The “QR” in QR Code stands for “Quick Response” - which is a great way to sum up how these codes became so popular. QR codes are barcodes, specifically two dimensional barcodes, just like those printed on products found on store shelves. These barcodes, however, can be scanned simply by using an app on your smart phone. Often these apps are free and easy to get ahold of. Scanning the quick response code is done with a smart phone's camera, which decodes the barcode and displays the data within it. This ease of retrieving and storing data, or “quick response” of information if-you-will, is what has made these little square barcodes so popular. Rather than having to write down or remember information, people can snap the code with their smart phone and have access to that data in moments.
Spotting QR codes is easy, both due to their consistent look and their growing popularity. As far as appearance, each QR code is a square black barcode with a black box in the upper left, upper right and lower left corners. Often these codes will appear in marketing materials such as signs inside physical stores or in printed advertisements in places like magazines, newspapers or flyers. Despite the fact that the biggest convenience of these barcodes is the accessibility to digital information without being in front of a computer, quick response codes can even be found on websites. When found online, the purpose of these codes is often for interlinking websites with other online profiles or being used for some type of promotion. The best marketing minds are constantly coming up with new, creative uses for QR codes, so keep an eye out for them!
One of the great things about these quick response codes is the amount of data they can hold. Other two dimensional barcodes tend to be very limited in the amount of characters they can store. QR codes can hold a much larger amount of data and perform more functions than other barcodes. Not only can they store text, such as e-mail addresses, phone numbers, web addresses or even general notes, but they can also perform functions on your smart phone, such as send a text message, open up a browser window or make a phone call. Want to give people quick access to all of your contact information? They can scan your quick response code to get your name, phone number, e-mail address and website in seconds. Looking to get more of your customers active in your social media profiles? Put a sign up in your store with a QR code to your Facebook or Twitter page. Now your customers can scan the code and visit those sites instantly instead of having to wait until they have access to a computer, potentially hours later when they've forgotten all about your social media call to action.
To many, these codes seem more like a gimmick than a useful marketing tool. It may seem like “flair”, but QR codes have been used by a number of companies to run successful marketing campaigns. In fact, they've been overwhelmingly popular in Japan – their country of origin – for nearly 10 years! Are these barcodes the answer to all of your marketing woes? Certainly not, but they make a great compliment to your current marketing campaign – or even just a nice touch to your personal website or portfolio! After all, in current times people not only demand, but expect, quick and easy access to data. With smart phones becoming a default accessory for most mobile users, QR codes are just what the doctor ordered!