Not too long ago, QR codes seemed outdated. You probably easily recognized them; the pixilated look of these black-and-squares made them somewhat iconic, almost like artistic motifs. However, you might have long remained none the wiser about exactly how they worked.
QR – or “quick response” – codes were invented in 1994, Forbes recalls – and allow users to access a wealth of digital content simply by scanning the code with their phone. However, while that all sounds simple in theory, QR codes were slow to live up to their early promise. Here are a few reasons why they now do…
Ease of use
Theoretically, many brands have always had QR code functionality at their ready disposal, enabling marketers to slap them on various materials alongside a prompt urging people who see the code to scan it. Doing so could lead them straight to a website, video, game… the list goes on.
However, for a long time, one big stumbling block was that users could only scan QR codes by using a specialist app dedicated to the purpose. Apple and Google dragged their feet in embedding QR code-scanning functionality natively into the mobile operating systems iOS and Android respectively.
Today, it’s a very different story, with iPhone and Android handset wielders now only needing to get a QR code into the viewfinder of their phones’ built-in camera apps in order to scan. Therefore, you can point out this intuitiveness of reading QR codes when you include them on your marketing materials.
The pandemic factor
Another reason why QR codes are now rising in adoption is the hospitality industry’s drive to ensure as touch-free an experience for its customers as possible in our pandemic age. Today, the idea of gripping a physical, card-like menu that other customers have touched is understandably no longer as appealing.
“Up until now, a QR code, certainly to me, has just been a collection of black and white patterns on a billboard or on a bus stop or wherever,” Edmund Inkin, a co-owner of the UK hotel chain Eat Drink Sleep, recently admitted to WIRED, adding: “I’d never really thought of using them.”
However, today, visitors to the chain’s hotels in Cornwall and Wales can bring up the food menu, drinks list and room booking details just by scanning a QR code.
Creative ways you can implement QR codes in your marketing
One significant advantage of including dynamic – rather than old-fashioned static – QR codes in your marketing campaigns is that you can regularly tweak and update the content the code leads to without having to change or replace the graphic itself.
This is especially useful if you want to use QR codes to offer curated or personalized goodies, as this Forbes article suggests. Alternatively, a QR code could link to your company’s app or Yelp listing. Now, by investing in printing equipment from a company like Duplo International, you can prepare to start printing QR codes onto a wide array of marketing materials, such as cards, flyers, brochures and booklets.