What are QR Codes?

First of all it might be useful to explain a little bit about what they are. WikiPedia gives the definition:-

A QR code (short for Quick Response) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode readers and camera phones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be text, URL or other data.

WebMedia Facebook QR code

Click, use your mobile camera and see where it goes!*

We are all aware of barcodes and see them in use each and everytime we visit or buy almost anything these days but the most obvious is when shopping at our local supermarket.

Product pricing and information retrieval

If we use the self-checkout channels we know we need to pass each item in our basket over or past the scanner. The price embedded in the barcode is automatically added to our bill.

In the case of supermarket checkouts they contain and are used for more than simply charging you the correct price.

They also collect purchase and demographic data used for stock management, and where used in conjunction with loyalty card schemes, marketing and targeting offers to specific interest/purchase segments of their customer base.

QR codes can be used in very much the same way and can embed a variety of different information and actions.

Don Crowther compiled the list below of some of the ways business might use them. Not all will be applicable to every business but some might and the list itself is not exhaustive and you can probably come up with some of your own:-

  1. Put One On Your Business Card
    Put a code on your business card containing all of your contact information
  2. Put It On A T-Shirt
    Then people get sent where you want them to go
  3. Put It On Price Tags In A Store
    Taking them to a specs page online (Best Buy does this quite effectively)
  4. Put It On Your Website Contact Us Page
    People take a picture of your page on the screen, put you in their contact list
  5. Put It On Your Instruction Sheet
    People scan it to get step-by-step instructions
    Or maybe a video
  6. Put It In Print Ads
    People scan to be taken to a specific landing page on your website (also allows you to put tracking codes into your print ad analytics, something that’s difficult to do otherwise)
  7. Put It On A Campaign Sign
    Taking people to your website
  8. Put It On A For-Sale Sign
    Take them to a website with video and information about the item being sold:- 

    • House
    • Car
    • Bulletin Board
  9. Put It On Your Luggage
    If your luggage ever gets lost
  10. Create One That Automatically Sends a Tweet
    Scanning it sends out a tweet
  11. Do A Location Login
    Put on every table and the walls of your restaurant, does a foursquare login/post or a Facebook location login/post
  12. Add To Your LinkedIn Page
    Passes your contact information or website or a special offer
  13. Call Us To Place Your Order
    Scan dials their phone
  14. Send a Teaser Postcard
    Send a QR code to a potential client, which takes them to your website
  15. Put It On Your Conference Nametag
    Contact information or website
  16. Put A Backsell On Your Invoice
    Taking them to a landing page making a special offer
  17. Put One On The End Of A Video
    Takes them to a landing page, can pass source codes
  18. Paypal Buy Link
    Scanning takes them to Paypal to buy your item
  19. Promote An Event
    Scanning the code puts it on their calendar
  20. Announce Your Free Wifi
    Scanning logs them into your wifi account
  21. Put It In Your Powerpoint Presentation
    Build your list by sending them to a special bonus offer if they sign up

If you can come up with any others post them below and give them a go and see where they could take you!

* Only works with smartphones with qr code reader app installed. Most new smartphones often have one pre-installed.
Share This