ZD Design Blog

QR Codes, What’s in it for you?

QR Codes 101

Many professionals believe that QR codes also known as “quick response” codes are the new technology trend to watch for in 2011. But what exactly is a QR code and how can businesses use them to differentiate themselves from the competition?

What is a QR code?

A QR code is a type of bar code that encodes information in a small square. Businesses can put these barcodes in their store windows, a sandwich board on the street, on posters and advertisements and even on their business cards and t-shirts. There are almost limitless possibilities were a business can place them. Anyone with a Smartphone can snap a picture of that QR code and it will link them to a particular web page. It can link directly to a particular page on the business website, a video, a picture, or a daily deal at your business or even a Facebook or Twitter page.

Who is using them?

Everyone! And if you want to keep up I suggest you jump on the wagon. Take a look at Starbucks, they are using QR codes as a form of mobile payment. So far they have tested the idea in Seattle and San Francisco. Target is not too far behind them either, unveiling their own QR payment system in New York. It’s pretty cool. You can reload a Egift card through your smartphone and all you have to do is scan the QR code on your smartphone’s Starbucks application to a computer located at the front counter and your drink is paid for. The balance is then deducted from the Egift card and you have just purchased your drink. It’s the equivalent of a gift card but it saves Starbucks money for not having to produce a physical card and the consumer time and space in their wallet.

Can QR codes benefit your company?

QR codes can help benefit any company. The key to QR codes is to make it interesting. Don’t just send your consumers to your website homepage. Imagine walking into Starbucks and you see a coffee bag with a QR code, so you scan it. This then links you to a video of a farmer talking about the quality of the beans and how great Starbucks’ fair trade practices are. Or you pick up a coffee mug and scan the QR code and it links you to a video of a man discussing how Starbuck’s RED program (every time one of Starbucks’ RED products is purchased they donate money to help people in Africa, who currently have HIV/AIDs, receive vital medicine) helped his fight with AIDS. Doesn’t that make you want to buy those beans and mug? Starbucks is using QR codes to make the public aware of Starbuck’s ethics. Now that’s interactive!

Another way businesses are using QR codes is to link the public with their company. It’s a great way to advertise for your company all the time. Create a really cool t-shirt with a QR code as part of the graphic and wear that shirt around town and ask all your employees to as well. A good guarantee someone will snap a picture of that QR code. THEN BE CREATIVE! Link it up to a hip and trendy video about your company, what you do, and how you can help them solve their problems.

What can you do with QR codes?

  1. Put them on flyers and brochures
  2. Put them on T-shirts
  3. Put them on bulletin boards
  4. Paint one on the side of your car
  5. Put them on hats, mugs, and baby gear for your child
  6. Put them on your business cards, your website, or coupons to your customers

Be creative with where you put the QR codes and where you want the public to be taken to once they scan it. QR codes are the future and it’s important you stay in current with the competition.

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