The QR Code, abbreviation for the Quick Response Code, is a type of bar code defined by its distinct square shape with smaller squares and monochromatic pixels. It was invented in Japan by Toyota in 1994 to increase the efficiency of the production of vehicles by scanning and tracking the vehicle components at high speed during the manufacturing process. Today, these QR codes are gaining increasing popularity as a marketing tool among companies from a wide variety of industries. Most QR codes can be found on flyers, brochures, newspapers, magazines, bus stop signs, posters, store windows, product packaging and much more.
As QR codes are a fairly recent trend, implementing them as part of your marketing strategy will certainly spark the inquisition of customers. With the rapid adoption of smartphones, many consumers may easily download the QR code scanner application on their mobile devices for free. Providing incentives such as exclusive coupons and offers via QR codes would certainly entice consumers to do so.
Commercial QR Codes are essentially hyperlinks. When scanned, the QR code will direct the person who scanned it to a specific URL. Apart from coupons and offers, consumers may also be provided with links about a product description, company information, offer and contest details, event information, coupons, video(s), social media pages and much more. QR codes allow consumers to interact with advertisements. They are a fun way to immediately engage customers while allowing them to learn more about your company and the services and/or products you offer.
Examples of Interesting Ways QR Codes are Used
QR Codes may be found on movie posters. Scanning the code may bring the user to a link showing the trailer, reviews and show timings in the city.
This is a mobile application targeted at post-secondary school students in Toronto. It allows students to scan QR codes and receive exclusive discounts at participating stores which include a wide variety of restaurants, cafes and clothing stores.
At Starbucks, customers may scan QR codes as a form of micro payment. Instead of an actual gift card, virtual gift cards at Starbucks may also be used via QR codes.
In Japan, McDonald’s places QR codes on all their packaging to allow customers to digitally view the nutritional information of each item purchased.
5) Virtual store
In South Korea, a grocery chain called Tesco Home plus allows public transit commuters to purchase groceries on the go at subway stations via multiple QR codes displayed on billboards. Groceries purchased will be delivered to their doorsteps. In August 2012, Tesco decided to internationally expand its virtual grocery store by entering the UK market and establishing it at London’s Gatwick Airport.
Check out this YouTube video about Tesco Home plus’ virtual store in S. Korea
While most QR codes are paper-based hyperlinks, QR codes may also be placed on websites and social media pages which direct visitors to exclusive discounts, product and/or service information or even to purchase a product via their mobile device.
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