What's a QR Code?
It looks like a strange crossword puzzle or a Tetris game gone wrong, but a QR code is one of the best marketing tools available today. A QR code is essentially a 2D barcode, and QR stands for "Quick Response". You might call it a cousin of the traditional bar codes that are commonly seen on product packaging. But a QR code has capabilities that make it far superior to bar codes and perfect for marketing purposes. And the best part is that they're free to create and use.
The QR code was originally created back in 1994 in Japan by a company called Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. The purpose was to help track auto parts in their factories. Parts were labeled with a unique QR code, which could be scanned to access extensive information about the part. But because of the ability of QR codes to store large amounts of information, soon they were being used to store customer data, shipping data, product numbers, quantities, and more--all within a single code.
Denso shared their technology with others and soon QR codes were being used by many companies to help track manufacturing data and to assist with logistics. Eventually, marketers in Japan began to take notice of the QR code and saw its potential as a marketing tool. With the extensive penetration of smart phones in the country, it was just a matter of time before QR codes would begin to appear everywhere in Japan and become an integral part of marketing there.
Today, mobile phones sold in Japan come pre-loaded with a QR code reader. The QR code reader app uses the phone's camera to scan and read the code. The combination of smart phone penetration in Japan along with the QR code have opened up unique marketing opportunities that the rest of the world, including the United States, are now beginning to follow.
QR Code Uses
One popular use for QR codes is storing a URL, and when scanned by a mobile phone, it takes the user to the website. That ability in itself is a very powerful marketing tool for businesses. As a business, you can print your QR code on just about anything and it can link anyone with a smart phone to your online presence, no matter where they are, no computer or tethered internet connection needed. A QR code can also be coded to automatically create an email, a text message, initiate a phone call, play a video, download a mobile coupon, link to Facebook or Twitter, link to iTunes, provide product or nutritional information, and on and on. Uses for QR codes are only limited by your imagination. But you can no doubt see their wide and varied uses and understand how QR codes can easily find a place in your business marketing toolkit.
Click here to go to our color QR code creation tool. It's free and easy to use. You're welcome to create as many as you'd like. It's our way of sharing this new, powerful marketing tool with you. We also offer custom QR code design as a means of branding your QR codes and to help differentiate yours from all of the others out there. And if you need some ideas as to how your particular business can implement QR codes in your marketing, feel free to call us or send us a message anytime. We'll be glad to help.