What’s Your QR IQ?

QR codes

What is a QR Code?

What do a shampoo bottle, a realtor’s business card, and a bag of dog food have in common? They all likely carry a QR code. These black-andwhite coded squares are now visible on the packages of many of our favorite products. So what exactly are QR codes and how do they work? Short for “quick response,” a QR code is a bar code that can be scanned and read by a smartphone. Recently, they have become a phenomenon in the advertising and social media world, popping up everywhere as a means of giving consumers a quick, easy way to learn more about a product and the people and companies behind it.

What do QR codes do?

First developed and used in Japan in the 1990’s as a speedy way to track vehicle parts, QRs have caught on in the digital world as a way to interact with clients and consumers. Scanning a QR code is similar to clicking on a link, but with options that extend further than just landing on a website. For example, the QR code on your shampoo bottle may direct you to a digital coupon, a realtor’s QR code may insert his or her contact information into your phone’s contact list, or the QR code on the dog food bag might direct you to a webpage containing information about a contest to find the world’s cutest pooch.

How do I scan one?

To participate in the latest social phenomenon, all you need to do is download a free QR code reader from your smart phone’s app store. Once installed, the open application will use the camera option on your phone to scan the QR code. It will then direct you to a website, prompt your phone to compose an email or receive a text message, or even send you an invitation to an event that you can add right to your calendar.

How can I use QRs to benefit my business?

QR codes aren’t just for big corporations and multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns. There are many free QR code generators available online that you can use to create your own code to add to a direct mail piece, directory ad or your business card. Some QR code generators even provide tracking information such as how many people have scanned the code.