QR Codes: More than Just Internet Marketing Chic!
QR codes are quickly gaining traction here in the US. With almost 1/3 of Americans (ages 12 and up) carrying smartphones, and given the spontaneous and instantaneous nature of the web, it’s very little surprise that QR codes are becoming accepted at an amazing rate! Add to this, the viral nature of most marketing strategies, and you get an even broader appeal. Heck, even the US Postal Service sees the QR code potential, and is planning to run a special Mobile Barcode Promotion later this summer.
What are QR codes?
QR codes (Quick Response) are 2-dimensional barcodes that were originally designed for inventory tracking. You’ve probably used QR codes without even realizing it – like when you’ve rented a movie from any of those RedBox machines. The little checkerboard-looking code in the middle of that DVD case is a QR code which is scanned inside the machine to help it know which movies are available at that location. At any time, RedBox knows who has what DVD, where and when they returned it, or if it’s been reserved online and needs to be made unavailable until it’s picked up… all using QR codes.
Most smartphone and web-enabled phones have QR code readers available, allowing anyone to take a picture of any QR code and instantly trigger whatever event was intended. In most cases, it might be a link to a specific website or video, but can also be used to add someone’s information to your phone's contact list, or to enroll in SMS/text message promotions. The possibilities are endless, and MANY marketers are jumping at the chance to find now and creative ways to use QR codes.
Why use QR codes?
Aside from the “cool” factor which might appeal those who get excited by tech, there are so many practical reasons for using QR codes: