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QR Codes

picture of smartphone scanning qr code

As their popularity increases, more and more businesses are evaluating if QR codes are the right match for their business needs.

Quick Response codes — the square barcode-like symbols that can be read by mobile phones — are popping up everywhere: in publications, in advertisements, on packaging and on signs. By mid-2011, 14 million consumers were using QR codes to access additional information about a product or service, and more businesses are starting to use them as coupons.

How can businesses get in on this growing trend?

Most companies — even those that regularly use QR code technology — are just scratching the surface in terms of exploiting the versatility and potential of the codes. Many businesses put the codes on their packaging simply as a means of persuading people to visit their websites, but they can be used for so much more.

  • Some companies are using QR codes to direct people to undertake an action, for example, “Scan here to subscribe” or “Scan here to get a discount on your next purchase.” QR codes that contain these types of messages directing or inviting people to take a specific action can result in greater response rates, sometimes dramatically so.
  • Other companies have graduated to more sophisticated uses of the technology, such as placing QR codes on packaging that allow those who scan them to view product instructions, specifications or compatibility requirements. Another advanced way of using the codes gives users the ability to view videos of product demonstrations, product comparisons, and the like.

The answer to whether a business should be using QR codes is not simple. Business owners must make that determination based on their own objectives and whether the use of QR codes will help them achieve those objectives. Companies whose clients or customers do not closely follow technology trends — for example, those whose customers don’t have mobile phones or aren’t avid users of mobile technology — will probably have little use for QR codes.

These codes clearly have the potential to radically alter how a company’s customers interact with its products and services, but this transformation will take time, happening in increments as companies and consumers become more accustomed to and comfortable with the technologies QR codes depend on.

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This information is general in nature, is provided for educational purposes only, and should not be relied on or interpreted as accounting, financial planning, investment, legal or tax advice. Regions neither endorses nor guarantees this information, and encourages you to consult a professional for advice applicable to your specific situation.