QR Code Hisory.
While QR codes are still considered a novelty here in the United States, they’ve been actively used for over a decade in Japan where they were invented. QR is a registered trademark of Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. Denso Wave has elected not to exercise their patent rights of QR codes and that has encouraged their widespread use.
There are other software companies that have created 2D codes that work much like QR codes, with Microsoft being the most notable. Microsoft developed their own proprietary software to create codes known as MS tags. Unlike QR codes, which can be read by a number of different readers, MS tags can only be read by the Microsoft Tag Reader.
What is a QR Code?
They come to us from Japan where they are very common. QR is short for Quick Response (they can be read quickly by a cell phones and other mobile devices). They are a 2D or Matrix barcode. You may soon see QR Codes in a magazine advert, on a billboard, a web page or even on someone’s t-shirt.
Once it is in your cell phone, it may give you details about that business (allowing users to search for nearby locations), or details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.
The reason why they are more useful than a standard barcode is that they can store (and digitally present) much more data, including url links, geo coordinates, and text. The other key feature of QR Codes is that instead of requiring a chunky hand-held scanner to scan them, many modern cell phones can scan them.
How they can help your business.
They convey more information than the barcodes you see at the grocery store. They can be scanned with smart phones and tablet computers to open a Web page, play a video, or even place a call. The technology has been around for years, but only recently has it been embraced by U.S. retailers and other companies looking for fresh ways to connect with customers. The number of QR scans recorded by the industry’s leading code maker has soared to 2 million a month.
How can you use them to help grow your business? You can use them for sharing, with a video or landing page, an entire eBook and even multiple pieces of content that share a common link. Sharing is how you build community, such as with Facebook. You can mobilize the scanners to take action, such as alternating special offers by simply linking your QR codes tonew landing pages or combine them with email opt-ins to build your list. You can use QR codes to link to specific blog posts that have earned an abundance of activity.
You can maximize your effectiveness with QR codes by linking them to instructions, sources for replacement parts and service, directions to your business, valuable coupons and special offers, free mp3 downloads, customer feedback forms, even recommendations for complementary products and services.The Home Depot recently launched its QR initiative where consumers are able to scan codes located on their website and/or on products around the store to receive product information, installation instructions, how-to-guides, videos and product reviews.
Even restaurants are using them, using WalkIN, a startup that slows consumers to scan a restaurant’s QR code on their website to save a spot on the restaurant’s waiting list. Restaurants are able to adjust wait times and manually add new guests to the list with an iOS or HTML5 app. Many of the major airlines are now using 2D codes as digital boarding passes.
Even Lady GaGa has partnered with Starbucks for a promotion that’s triggered by scanning QRs on signs in the coffee shops. Some trendy bars are putting them on drink glasses. And here is a really interesting way to use them—Levi Smith, owner of Jade Monkey Tattoo parlor in Phoenix, has been inking QR codes onto customers since early 2011. “If I want a tattoo memorial to my family, I don’t want to devote a quarter of my body to listing my family members,” Smith said. “You can put an incredible amount of information on the QR codes and save space.”
So, in business, where can you use them? On your business card, brochures and other marketing materials, product tags and packaging, convention and event nametags, restaurant menus, event ticket stubs, point-of-sale receipts, or even the sides of trucks and trailers. The potential for QR Codes is limitless. What’s most exciting is how they take what social media is doing well now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience.
The next generation of barcodes will hold even more information, so much that an Internet connection will not even be necessary. The content will be effectively embedded in the code. Imagine scanning a digital code to manifest physical reality? It’s amazing to consider where this can go. So, get started today, get one for your business and start QR marketing