What are QR codes?
QR Code technology is perhaps the only technology widely in vogue today that has been patented but no effort has been made to enforce the patent. Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, patented the technology in 1994 and currently owns the patent. However, it has chosen not to enforce it with a view to enhancing its popularity. The technology has been popular in Japan and Europe for more than ten years. It is gradually gaining momentum in other parts of the world.
Simple Explanation of QR Code Technology
Think of QR codes as the next generation of UPC bar codes with two major differences. First, where as UPC codes can transmit no more than 20 characters of alpha-numeric data, QR codes can transmit coded messages up to 7089 characters long. There are three ways in which QR codes can be read. You or your customers can read these codes with a cell phone on which QR Code recognition technology has been activated either internally or through an app. Secondly, you can purchase a QR Code reader and use it to decipher QR codes. Thirdly, you can scan the code using a scanner and use the scanned input as an image although this is not always practical. Sounds confusing? Not at all. The best thing about QR codes is that they can, unlike UPC codes, point to all sorts of objects. The QR Code can point to a web page-a Facebook landing page for instance, a YouTube video, podcast, an SMS message, data stored on a handheld device and even information databases controlled through apps specially created for this purpose. Creative minds continue to dream up new ways of using QR codes. Here are a few possible areas of innovation:
Generating QR Codes during a Live Chat Conversation
If the marketing department in your company uses live chat to engage with new customers especially through proactive live chat, you can e-mail prospective customers a QR Code which customers can scan with their cell phones and land on a special offer. This will inject a sense of novelty in the promotion game. QR codes can also be printed on your packing slip if your company happens to deal in product-based e-commerce. The code could qualify the customer for a discount on the next order. Once your customer community becomes comfortable with the process of receiving and benefiting from QR codes, seasonal incentives for QR code-based promotions could be announced frequently through live chat
QR Codes on the Products you sell
Imprint QR codes directly on your products as well as on product packaging to improve branding and to provide access to usage and care instructions. Once the product arrives at the customer's doorstep, he or she can simply scan the code with a cell phone and read all about the product without having to key in a URL into a computer. This feature is especially handy for those products that are used during travel such as travel games, cosmetics travel packs, automobile accessories, etc. Access to the Internet is not always available during travel.
QR Codes in Brochures Business Cards and Magazine Advertising
Online companies frequently advertise in the print media and the inclusion of a QR Code in the advertisement can provide an unlimited amount of information once it is scanned. The QR Code could point to specially created landing pages on your website as a part of the advertising campaign. Point your QR Code to a Facebook landing page and generate more Likes for your company. When your company's representatives hit the road to attend trade shows, make sure that their business cards feature a QR Code which points to a special landing page on your website specifically set up for trade show attendees.
QR Codes and Outdoor Media
Does your company use outdoor media such as digital signs and billboards to promote your products and services? Place a QR Code on your outdoor media advertising and encourage your prospective customers to scan the code. All they need to do is to locate, point and shoot. QR Code scanning, unlike UPC bar codes, can be done from a distance since this code is two dimensional. A QR Code on a billboard can take your customer directly to your live chat page and encourage a two-way interchange right then and there through live chat. Live chat software from Live2Support has the facility to indicate to your chat operators that the referring URL is actually a QR code.
Industry-wide Compatibility of QR Codes
All the four major mobile operating system platforms supported by Nokia, Apple, Google Android and Blackberry are equipped to scan and process QR codes using camera phones. In rare instances where a cell phone isn't available to double up as a QR Code reader, an inexpensive QR Code reader can be purchased for under $10.
QR Codes are Free!
There is no cost involved to generate QR codes. Simply go to Google and type in “QR Code Generator” and select the QR Code generator that best fits your need.