QR codes (also known as Quick Response Codes) are those square barcodes you can find on almost anything. Like right next to this paragraph, for instance. Even though these codes rose to fame in the late 2000’s, they were actually created in 1994. They were originally developed by Denso (which was an affiliate of Toyota) to track parts going through the factory.
What they do is pretty simple. Just like how a cashier scans a barcode on a product, you can scan a QR code with your phone. It brings up a website, a video, a Skype call, an application in the app store – anything really. QR codes are used in all types of businesses, with all forms of advertising, on literally anything – the bench at a bus stop to a page of a magazine can have a QR code on it. And the best part is that they don’t take any fancy designing to make. You can just go to a QR code generator site and go to town within seconds.
QR codes can be very useful, because they’re a free way to get consumers to interact with different components of your brand. Let’s pretend you work for a car company and you’re at a trade show. You’re really trying to get the word out about your new line of cars. You can give consumers fancy photos, let them sit in the cars, etc. But what you really want them to do is like your Facebook page, so they’ll constantly get up to date information about your cars. How can you do that? Well, there are a few ways:
Option 1) Set up a computer and have people log in to Facebook to like your page.
The problem: People are concerned about security, and don’t want to type their e-mail address and password in on a random computer.
Option 2) Tell them to go to Facebook on their phone and like your page.
The problem: There’s a good chance they won’t actually do it.
Option 3) Have a QR code that leads to your Facebook page posted somewhere very visible.
Why this is the best option: Consumers are curious. They want to see what that QR code does and where it will take them. Once they scan the code, all they have to do is decide whether they want to like the page or not.
And in a perfect world, this article would stop here, and QR codes would rule the world. But they’re not. Why?
1) iPhones can’t scan them unless you download an app.
2) They’re ugly.
But don’t let that get you down. Would you rather stick a QR code on your piece of advertising, and potentially get more customer interaction? Potentially increase sales? Potentially get more video views? The list goes on and on.
Or would you rather leave the QR code off? Then you’ll never know what it could have done for your business…