The resurgence of QR codes

Have you ventured out much since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic? Found yourself looking for a restaurant menu only to see these small black and white pixelated squares displayed on the table? Chances are, you’re more than likely to encounter a QR code than you may have been in the past.

COVID-19 has brought about a resurgence of QR codes so we’re looking into how businesses can use them in their marketing materials. 

QR Code Scanning Concept

Where it all began.

QR codes first came to be after the realization of the limited use of barcodes. Given that barcodes can consist of only 20 alphanumeric characters, developers at Denso Wave  took on the task of developing a new “barcode” that could hold more information. After much research along with trial and error, the QR code was born in 1994.

As technology progressed, many marketers and communicators identified QR codes as a means to share information and direct their audience to specific URLs. While smartphone users previously had to download an app solely for the purpose of reading QR codes, since 2017, we’ve had the capability to simply open our phone’s camera and voila! – the option to visit the suggested URL pops up and we can step into a new world of information (or as I would prefer, the menu options at my favorite taco spot). 

Here comes COVID.

Cue 2020. As the majority of the world shut down and aimed to implement social distancing, many businesses were forced to take a hard look at technology and all it had to offer. From restaurants implementing home delivery to healthcare providers shifting to telehealth visits, nearly every industry had to alter how it functioned in order to stay afloat during the shutdown.

As businesses began to open back up, the top priority for many has been maintaining a safe distance and limiting contact with others. BINGO! The nearly-forgotten QR code (or previously inconvenient) presented opportunities for customers to use their smartphones to access content that businesses want to provide! With smartphones in nearly every person’s pocket and the act of opening the camera app being second nature to most, opportunities to engage with audiences through QR codes are endless. 

How can QR codes work for you?

Fortunately, creating a QR code is a simple task and it can be free depending on the tools that you use. If your goal is to track how many people follow through with using your QR code, a small fee may be associated in order to assist with tracking analytics.

In addition to being simple to implement and easy to use, QR codes have the power to send your audience directly to where you want to go. They’re also a useful tool to cut down on print costs and limit contact between customers and staff. 

A few prime examples of how QR codes can be used for your advantage are…

  • Providing a link to an online menu for restaurant guests
  • Linking to an online registration or contact form in-office that doesn’t require the use of pen or paper
  • Checking/clocking in at your workplace or child care center
  • Offering easy payment methods for guests through PayPal’s QR code integration

So what now?

Consider how you can improve your customer or staff experience through the use of QR codes in your business. Whether by way of engaging and communicating with your target audience or simply for the sake to make things easier, these smart little black and white squares hold a lot of potential. Ready to try your first QR code? TRIO can help! Contact us today for a free consultation on how to integrate digital assets into your marketing strategy.