What is a QR Code

You’ve seen QR codes and I’ve seen QR codes but now that they can be used on promotional products, our industry is all a BUZZ about the uses for them.  Sharie and I knew that we needed to get up to speed, so she assigned me the task of finding out more about these little critters.  So I will take you on the journey of learning about QR codes, what they are, how they are used, the excitement they are creating, and hopefully help you find ways to benefit from their use. 
 
By definition a QR code (Quick Response code) is a 2 dimensional barcode and looks a little like a pixelated square.  It is comprised of black modules that are arranged in a square pattern.  This square contains the ‘magic’ of the QR code.  Within the pattern is encoded information and it can be made up of any kind of data.  It is designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speeds, and was initially created for and utilized in tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing. 
 
You don’t have to look very far or very hard to find the codes because they are showing up on EVERYTHING.  They are in ads, magazines, mailers, packaging, etc.  Since my journey has begun, I believe that Sharie has made it her personal mission to find every QR code that she can.  I show up to work and there may be a pile of them on my desk, or she has ‘saved’ something to show me.  Our excitement about these QR codes has become somewhat of a game between us.  However, the majority of her excitement comes from the fact that in the past there has NEVER been a way to track promotional products.  A QR code provides that!
 
By utilizing a camera phone with a barcode reader program (such as Inigma for a Blackberry and RedLaser for iPhones) your prospective customers scan the image of the QR code to add a vCard contact information, open a webpage, compose an email or text message, etc.  This is called hardlinking or object hyperlinking. 
 
So now for the most important part……once they scan your QR code……. you can track it.  Imagine this…. you have a tradeshow coming up…..so who do you call?  You call “The Company You Can Count On”!  We help you choose your promotional item, create your QR code and have it imprinted on your product.  Off to the show you go!   After the show, you will be able to see how many times that product was scanned, in what city it was scanned, and the type of operating system used to scan that product.  Voila!  You now have a way to track your promotional product!
 
My favorite use of a QR code so far is vendors who have labeled their products with a QR code at trade shows.  When I find a product that I find interesting or want to know more about, I can now just scan the QR code.  I then have all of the information I need to remember who has the product, the product details, the pricing, the vendors website, their contact information, etc. and that information is stored in my phone for future reference.  I no longer have to carry around a note pad and take notes and hope that I don’t forget to write down everything and do so correctly!
 
To see a video highlighting this feature watch:
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYDbFTai0iE
 
 
If you are interested in some statistics on how quickly QR code usage is growing see:
 
http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-the-rise-of-qr-codes/
 
http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-how-people-use-qr-codes/
 
http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/8/14_Million_Americans_Scanned_QR_or_Bar_Codes_on_their_Mobile_Phones_in_June_2011
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