The rebirth of QR codes
I need to start this article by apologising to a colleague (who shall remain nameless). In 2013, he enthusiastically suggested we use QR codes to promote a regular event we were holding, and I smugly rejected his idea with an “oh no, QR codes are so last year”. I fear he may have had the last laugh on the topic.
The pandemic resuscitated the QR code
We know that Covid-19 has accelerated our adoption of new technologies (Teams, Zoom etc) and resurrected & rejuvenated some old technology – like QR codes. The NHS were one of the first to utilise them with their national Track and Trace posters. Restaurants were quick to follow by replacing their paper menus with QR codes on each table.
A QR code stat
Between 2018 and 2020, there has been a 96% increase in people using QR codes. This is partly down to the pandemic but also because we have access to high-speed broadband and most of us own a smartphone. For me, the main improvement is that we don’t need to download an annoying app to scan a QR code. Our smartphone cameras do all the hard work for us.
Random QR code fact
QR codes were first invented by a Japanese company, Denso Wave in 1994.
The big brands and QR codes
Brands such as Emirates, Nike, Amazon boost their brands by using QR codes to enhance customer engagement, increase ROI and ultimately improve conversion rates. QR codes have helped brands across the world elevate their business during challenging times.
QR codes are appearing on more packaging too. Barcodes have been around for decades, but QR codes are now being developed into intelligent packaging technologies where a label is scanned so that detailed information about the product is provided.
So how can a QR code help a small business?
Here are just a few ways they can be used:
- As a call to action
- Link it to one of your social media platforms
- Link to your website to drive traffic (remember to create a specific landing page)
- Competitions and downloads to increase customer loyalty
- On posters or signage to help customers find you – particularly good if your physical space is off the beaten track. Include your opening times
- As a means for your customers to leave feedback (leave cards on tables or in packages)
- For marketers, use them to ascertain which of your campaigns is performing best (tracking response, engagement & conversion data)
- Share your contact details at networking events. Prospects just need to scan the QR code and save the details on their smartphones for future reference.
And, to the anonymous colleague I referenced earlier, I am sorry for being smug. You were right.
PS I used Shopify QR Code Generator to generate my QR code.