Friday, April 13, 2012

QR codes on the rise

A lot of people are still oblivious about the existence of QR codes. More and more people are now aware of the codes but many may not yet have actually used one. It is not everyday you stumble upon such technology.  There has been rapid adoption of smart phone technology by other countries such as Japan, United States, Australia amongst others in the past two years, prompted the introduction of the first QR codes. QR codes have been used for years in countries like Japan and Korea where smart-phones are already widely adopted.

What is QR code? QR Codes (printed square labels looking a little like a crossword puzzle), also known as “quick response codes” are part of a whole new way of connecting with consumers via their smart phones and mobile devices.

A sample look of a QR code. Give it a try! Scan it using your mobile phone.

 In 2008, airlines started to implement the codes on boarding passes. Mobile phones are then equipped with the technology to allow two-dimensional bar codes, which can be used as electronic boarding passes.



Present day, QR codes are being used almost everywhere: including websites, signage, stationeries, decorative items within the home and etc.

QR codes can be read using camera equipped smart phones loaded with the appropriate application, taking users through to relevant information coded inside. The barcodes can store a variety of data, which includes: text, URL, telephone number, SMS/MMS message, email, contact entry also known as vCard, and calendar entry. Storing URL presents many possibilities besides just loading a web page. You can actually play a video, download a mobile app, check-in on Foursquare, update a Twitter status, Like a Facebook page, display map directions and many more.

Once the barcode image is created, it can be printed on nearly any surface and location for e.g. the newspaper, TV ads, billboards, product packaging, clothing labels, cake frosting, an more. This method enables marketer or business entrepreneurs to drive traffic, interaction and conversion from anywhere.

QR codes can be used for nearly any function, logistically, advertising, customer service etc. To list a few:

  • Best Buy uses QR codes on in-store price tags for quick access to online reviews.
  • Gold Digest uses Microsoft Tag in their magazine for tips with interactive video.
  • Real estate agents use QR codes on “for sale” signs providing potential buyers access to virtual tours.
  • included a QR code onto their marketing brochure, containing discounts which allows their consumer discounts if they purchase an order on their website.
  • Time Warner’s HBO used a blood-soaked QR code in its television ads for the third season of vampire drama True Blood.
  • Macy’s decked out its department stores with codes that brought up videos of Tommy Hilfiger and Martha Stewart doling out fashion advice.
  • Vibe used codes in fashion spreads to send readers to sites where they could buy clothes pictured in the magazine.
  • Other brands using codes in innovative ways include Coca Cola, Delta, Ford, Gap, Home Depot, Starbucks, and Verizon to name only a few.

Some tips on how you can use or create your QR codes properly:

  • TIPS#1: Use with caution when placing QR codes online. They should always enhance the user’s experience. The codes content should provide special value for the customer. It is a hassle to scan a codes, so users have high expectations as to what content they will find. Reward the user with discounts, exclusive content, or useful tips relevant to the code’s context.

  • TIPS#2: If a user could click on a link, don’t make them scan a code to complete the same task. Also bear in mind that the location must be easily scannable too. Plastic frames and packaging can reflect light. Kindly consider all factors that could impact the scanning experience.

  • TIPS#3: QR codes can be created for free on the Internet. There are free QR code generators and online creators out on the net. Feel free to create QR codes ready to print or to add onto a t-shirt or mugs. Try it out at,, and to name a few.

  • TIPS#4: Include a QR code on a business card that links to a vCard would be a lot easier than the user manually entering the contact report.

QR Codes are set to become the next big thing. The codes indeed make grabbing information much easier these days. It lessens the use of paper and saves time, definitely one of the best thing every invented for a smarter and faster world today. Include a QR code for your business today!

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