QR Codes (short for “Quick Response Codes”) have been around for awhile, but have in recent years become extremely popular in both private and business applications. Even though they were developed originally by Toyota to aid in tracking car parts, their versatility has led to an explosion of their usage. Thankfully, Toyota has declined to enforce their patent on QR codes, allowing them to be used by just about everyone.
This article will briefly outline how QR Codes work, as well as some of the possible uses of them for businesses.
What exactly is a QR Code anyway?
QR Codes are officially a form of two dimensional barcode that encodes information into a grid of black-and-white dots bordered by larger squares that are used for reference and positioning. They can be read and decoded by any number of handheld devices, including professional scanners as well as everyday smartphones.
They are superior to standard barcodes for a number of reasons. While they are larger than barcodes, they can include much larger amounts of data in a relatively small amount of space. The most dense standard form of these codes is a 177x177 grid that can hold up to 1,264 ASCII characters. (For reference, that's about how long this article is, up to this point.)
That's a lot of information packed into a space that's generally only a couple square inches!
The other useful feature of QR Codes is that they have built-in error correction. A code that's been torn or defaced can still be read successfully. It's even possible to cover up a portion of them with a text message or logo and still be able to scan the underlying code.
QR Codes in Advertising
QR codes have found tremendous success in the world of marketing. The most basic and common way of using them is to put a code on the side of a product that automatically sends a consumer to that product's website for further information. Seeing as around 1/3 of smartphone owners use their devices to aid in their shopping, this makes for a great way of reaching out to them.
However, they have far more versatility than that. They can be encoded to contain links to online videos, automatic Facebook and Twitter updates, email messages, and even to automatically download tracks from iTunes. They're becoming increasingly popular on business cards as well, because a simple scan can automatically add that person's contact information into a smartphone or tablet, without the time-consuming process of adding the information manually.
Some ambitious companies have even begun putting QR Codes onto billboards, encouraging people on the road – although hopefully not the drivers – to scan them with their phones as they drive by.
Business Applications of QR Codes
While some uses can be rather mundane, QR Codes have plenty of business-related uses as well. They were initially developed to aid in product tracking and can still perform that job admirably. Since they can be read by virtually any device with a camera, budget-conscious businesses can employ them and allow their staff to use their own phones, rather than investing in costly proprietary readers. It's also becoming increasingly common to use them to track visitors to booths at trade shows, or for marking people as being in attendance at official functions.
In short, while some people fear they're beginning to wear out their welcome, QR Codes remain extremely popular in the business world thanks to their multi-purpose nature. As companies continue to find new ways to drive a greater profit margin, QR codes are a "no-brainer" way of getting there.
Contact SeoSkye today to start utilizing QR codes as part of your overall marketing and profit strategy, 888.865.4888.