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QR Codes and Your Business

November 11, 2011

A QR or Quick response code is a type of barcode that was first designed for the automotive industry to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. They are similar to barcodes that retailers use, the main difference being the amount of information that QR codes can hold.

QR codes are two-dimensional (2D) matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. Their ability to hold more information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses. QR codes are very popular in Japan and Europe, and becoming increasingly popular in North America.

When you read a QR code with your smart phone, you can link to digital content on the internet, activate phone functions such as IM, SMS or email and connect your device to a web browser.

How it works:  in order to utilize QR codes, the user must have a smart phone with a camera and internet access.  Simply download a QR Scanner application on your device.  Then when you see a QR code and you’d like more information, you simply scan the code with your device.

For example, Tim Horton’s is actively using QR codes right now to both rate their service and have customers enter a contest.  Customers use their smart phones to scan the code which takes them to a survey website.  Each code at each Tim Horton’s is specific to that location.   Sobey’s has jumped on the bandwagon as well, displaying QR codes to weekly specials in their stores.

Many of the major airlines are now using 2D codes as digital boarding passes.  Apparently by the end of 2011 all carriers will be required to provide this service for international flights.  However, it’s a good idea to save the QR code as an image just in case internet access is not available.

Many businesses can benefit from using QR codes – directing users to their website, Facebook pages or Twitter feeds or other online content.

QR Codes have a variety of uses – adding a QR code to your business card easily directs traffic to your site or your phone number or text message.
Other uses include labeling – including a code on your product’s label can direct your customer to additional information. They can also be used to generate Likes/Follows, send to special promotions or discounts, used in on site store displays to give the customer special offers or information.  It can also be set up to make the phone ring – you can literally generate a code to dial a phone number, making it even easier to connect with your audience.

If you have online content you’d like to share with mobile users, it may be a great tool for your business.

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