You’ve seen them, but do you know what to do with them? They’re the funky little square things that look like they’re from another planet — think the matrix.
I’m talking about QR codes, or Quick Response codes. Can you believe these little gems have been around since the early ’90s? In 1994, a Toyota subsidiary in Japan, Denso Wave, invented the QR Code to track vehicles during manufacture. The QR Codes are capable of storing more information than standard bar codes. Of course, until the widespread use of smartphones this technology was solely for industry. But nowadays, companies are using the QR Code technology in their advertising to consumers.
What information do these fancy little boxes hold? They can hold a variety of information, something as simple as a website address to advanced as information about a wine and the vineyard where it’s made. I recently went to the International Virtual Assistants Association live summit in Memphis where our summit passes had QR Codes on them. The information on these codes was our contact information. We all had fun scanning each other’s QR Code! When we scanned the QR Code with our smartphone, that person’s contact information was then saved to our phone as a contact. How fancy is that?!
According to a study by Internet Retailing, during the month of June 2011, 14 million mobile users scanned a QR Code or a barcode. Some 58% of those users scanned a QR or bar code from their home, while 39% scanned from retail stores; 53% of the 14 million users were men between the ages of 18 and 34.
What are the advantages of having a QR Code? We are just beginning to use QR Codes regularly, but by having them on our print material, we can drive people instantly to our website or a special offer. It’s much quicker for the reader to scan the code and go directly to the site, then it is for someone to type in a URL. It’s like instant gratification.
How can you use QR Codes? Your business — no matter what size — can use QR codes in a number of ways. You could have one on your website next to a product containing product details. You could have one on your business card containing your contact details so it’s easy for someone to add you to their contacts on their cell phone. Add them to any print advertising, flyers, posters, invites containing:
- A coupon
- Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn IDs
- A YouTube video
- Product details
- Contact details
- Offer details
- Event details
Well, now you know what you can put these QR Codes on, but what do you do when you see one? If you have a smartphone like an iPhone or Android, you can download an app to your phone that will scan and read this handy, dandy box. For my Android, I use QR Droid. Just simply go to the marketplace and search for it, download and install it.
Whatever the QR Code is designed to do, that information will be translated to your phone. It may send you directly to a website. It could display contact information. It could create a text. It could display other information.
If you’re ready to create your own free of charge QR Code or find out more information, visit www.qrstuff.com.
Have any ideas for using QR Codes? Share them on my blog!