QR codes – for those without the tech know-how – work like bar codes or ISBN codes. The code appears as square black and white pattern and can be read (or scanned) by smart phones to access encoded information. This information could be a website address, an image or text information.
QR codes began in Japan and were created as early as 1994 but it is only in recent years that they have really become standardised. Now they are everywhere – from today’s Metro paper, to your local charity’s newsletter. They are an extremely useful tool that lets customers – both potential and existing – learn instantly about your business.
Below are just a couple of examples of how QR codes can be used by today’s business world.
- They can be used on business cards, to instantly allow a customer to access a page on your company website.
- They can be used by restaurants (and others in the hospitality / catering trade) to offer discounted meals in return for user information.
- They can be used directly on websites, allowing users to download information to their phone i.e. product information on an eCommerce site
It isn’t known exactly how QR codes will affect marketing and business development in the long run but given the amount of information these codes can hold – and the fact that each one is unique – it is likely they will survive longer than other gimmicks. As Dana Oshiro at Mashable said, ‘the genius behind QR codes is that even a hairless chimp can play with them.’