QR codes on billboards (photo credit: Toa Heftiba)

We’ve all seen QR codes – those square black and white matrixes – on billboards, TV ads, print adverts, loyalty cards and packaging. In shops, restaurants, bars and cafés, airports, museums and gyms.

You’ve probably seen one today already whether you’ve consciously noticed it or not.

The QR (Quick Response) code was invented in 1994 as a machine-readable optical label that could contain detailed information about that item or place. They’re versatile, used for payments, discount coupons, event registration, product information, venue check ins, competitions, resumes, shortcuts to further content.

Is the QR code dead?

It’s been a bumpy ride for these blocky grids over the years. Following their initial popularity, QR codes were soon dismissed as old technology and they largely disappeared from our daily lives, seemingly consigned to the digital scrap heap.

However, a combination of factors over the last 2-3 years has led to a meteoric rise in their popularity. Their heavy use during the pandemic for contact tracing and non-contact restaurant and café menus kickstarted a new lease of life.

Add to that an increase in global smartphone ownership, continued growth in internet usage and the more and more apps having built-in QR scanners, and we begin to understand how the QR code has made such an unexpected recovery.

Research indicates that QR codes are predominantly used by the 24-54 age group, and that an estimated 5.3 billion QR code coupons were to have been redeemed via smartphones by 2022 (Juniper Research).

Benefits of QR codes

QR codes have a wide range of uses. Individuals and businesses can use them to link to portfolios, increase social media following, drive traffic to a website, drive footfall into stores and events, boost sales or donations, create a person or venue-relevant experience, inform and educate audiences and drive awareness and brand engagement.

In particular it’s a great way to move a customer from print collateral to a dedicated page on your website, be it a special offer, a sign-up incentive or a competition.

We’ve recently implemented their usage at the Weald & Downland Museum in West Sussex and for business comms specialists Axiom Communications, who used the code at a conference to drive delegates to a dedicated enquiry page. Managing Director Chris said, “the QR code implementation was a great success, providing an immediate and seamless link from the presentation screen to relevant content on the website, in turn driving remarkable levels of engagement and therefore sales opportunities.”

The QR code has indeed risen from the dead.

Link a QR code to your website

If you need QR codes producing to support your business marketing please get in touch. We’d be happy to discuss the plethora of uses in customer interaction and engagement. It may just be the seamless link between marketing and website visits that you need.