iWorld by Sharad Agarwal

Grow Your Business with QR Codes

QR Codes are a fantastic new way to connect with your customers

A QR code, abbreviated from Quick Response code is a type of matrix barcode. QR Codes were first created in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. More recently, the concept has become extremely popular due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity.

The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. (as shown above). The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data (e.g., binary, alphanumeric, or Kanji symbols).

While traditional bar codes are linear one dimensional codes and can only hold up to 20 numerical digits, QR codes are two-dimensional 2D matrix barcodes that can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information. Their ability to hold more information and their ease of use makes them practical for small businesses. An astonishing 7,089 characters can be encoded in one QR code!

When you scan or read a QR code with your iPhone, Android or other camera enabled Smartphone, you can link to digital content on the web; activate a number of phone functions including email, IM and SMS and connect the mobile device to a web browser. What could be better than sending people from traditional, static media to digitally engaging content in one click?

QR Codes recently have become a hot subject for marketing agencies and social media practitioners looking to stand out from everyone else to do something creative, cool and novel campaigns.

The applications of using QR codes in business are limited only by creativity.

The recent Calvin Klein ‘Get It Uncensored’ campaign makes for a good case study. Calvin Klein replaced what some would call a ‘racy’ photo with a giant QR Code. If you scanned the Calvin Klein QR Code it would take you to a Calvin Klein ‘racy’ movie.

Starbucks has launched a QR code program designed to let consumers learn more about its coffee. This is bringing to the Starbucks consumer the ability to interact with the brand.

Inside the Macy's "Star" a QR Code is embeded and it links to a YouTube video with exclusive content from many of famous and popular stars. You can scan the code and get tips from P Diddy, Jessica Simpson, Martha Stewart and even Tommy Hilfiger.

Some other common applications of QR Codes are:

  • On business cards
  • Brochures and other marketing materials
  • Print Ads
  • The sides of trucks and trailers
  • Product tags and packaging
  • Convention and event name tags
  • Restaurant menus
  • Event ticket stubs
  • Boarding passes in airlines
  • Point-of-sale receipts
  • Leverage YouTube videos

The potential for QR Codes is limitless. What’s most exciting is how they take what social media is doing now, bringing people together with technology, and extending it to enhance the experience.

The next generation of barcodes will hold even more information – so much that an Internet connection may not even be necessary!

Send your comments to sharad@cyber-gear.com

QR Codes Glossary

QR Code Generators – There are a number of sites for generating QR codes and they’re all free. An Internet search for QR code generator will offer many choices. eg. qrcode.kaywa.com - You can use it to create QR codes that link to a web page, text, phone numbers, or SMS.

QR Code Readers – The QR code reader app that works well on an iPhone is i-nigma.com, which claims to be the most widely used reader in the world.

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