QR codes are an incredibly effective way for businesses to interact and share information with customers.
QR codes are fast, convenient, and easy to use. If you’re a business owner looking for easy-to-implement ways to upgrade your customer’s experience, try Popl’s free QR code generator to create a custom QR code.
What Is a QR Code?
A QR code, or Quick Response code, is a two-dimensional barcode that consists of black and white squares arranged in a square grid. QR codes are designed to be scanned quickly and easily using a smartphone camera, and they can contain a variety of information, such as website URLs, product information, contact details, and more.
When a QR code is scanned using a smartphone, the device's camera captures the code, and specialized software or an app interprets the information contained within it. This information can then be used for a variety of purposes, such as linking to a website, adding a new contact to your address book, or making a payment.
QR codes are often used in marketing and advertising campaigns to provide consumers with easy access to information about products or services, but they can also be used in a variety of other contexts, such as event tickets, airplane boarding passes, and more.
When Did QR Codes Get So Popular?
QR codes first originated in 1994 by a Japanese company called Denso Wave. Initially, they were mainly used in the automotive industry for tracking inventory and parts. However, it wasn't until the widespread adoption of smartphones with built-in cameras and scanning apps that QR codes began to gain popularity as a means of easily accessing information.
The popularity of QR codes really began to take off in the early 2010s, as smartphones became increasingly common and more people began to use them to access information on the go. Around this time, businesses and marketers also began to recognize the potential of QR codes for advertising and marketing purposes, as they provided a quick and easy way to direct users to websites, product information, and more.
Since then, QR codes have continued to grow in popularity and are now used in a wide range of applications, from event tickets to mobile payments to contact tracing during the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of QR codes has also been boosted by the rise of mobile payment systems like Alipay and WeChat Pay in China, which rely heavily on QR codes for transactions.
How Many Businesses Use QR Codes?
While it's difficult to determine exactly how many businesses use QR codes, it's clear that they have become an increasingly important tool for businesses looking to provide customers with easy access to information, promotions, and transactions.
According to a report by Juniper Research, the number of QR code coupons redeemed via mobile devices is expected to reach 5.3 billion by 2022, up from 1.3 billion in 2017. This suggests that the use of QR codes in marketing and advertising is on the rise, as more businesses look to provide customers with easy access to information and promotional offers.
QR codes are also commonly used in mobile payments, particularly in China, where they are a key component of mobile payment systems like Alipay and WeChat Pay. According to a report by eMarketer, nearly 81% of smartphone users in China made a mobile payment using QR codes in 2020, highlighting the widespread adoption of this technology in the region.
Why Should Businesses Use QR Codes?
Businesses can benefit from using QR codes in a variety of ways. Here are some reasons why businesses should consider using QR codes:
- Easy access to information: QR codes provide a quick and easy way for customers to access information about products, services, promotions, and more. By scanning a QR code with their smartphone, customers can instantly access the information they need without having to type in a web address or search for information online.
- Increased engagement: QR codes can be used to encourage customer engagement, such as by offering exclusive discounts or promotions for customers who scan a code. This can help to build brand loyalty and encourage repeat business.
- Contactless transactions: QR codes can be used for contactless transactions, such as mobile payments, which are becoming increasingly popular in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. By offering contactless payment options, businesses can provide a safer and more convenient experience for customers.
- Tracking and analytics: QR codes can be used to track customer engagement and measure the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. By tracking how many times a QR code is scanned and what actions are taken after scanning, businesses can gain valuable insights into customer behavior and optimize their marketing strategies accordingly.
- Cost-effective: QR codes (like Popl’s free QR code creator) are a cost-effective way to provide customers with information and promotions, as they can be easily printed on a variety of materials and do not require any additional hardware or software.
How Can Entrepreneurs Use QR Codes?
Here are ten creative ways that entrepreneurs can use QR codes to help grow their business:
- Business cards: Use QR codes to create a digital business card for yourself and your employees. Digital business cards are the most effective way to share contact information and connect with customers.
- Product information: Use QR codes on product packaging or in-store displays to provide customers with easy access to product information, such as ingredients, reviews, and usage instructions.
- Loyalty programs: Use QR codes to create a digital loyalty program, where customers can earn rewards by scanning a code at checkout.
- Social media: Use QR codes to link to social media profiles, such as Instagram or Twitter, to encourage customers to follow and engage with your brand.
- Contactless payments: Use QR codes to facilitate contactless payments, either by linking to a payment gateway or a digital wallet like Alipay or WeChat Pay.
- Coupons and promotions: Use QR codes to offer exclusive coupons and promotions to customers who scan a code, either in-store or online.
- Events and conferences: Use QR codes on event tickets and name badges to provide attendees with access to event information, schedules, and speaker bios.
- Menu items: Use QR codes on restaurant menus to provide customers with more information about menu items, such as nutritional information or recipe details.
- Virtual tours: Use QR codes to provide customers with virtual tours of your business or products, either through a 360-degree video or a virtual reality experience.
- Feedback and surveys: Use QR codes to collect customer feedback and surveys, either in-store or online, to gather insights into customer satisfaction and preferences.