QR Codes: the Superheroes of Barcodes?

QR Code

It seems like these strange little pixilated boxes have been appearing on almost everything lately. In fact, you may have been wondering what those strange little black and white pixelalated boxes are.

Those little boxes, called QR codes or Quick Response codes have been around for several years, but with the onset of smart phones, they’re becoming more and more common.  Now that I know what they are, I seem to see them everywhere! And if you haven’t seen them around, chances are, you’ll take notice of them now.

So, what are QR codes?

QR codes are like the superhero version of the bar codes that retailers use to track sales or inventory.  While plain ol’ bar codes are one-dimensional, linear blobs of info that can hold up to 20 alphanumeric digits, QR codes are two dimensional and can hold thousands of characters of information.  In fact, it’s possible to share an entire e-book with a QR code.

More often QR codes are used for marketing efforts. If you were to scan the QR code above, for example, it would take you to the Ecreative Internet Marketing website.

How do QR codes help people and businesses?

QR codes help businesses and marketing efforts by connecting people not only with each other, but with useful content. The applications for QR codes are limitless.

Some places I have seen QR codes lately:

  • a rebate on oil in a car magazine
  • a business card
  • concert tickets
  • Google Favorite Places checkins
  • billboards
  • LP’s
  • Sunday circulars
  • boarding passes
  • back of waitstaff’s shirt at a restaurant

Want to try it yourself?

First, you must have a smartphone with an integrated camera. Secondly, you must have a barcode reader app. The particular app that seems to work best for my iPhone is the free app called Barcode Scanner by ZXing team. They also make an Android app.

There are also a multitude of sites that are able to generate QR codes. The one that I like best is Kaywa .

Where have you seen QR Codes? What tactics have you seen to maximize and track their effectiveness?