WhatsApp QR Code: the secret behind turning physical traffic into WhatsApp contacts


Director, Strategy & Content

4min read
WhatsApp QR Code: the secret behind turning physical traffic into WhatsApp contacts

With over two billion users, WhatsApp is easily the biggest messaging app in the world, handily surpassing rivals like Viber and Line. But you know that already – now it’s time to figure out how to invite as many customers as possible to chat with you on WhatsApp.

How indeed. Unlike other platforms, WhatsApp doesn’t have usernames. More accurately, your phone number is your username. If your customer has your digits , the conversation can start flowing. But that’s… not exactly elegant. Typing. Numbers. Blegh. Fortunately, there’s a better way: QR codes.

You might already be familiar with these. QR codes are a type of barcode that’s ideal for representing text – like web links and phone numbers. Instead of manually transcribing your phone number, your customers can just scan your code with their phone’s camera – no tedious typing required. 

An explosion of QR goodness

Before we get to the ‘how,’ let’s talk about the ‘why.’

QR codes have enjoyed something of a renaissance over the past few years. Between 2018 and 2019, the number of QR scans grew by 26 percent, according to Blue Bite. They’re also more mainstream than they’ve ever been, reaching 28 percent more people during the same time period.

There’s a reason for this: QR codes are easier to use than they’ve ever been. 

Not so long ago, if you wanted to scan a QR code, you had to download a separate app. Some did, but most people didn’t bother. Then, in 2017, Apple added native QR Code support to iOS, embedding it within the camera app. Google swiftly followed, baking it into the Android camera software with the launch of Android 9 Pie the following year.

And this is great for businesses. QR codes have a distinct advantage, insofar as they work equally well in the virtual realm as they do in the real world. You aren’t limited to placing them on your website. If you have a physical presence, you can print them out and stick them up, allowing you to convert physical foot-traffic into long-term contacts. You can put them on receipts or packaging, pushing your communications channels beyond what you previously thought possible.

QR codes work especially well for initiating WhatsApp conversations for sales and customer service. One handy feature is pre-filled messages. WhatsApp makes it easier to get conversations started by allowing you to embed pre-filled messages within your WhatsApp QR codes. You could even choose to place custom WhatsApp QR codes across your properties, each with a different pre-filled message.

Hitting the ground running

Blog Whatsapp QR Code

Making your own WhatsApp QR codes is easy. You can either use a generic QR code generator or the native QR code generator for the WhatsApp Business API.

If you’re using a generic QR code generator, first, you need to get your wa.me link. This follows a set format: https://wa.me/<your number>. Remember to remove any zeroes, plus-signs, or dashes. You’ll also need to put your number in international format, with the country code at the front (1 for the US and Canada, 44 for the UK, 49 for Germany, and so on).

Want to add a message? That’s easy too. After the number, insert your message like this: “?text=<your message>”. Don’t forget to replace spaces with a plus sign. So, “I am at your Berlin store” would look like this: “I+am+at+your+Berlin+store”.

All combined, you should have something like this: https://wa.me/123456789?text=I+am+at+your+Berlin+store.

It’s worth noting that you’ll need to re-create your QR code if you decide to change the message.

How about the native QR code generator? If you’re using the WhatsApp Business API with tyntec, things are way easier. We do much of the heavy lifting for you, including creating the QR codes.

Another advantage here is if you decide to change the embedded message, you don’t have to re-create the code and reproduce all materials using the code (packages, store signage, etc.). tyntec will update the message without having to change the QR code itself.

Scanning happy

WhatsApp isn’t just for your online shoppers. It’s also a connection between on- and offline experiences.

QR codes are the way to make that happen. They’re easy, and they’ve everywhere. Best of all, they work across your physical and online presences, and will help you engage with that hard-to-reach foot traffic. To get QR codes generated by tyntec, please sign in to our Business Center and send us the request.