You’ve probably seen those strange-looking black and white boxes (like the one on the left) popping up all over the place. You may have seen them on bus stations, websites, business cards, and more. What are they, and should my business pay attention to them?
They’re called “QR Codes” (short for “Quick Response Codes”) and are used to encode nearly any type of data. QR codes have become popular recently because they are perfect for transferring data to a smartphone or tablet. When a user scans a QR code with their device, any data stored in that code instantly appears on the smartphone/tablet.
Want to try it for yourself? If you have a smartphone/tablet, just download a free QR code reader app and use it to scan the QR Code on this page. It will pull up this blog post on your phone/tablet. Pretty cool, isn’t it? Now, let’s take a look at what type of data can be stored in a QR Code.
What type of data can be stored in a QR Code?
The short answer: Nearly anything. The long answer:
- Website URL
- YouTube Video
- Google Maps Location
- RSS Feed
- Download an app
- Plain Text
- Telephone Number
- SMS Message
- Email Address
- Email Message
- Contact Details
- Calendar Event
- Wifi Login (Android Only)
- Paypal Buy Now Link
Are you beginning to see how these things might be useful to your business? You could place them on print ads or business cards, linking to your website or your contact info. Restaurants could place them right inside the door, so patrons could scan the code and instantly pull up a menu or place an order on their phone. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
How to make QR codes?
They are incredibly easy to make. Just search for “QR Code Generator” on any search engine, and you’ll get a list of free options. Creating the code takes a few seconds. Here’s a link to a nice generator, in case you want to try it for yourself: http://zxing.appspot.com/generator/
As more and more people switch to smartphones, QR Codes are gradually growing in popularity. Should your business pay attention to them? Absolutely! They’re easy to make, easy to use, and incredibly versatile. I’ll bet that nearly any business could benefit from QR codes in one way or another.