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Growth Of The QR Code

50% of all businesses reported using QR codes in 2012, compared to just 8% in 2011. In the same period QR code scans by consumers increased nearly 400% from 2011 to 2012.

Quick Response codes, more commonly known as QR codes, are everywhere. You can find them in magazines, on product packaging, and supermarket coupons to name a few. In fact it has become difficult to find advertising material without them. 2013 numbers are projected to be equally impressive.

So why have QR codes picked up so much steam in 2013 when they were created almost 20 years ago in 1994? Here are 3 reasons to partially explain this explosion.

  1. Increasing use of mobile devices

The numbers for the adoption and use of mobile devices is staggering. By 2016, it is projected there will be more mobile devices than human beings on the planet. As mobile devices become more powerful, manufacturers are including better cameras at higher resolutions. All it takes to scan a QR code is a smart phone with a camera and a free app. This can replace the consumers need to remember and type long URLs to go directly to specific web pages. As the number of people with QR code capable smart phones increases so does the number of potential customers that companies can target with QR codes.

  1. Easy to reproduce and print

Once your QR codes are created they are extremely easy to reproduce and print. Special printers aren’t required and almost any flat surface large enough for the code can be used. This means everything from a bumper sticker to a billboard is fair game. With such a low-cost of entry to use this technology, even the small businesses or startup with an ink-jet printer can afford to use QR codes in their marketing efforts.

Some websites provide do-it-yourself creation of QR codes while other companies charge for enhanced services to create custom QR codes to your specifications. This gives you additional options to have colorized, logo-branded versions that can be pointed to targeted web-pages. Additionally benefits like accompanied shortened URLs and analytics to track customer usage in real-time can be purchased and used as part of a larger QR code based marketing campaign.

  1. Bridging offline and online content

The growth of smart phones has been followed by an increasing trend to use mobile devices to access the internet. As companies used social media to reach out to their customers it widened the gap between the physical stores and their online counterparts. QR codes can serve as a bridge between these two worlds. QR codes can be used to drive customers to the physical store and then used to play short videos describing the benefits of a scanned product or to notify someone of a special in-store promotion once they get there. The possibilities are endless given a small amount of creativity.

The Perfect Screwdriver

So here is a real-world use story for you. I went to one of my favorite retail stores known for having unique items. As I walked around I found an interesting mobile desk I thought perfect for a small area I sometimes drag my laptop to work from. As I looked at the box, I quickly realized that assembly would be required. I tend to shy away from products like this since I seem to never have the right tools even when no tools required is stated on the instructions. Assembly often requires more than two hands putting me in contorted states trying to hold one piece with my foot, while holding another piece with my hand leaving one hand free to screw it together. Hesitantly, I decide to give it a try allowing myself to forget the intimate details of my bookshelf fiasco only few months ago. So now home with my new purchase, I clear an area in which to work. I lay out the parts to make sure they are accounted for and briefly glance over the assembly instructions. Knowingly this is where I often make my biggest mistake in that I don't follow the instructions closely enough. This often accounts for the additional bolt or screw or other questionable piece left over after I have completed my projects. So as I finish glancing over the instructions at the bottom of the final page I notice a QR code. So armed with the latest and greatest smart phone in my back pocket I scan the code. Now I am on a page thanking me for my purchase of this specific product. A 3 point bullet list on what made this product so great and finally on the same page a one click video that gave me a step-by-step walk through of the entire assembly process. This gave me the ability to follow along and pause or replay as needed until complete. Embarrassingly enough, this is the first time I've ever assembled something and didn't have extra parts left over. So as I sit in my quiet space at my mobile desk I give special thanks to a company for not only making a great product but also for their great use of a QR code.

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“QR Code” is a registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED

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