QR Codes – which is short for Quick Response Codes – are, I predict, to be the next big thing in consumer involvement advertising. Looking to Japan, these 2D bar codes are absolutely everywhere- from billboards, to store window displays. And it won’t take long at all for these little black and white beauties to hit big here Stateside. So just what is a QR Code? It is a 2D block image which requires a smart phone with an appropriate application such as NeoReader to scan. Once scanned, the QR Code transmits to the phone whatever information the block code contains; video, image, streaming MP3, or more commonly- a website URL. I like to think of these things as Hyperlinks in the real world.
Although people have to first jump on the bandwagon by downloading the free application to read the QR Codes, the business implications of this new technology are absolutely astounding. Just think, printing your own QR Code on the back of your business card so that the next time you hand it to someone at lunch, they don’t have to wait to get home to their computer to scan it, instead they just hold it up to their phone and voila! Suddenly they are on your website, viewing your video/products/services. I hate to say it, but people enjoy being a little lazy… duh right? Well with the QR Codes, people don’t have to mess around with typing URL’s on those little smartphone keypads, so they are infinitely more likely to access the information as soon as they receive it.
Let your imagination run with this one- it really can be used for every business! One clothier in Japan enables consumers to shop even while the store is closed using the QR Codes. How? Simple, the clothes on their window displays all have their own unique QR Code. If someone walks by the window at 3 am and wants to buy the skirt they see, they just hold their phone up- scan the code- and they are immediately taken to the order page for that product.
The largest hang-up with the QR Codes right now are accessibility, however that is soon to change- Right now there is a battle being waged between the application based QR Code scanners, and a non-application text-based version which can be used by non-smartphone as well. Which will win out is TBD. But I believe accessibility is always key when it comes to these kind of tech battles.
Hope you’re having a great week!