Illustration of an iPhone scanning a QR code
The QR (Quick Response) bar code has been with us for a while since 1994 in fact – bet that’s surprised you! But until recently, their use had appeared to be diminishing. But they are back big time! 
A study by Juniper Research found that 5.3 billion QR code coupons would be redeemed by smartphones in 2022. What makes the QR code the ‘comeback king’ of the year is that this figure represents a huge 300% increase on 2017 estimates. 
The main driver for the comeback of QR codes in recent years has been the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. These Quick Response codes provided a contactless solution for many businesses, particularly in the hospitality and leisure industries. Marketers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon and are now using them in various ways as a promotional tool, like sharing additional information, accessing special discounts and enhancing the customer’s digital experience. 
So, now that consumers are as aware of QR codes as businesses are, is it time you should use them? That’s what we’re going to find out. If you’re unsure if you should use them or how they could benefit your business, we have the lowdown on the who, what, where and how of QR codes. 

What is a QR code? 

Let’s start with the basics; you will be familiar with a bar code as it’s found on almost every product you buy. A QR, or Quick Response, code is slightly different because it is a 2D (two-dimensional) bar code. 
The bar code connects the user with online information via a smartphone, tablet, or other device’s digital camera, which is stored on a supplier’s database. 
The code is a combination of black and white squares (pixels), machine-readable, and interpreted using a system processor. They can store an array of information, from URLs and contact data to email addresses, geolocation details, and text. 
Many of today’s QR codes can be generated cost-effectively, sometimes free if they are static codes. They don’t have a time limit for their use, so as long as the code incorporates a Quick Link and it’s active, the QR code can be used indefinitely. 

How do QR codes work? 

Once the QR code has been created, all you need is a phone that incorporates a digital camera or can use a QR code scanning app to scan the code. The phone or device will automatically scan the code when it hovers over the code for a matter of seconds. 
The QR code has evolved over the past few years to the point where businesses can now take payments via a code. Indeed, HMRC has added a QR code to their SA250 Self-Assessment welcome letter and notes, linking to the relevant GOV.UK web page and providing access to HMRC’s Digital Assistant and contact details. 

Where are QR codes used? 

Different industries use QR codes in various ways, such as taking payments, customer orders, contactless options, and marketing. Some of the most popular ways to use QR codes include: 

● More secure contactless payments 

Probably one of the main reasons why QR codes became so popular during the pandemic is using them for contactless payments. Customers and staff can significantly reduce the level of contact between each other, with buyers able to scan the code and pay directly via their mobile device, including tips! 

● Environmentally friendly 

Being able to provide menus and other information directly to a mobile device via a QR code means that businesses don’t need to produce any physical materials, such as brochures, menus, price lists, or product information. It also allows businesses to instantly update specific details, prices, and availability. 

● Create interactive/immersive marketing campaigns 

QR codes generate highly interactive and immersive advertising campaigns using visual information, including videos, graphics, and maps, to launch products, promote a service, offer an enhanced customer experience, and act as a location identifier. 

● Enhance your customer’s experience 

Boosting and improving the customer experience is the Holy Grail for businesses today across a wide range of industries. Adding a QR code to a product, on an advertising campaign, in a marketing promotion, on a billboard, on a shelf, or anywhere it is visible adds to the customer’s experience with your business. 

● Generates engagement 

QR codes can be used to offer special discounts, sign up for newsletters, join loyalty programmes, ask for reviews, and a host of other options for generating customer engagement. They are also useful for building a social media profile following. 

A practical example for websites 

A QR code can be generated for a website landing page which may have specific information or an incentive, and that QR code is used in marketing campaigns to drive traffic to that page and the wider website. 
Using QR codes, particularly as they are relatively quick and simple to generate, gives businesses a flexible yet powerful marketing tool. 

Why should you use a QR code? 

A QR code is a good option if you’re looking for a cost-effective marketing tool to reach your customers, increase productivity and boost revenues. Here are some more reasons why you should be using them. 
● Boosts website SEO (search engine optimisation) and SMO (social media optimisation) activity by increasing traffic to searchable objects and encouraging sharing. 
● Link your offline and online marketing and promotional activity. 
● Effective ‘call to action’ tool that can lead to ‘how to’ videos, email or call, further information, make a payment, book an appointment, get a discount code, lead generation landing page, sign up or register – the list is endless! 
● Promotes information sharing across all online and digital channels, creating better engagement and improving customer relationships. 
● Allows you to get creative in what you deliver to users, but there are also various ways to present your QR code besides just a black and white pixel box, such as personalised, branded, and customised colours. 
If you haven’t thought about using QR codes to promote your business or are not sure it’s the right option for you, we hope we’ve opened up a whole new marketing avenue for you. 
It’seeze Web Design Watford offers affordable website packages for start-ups and small businesses. 
We offer functionality to generate unique QR codes for free for any page of your website. 
We create professional, cost-effective, mobile-friendly websites bespoke to your company, incorporating a range of creative marketing tools to deliver a website you are proud of. Combining our easy-to-use website editor with ongoing expert local support, we build high-quality, easy-to-manage yet engaging websites that are fully SEO optimised for local searches. Contact us today to create the website of your dreams and turn your business into a success. 
Tagged as: QR Codes
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