QR Codes - A Crash Course


You’ve seen QR codes -- they’re hard to avoid. They’re those little squares that look like the image at the top of this page.

What Is A QR Code?

A QR code (Quick Response Code) is similar to a bar code, but more information can be stored in less space. They are used for encoding information in magazines, advertisements, web sites as well as on TV.

How Do They Work?

To scan QR codes, all you’ll need a smart phone with your camera app open. Just point your phone at the code in your viewfinder for a few seconds and you’ll see a notification with a link. Click on the link and off you go to a webpage, interactive ad or video associated with the QR code.

What QR Codes Do For Your Business

With QR codes, consumers don’t need to remember your web site URL to find you.  They’re more likely to go to your website, and spend more time there. Users are more likely to make a purchase, sign up for something, or interact with the business than someone who saw a URL or a catch phrase in an ad.

What Can I Do With QR Codes?

QR codes are great for inking to content on smartphones. They are often used to link to content on websites. Android uses them to link directly to apps in the Android Marketplace, while Google uses them to promote local businesses (and itself) with the Google Places business directory.

How Do I Create QR Codes

Everyone can make them. Just search for “QR code generators” and you’ll find a host of websites that help you easily make your own QR code.

Do Consumers Actually Use QR Codes?

That’s the big question. Although hundreds of millions of QR codes are being generated every year, customers are not scanning them as often as expected. There is research showing an increasing number of people are scanning QR codes.  But, there aren’t statistics that show repeat usage by consumers.

Part of the problem seems to be that QR codes are often misused. Many businesses use them to redirect users to the website homepage — in other words, a dead end.  So, when you use QR codes, make sure you give the customer what they’re looking for.


Bob Levy