What’s a QR Code?

qrcodesNever heard of a QR Code? Or maybe you have but you don’t really know how to use them. For retailers and consumers alike they can provide genuine benefits. First off, what is a QR code?

QR is short for Quick Response and it’s a matrix barcode which has been widely used in Japan for many years. They started originally in the car industry. The code is shown as a collection of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. They are used to take a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your mobile phone. Today, QR codes are used in a wide range of applications from ticketing to product labeling.

The main reason they have now become mainstream is because of the increased adoption of smartphones. Marketers are now putting QR codes on their products and packaging. Consumers then download QR scanner apps to their mobile phones in order to scan these codes. A common way for marketers to us a QR code is to display it in a magazine advertisement or on outdoor media such as posters or buses. Another common application is on business cards.

The code generally contains a URL link to specific product information or the company’s website. It’s a very versatile offering from a promotional point of view. The list of applications is endless really. You can stick a QR code on a piece of fruit for example to provide nutritional information. It may give you details about a particular product or business. Or, if it was on a t-shirt, it could give you details about the person wearing that t-shirt (good applications are possible with pop stars for example). Other example links may be to a movie trailer or to get a discount coupon.

This whole process has been referred to as “hardlinking” i.e. linking the physical to the virtual world. QR codes can be used in most mobile devices. Many Android, Nokia, Blackberry handsets come with QR code readers already installed. QR Codes can also provide benefits from a search marketing point of view. For example, the code can be placed in business listings directories. If you add the code to your website, Google will see that your pages have changed, and that you are updating pages. They will then index accordingly. New content is always beneficial from an SEO point of view.

A QR code can be generated from a site such as Kaywa. Alternatively, if you have your own developer, you can use the open source code.

Adaptive Consultancy is a London based internet marketing company specializing in website design, eCommerce, and internet marketing. Learn more about this web agency at: http://www.adaptiveconsultancy.com/website-design/

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Eddie Prentice