat engagement. Leverage analytics to identify best performing locations and adapt placements based on data insights. A strategic approach sets your outdoor QR campaign up for maximum impact.

Set Goals and Call-to-Actions for your Outdoor QR Codes

Outdoor QR codes should have clear goals and call-to-actions to drive scans and conversions. Start by defining campaign objectives - do you want to educate, promote products, collect data? Establish specific, measurable goals like increasing website traffic by 25% or generating 500 new leads. Then craft a compelling call-to-action based on those goals.

Define Your Campaign Objectives

Be specific when setting goals for your outdoor QR code campaign. Do you want to drive traffic to your website or social channels? Generate leads? Promote a new product? Educate consumers? Build brand awareness? Establishing clear objectives informs the messaging, placement and call-to-action of your codes. Define 1-3 measurable goals so you can properly track performance.

Craft Succinct, Actionable Call-To-Actions

An effective call-to-action quickly communicates next steps and motivates scanning. For example, "Get 25% off - scan this code!" or "Access our new sustainability report - learn more by scanning." Keep language succinct, actionable and scannable-friendly. Avoid lengthy sentences or vague directives. Use verbs that spark immediate action like "scan", "compare", "get", "see", or "unlock."

Make it Valuable for the User

Incentivize scanning by offering exclusive deals, chances to win prizes, first looks at new products, helpful resources like recipes or product information, and more. Provide true value in exchange for their time and data. Surprise and delight people with the code experience to foster brand goodwill.

Align with Campaign Goals

Ensure your call-to-action directly supports overarching campaign goals. A QR code that says "Learn more about our products!" should link to a product page or catalog, not just your homepage. Tie the post-scan experience seamlessly to messaging. Calls-to-action lose impact when they don't deliver on promises.

For example, "Scan to get 20% off your purchase today only!" or "Learn more about our sustainability efforts - scan for details." Think about the user experience - how can you entice people to scan and make it worthwhile for them? Consider rewards, discounts, sneak peeks, chances to win prizes, helpful resources and more.


Optimize QR Code Placement for Outdoor Scanning

Optimizing placement is key for driving scans of outdoor QR codes. Analyze foot traffic patterns to identify high visibility locations where people naturally congregate or linger like lines, waiting areas, benches or entryways.

  • Position codes where consumers are likely to be bored or idle, increasing the chance they will scan for entertainment.
  • Ensure proper lighting so codes are easily scannable.
  • Place codes at eye level or use signage with directional arrows pointing down towards the code.
  • Print a large, clearly visible code or have multiple repeats in the same vicinity.
  • Avoid placing codes in peripheral or obscured locations.
  • Use weatherproof materials if coding outdoor elements like a garden sculpture.

Premiere QR Locations Based on Business Goals

When selecting QR code placement, consider how location aligns with overall campaign goals. If driving website traffic, place codes on print ads and high foot-traffic areas like entryways or checkout lines. For lead generation, position codes on booths, event signage and promotional giveaway items.

To increase engagement, use codes on interactive elements, trails, gardens and recreational spaces. If promoting a new menu item, place codes right on restaurant tables or add to flyers inside takeout bags. For contests or giveaways, put codes on branded collateral at events or trade-shows. Evaluate positioning based on objectives, context and use case to select optimal locations that support desired outcomes.

Visible, High-Traffic Outdoor Areas

To maximize visibility, consider placing QR codes in bustling outdoor locations that capture the attention of passersby. Prime real estate can be found at main entrances, building exteriors, and parking lots, where pedestrians are likely to take notice.

Target idle individuals by positioning codes near waiting areas, transportation hubs, and food pickup spots. Outdoor recreational areas, such as parks, trails, sports fields, and entertainment venues, also provide ample opportunities for engagement. Impressions from vehicular traffic can be gained through street banners, bus stops, subway ads, and billboards.

When selecting locations, take into account the behavioral patterns and preferences of your target demographic. The greater the foot traffic and visibility, the higher the chance of scans and discovery.

Design Bold Yet Legible Outdoor QR Codes

An eye-catching design grabs attention, while maintaining legibility ensures scannability. Consider the following tips when designing aesthetic yet functional outdoor QR codes:


  • Use bold colors that stand out against the background
  • Incorporate branded elements like logos and fonts
  • Add graphics or visuals related to the code content
  • Print large codes or multiple repeats for visibility
  • Leave white space around code for easy scanning


  • Use busy patterns or distracting backgrounds
  • Crowd code space with too many design elements
  • Size code too small for scanning from a distance
  • Position code in peripheral or obscured locations
  • Print code on glare-prone materials like shiny metal

Creative visual design paired with ample white space helps strike the right balance between aesthetic appeal and scannability for outdoor QR codes. Assess placement location lighting and conditions when selecting colors, size, and materials. Partner with a designer to develop an engaging look aligned to your brand. Here's a few tips.

Use Contrasting Colors That Pop With Natural Light

Bold, contrasting colors help QR codes stand out in outdoor environments. Bright hues like neon greens, vivid blues or intense oranges grab attention against natural backdrops like gardens, parks or trails. Avoid light codes on light backgrounds that blend and become illegible. Black codes on white backgrounds provide maximum contrast.

Incorporate Branding Elements

Integrate brand colors, fonts, or logos into the code design where possible. This helps reinforce brand identity while creating familiarity that may make users more inclined to scan. But don't obstruct the code itself with overly distracting branding. Find the right balance.

Add Relevant Graphics or Visuals

Consider adding graphics or images related to the code's content. For example, a code leading to a recipe could feature a printed recipe card graphic. This provides context clues to pique user curiosity. Ensure any visuals complement rather than compete with QR code legibility.

Print Large, Repeated Codes for Segmenting

For outdoor viewing and scanning, bigger is better. A large code is readable from farther away. Also consider repeating the same code in multiple locations for redundancy. This increases opportunities to see and scan the code.

Assess Lighting Conditions

Evaluate the lighting conditions where your outdoor code will be placed. Bright, direct sunlight can cause glare and reflections, making codes difficult to scan. Use matte materials and test code readability on-site at different times of day.

Compelling Content for Outdoor QR Codes

"Get 25% off your purchase - scan this code for a special discount!" or "Access our sustainability report - learn more about our eco-efforts by scanning." Keep messaging scannable-friendly with clear instructions and avoid lengthy text. Use action-driven language like "See our new products," "Enter to win prizes," or "Find nearby trails."

Here's a few pointers...

Link to Relevant Post-Scan Content

Ensure the landing page or experience post-scan aligns seamlessly with the promised call-to-action. For example, a call-to-action of "Get 10% off your purchase - scan this code!" should link directly to a coupon or discounted cart. Mismatched experiences will lead to frustration. Deliver content that satisfies expectations to build trust and inspire repeat engagement.

For example, a gardening center could place weatherproof QR code signs throughout their nursery areas and outdoor trails with the following call-to-action:

"Get planting tips - Scan this code for care guides on all your nursery purchases!"

When scanned, the QR code would link to tailored planting and care instructions based on the section of the nursery it was located in.


Getting Creative with Outdoor QR Code Uses

QR codes unleash boundless creativity when implemented in outdoor spaces. Usage is only limited by imagination. Explore unique applications like codes printed on food trucks that link to menus or order pages for curbside convenience. Display codes on garden sculptures or art installations to provide details on the artist and creation process for patrons. Affix codes along hiking trails that access interactive maps or share facts about key landmarks. Code farmers market booths and produce to trace origin or access recipes. Bring static environments to life by coding points of interest for self-guided walking tours.

The outdoor world is an open canvas for dream destinations, nostalgic moments, and interactive stories enhanced by scannable moments. Let creative juices flow to unlock novel use cases that excite and engage consumers.

QR Codes on Farm Equipment and Fixtures

Displaying QR codes on large farm equipment and fixtures like grain silos, elevators and semi trailers provides unique opportunities to support small, rural businesses. Scannable codes can link to pages showcasing local farms and the seasonal produce available to purchase directly. This engages community members and drives commerce to small producers.

QR codes also allow vendors to share stories of multi-generational family farms working the land for decades. Farms can use codes to provide transparency around sustainable practices or origin of goods. Creative and thoughtful use of scannable codes on equipment and fixtures builds connections and shared understanding between producers and consumers.

Ways & Uses for QR Codes on Farms
& Outdoor Buildings:
  • Showcase local farms and seasonal produce available for direct purchase

  • Share origins and multi-generational farming heritage

  • Provide transparency around sustainable practices and certifications

  • Give virtual farm tours and introduce the farmers

  • Link to pages for scheduling farm visits or events

  • Enable easy enrollment in CSA boxes or produce delivery

  • Share recipes using seasonal ingredients

  • Link to farm blogs or vlogs to build connections

  • Promote upcoming markets or events where produce can be purchased

Outdoor QR Codes on your Produce & Goods

Printing scannable QR codes directly on produce, packaged goods or merchandise enables new levels of transparency and engagement. Shoppers can scan codes on fruits, vegetables or baked goods to access expanded product details, recipes, safety information, and origin tracing. Retailers can provide rich supplemental content that goes beyond packaging space limitations.

Here's a few use cases for individual packaging QR codes...

Product Origins and Supply Chain Tracing

QR codes allow consumers to easily trace product origins and follow supply chains from farm to store. Scanning a code on an apple accesses details like the orchard it came from, harvest date, packer, distributor route and more. This provides transparency around freshness and food systems. Shoppers increasingly want to know where their food comes from.

Expanded Product Information and Recipes

While packaging has limited space, QR codes link to detailed product descriptions, usage guides, safety information, and recipes. For example, a code on a butternut squash could share links to recommended storage conditions, how to prepare and cook the squash, and delicious recipe ideas. This supplemental content enhances the consumer experience.

Codes also facilitate novel interactions like virtual farm tours or meeting the makers. For manufacturers, codes create direct consumer connections for education, product feedback or contest entries. When QR codes extend your digital presence onto physical products, innovative consumer engagement in the shopping journey comes to life.

Trail Markers and Points of Interest

QR codes applied creatively along trails, nature walks, parks and recreational spaces allow users to access helpful area information, interact with their surroundings, and stay engaged with relevant content. Codes bring added dimension to exploring outdoor spaces and drive traffic exactly where you want it and can track campaigns.

Here's some use cases...

For Area Info, Guidance and Engagement

QR codes strategically placed on trail markers, information kiosks, and park entrances offer a gateway to a world of maps, directions, facility details, and expert recommendations, ensuring visitors can effortlessly navigate and fully immerse themselves in the location's wonders. With these helpful tools at their fingertips, visitors can maximize their enjoyment and create unforgettable experiences.

Historical Points of Interest

Immerse visitors in the rich history of the area by using QR codes to highlight iconic landmarks and share fascinating facts or stories. By connecting these codes to detailed contextual information, you can bring the past to life right where it happened, captivating and engaging visitors in a truly memorable experience.

Recreational Advertising

QR codes offer a powerful opportunity for businesses to reach out to outdoor enthusiasts with enticing promotions. For example, sporting goods shops can use QR codes to advertise exclusive sales on hiking gear, capturing the attention of trail goers and driving them towards their products and services.

When your demographic is active sometimes you need to be where they'll find you!

Measure Outdoor QR Code Success; Convert and Track

To maximize ROI, outdoor QR codes must convert visitors into desired actions and be trackable. Link codes to landing pages with clear calls-to-action like signing up for a class, claiming an offer or purchasing tickets. Make forms short and sweet - don't make people scroll. Test different incentives and copy messaging to optimize conversion rates. Use a QR code management platform to fine-tune strategies and improve conversions.

TL;DR Simple Conversion Tracking Tips:
  • Link to optimized landing pages
  • Test different incentives
  • Keep forms short and concise
  • Use a QR management platform
  • Set conversion goals and monitor with key metrics


Conversion Funnels and Use Cases

QR codes present versatile opportunities to engage consumers and guide them through conversion funnels. These scannable codes act as a bridge between the physical and digital worlds, enabling businesses to connect with their target audience in unique and interactive ways.


Hotels and resorts can place QR codes in their promotional materials, allowing guests to easily access information about amenities, dining options, and local attractions. By scanning the code, guests can be directed to a landing page that provides detailed descriptions, high-quality images, and even virtual tours of the property. This not only enhances the guest experience but also increases the likelihood of direct bookings.

These can easily be monetized with ads as well, so worthy to consider if you have an abundance of traffic.


As mentioned before, QR codes can be printed on product packaging, allowing shoppers to access additional product information, customer reviews, and even personalized recommendations. This not only helps consumers make informed purchasing decisions but also provides retailers with valuable data on consumer preferences and shopping behavior.

Very powerful marketing tool for organic and fresh industries where there is a culture around that information.


QR codes can also be used to drive customer loyalty and engagement. For example, a restaurant can offer a QR code on their receipt that, when scanned, provides access to a customer loyalty program or an exclusive discount for future visits. This not only encourages repeat business but also allows the restaurant to gather customer data and track the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Coupled with a referral program loyalty programs with referral programs often have an entire army doing your legwork via word of mouth.

Testing Incentives and Your Messaging

To identify bad performers, look for lower than expected scan rates and engagement based on metrics like page views or form submissions. This indicates the messaging failed to entice users. For good performers, expect to see higher scans and follow-through on calls-to-action. Analyze data to spot patterns in what resonates.

For poor conversions, tweak approach by trying more urgent phrasing, different promo offers, or more targeted language. For well-converting messages, apply learning's to other codes. Continually test and analyze performance to refine incentives and copy that convert users.

Key Performance Indicators to Monitor:

  • Scan conversion rate
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages visited per session
  • Average session duration
  • Form submission and completion rates
  • Click-through rates on calls-to-action

What to Look for When Analyzing Results:

  • Higher/lower scan rates between Version A and B
  • Difference in engagement on landing page
  • Form drop-off points or abandoned pages
  • Whether visitors are clicking intended CTAs
  • Which message generates more leads


Tips to Optimize Based on Results

Utilize the insights gained from test results to enhance future messaging and incentive variations. If a particular version yielded lower scan rates, consider injecting a sense of urgency or excitement into the copy to increase motivation. Experiment with different promotional offers such as higher value discounts or limited-time exclusives. Refine your language to better target your audience based on their demographic data.

Also shortening form fields and reducing friction can improve completion rates. Make the primary call-to-action button or text more prominent on the landing page. Double down on messages and offers that yielded high conversion rates by reusing that successful wording in new codes.

Continually refine approach based on real data insights to maximize ROI. Even small tweaks like changing a headline or image based on learning's can significantly lift performance.

QR Codes Outdoors - Creativity Unleashed Beyond Walls

All in, using branded QR codes in outdoor spaces present a tremendous opportunity to engage consumers, bridge physical and digital worlds, and drive measurable business impact - especially when leveraged creatively in outdoor spaces. Strategic placement of scannable codes on objects like trail markers, farm equipment, goods and retail fixtures unlocks unique use cases and delivers value through contextually relevant experiences.

Whether it's by educating shoppers on services and products, enabling self-guided tours, or boosting brand interactivity, using outdoor QR codes allow marketers to meet objectives across ad campaigns, customer retention and operations. To maximize ROI, marketers must focus on crafting targeted, compelling call-to-action messaging, optimizing landing pages for conversions, monitoring performance metrics, and continuously refining strategies.

When executed successfully, innovative use of QR codes outdoors transcends traditional marketing limitations by merging offline and online environments. The potential applications are as boundless as your imagination.


  • QR codes provide immense creative marketing potential when utilized in outdoor spaces
  • Strategic placement on objects like trail markers, goods, equipment builds engagement
  • Compelling call-to-action copy entices scanning, promises value
  • Tailored landing page content delivers relevant experiences
  • Conversion optimization maximizes ROI - clear CTAs, friction-less forms
  • Performance tracking via management platforms informs optimization
  • Testing various code elements identifies improvements
  • Tactical campaigns merge offline + online environments
  • Diverse use cases - self-guided tours, product info, coupons, etc
  • Applications are truly unlimited with thoughtful creativity
  • Marketers simply need imagination and strategic follow-through
  • Embrace the boundless potential of QR codes beyond four walls!