What are QR Codes?
Quick Response Codes, commonly referred to as QR codes are square barcodes, and they are a critical tool for brands in 2020. You probably have heard of QR codes before, but today, brands are leveraging them to connect directly to their consumers and deepen their customer relationships. Read on to learn the history of QR codes, and how your brand can strategically implement QR Codes this fiscal year.
What is the history of QR Codes?
Before barcodes, cashiers had to enter the prices of items into the register manually — this process was monotonous, inefficient and prone to error. The introduction of barcodes has helped streamline point of sale operations for stores around the world. However, since the first emergence of the barcode in Japan in 1960, the limits of traditional bar codes have become clear.
The initial codes only were able to hold around 20 alphanumeric characters, and many retailers needed codes that would hold more information. To fix this issue, the Japanese company Denso Wave Inc. was given the task of developing a new barcode that would contain more information. As a result of the company’s research and years of testing, the QR Code was born in 1994. The QR code differed from the original barcode because it was 2D — with 2D codes, information is stored in two directions — horizontally and vertically.
The new code was a vast improvement from the original barcode in many ways. According to the official QR website, the new QR code could code 7,000 characters and “could also be read more than ten times faster than other codes.”
The data contained by a QR code can be quite dynamic; scanning a QRC code could open a link to a website, videos or text instructions. This makes QR codes a powerful tool for marketers.
Why are QR Codes making a comeback in 2020?
QR codes have been around for a while, but 2017’s iOS 11 update allows QR codes to be scanned directly through the camera app. That means, QR codes are now native to most smartphones, and users no longer need to download a separate app to use QR codes. The latest Android smartphones have also made QR code scanning an essential feature.
A 2015 poll by Harris Poll, sponsored by Digimarc, found that consumers want to scan product packaging for more information and offers. By shifting to invisible watermark enabled packaging, you can meet the new needs of your consumers and in turn, improve consumer satisfaction. Invisible watermark codes also help your distributors by making your products more scannable. The time to make a move to the next generation of UPCs is now. Below is a guide to other smart codes for your firm to use in 2020.
QR Code Alternatives in 2019
- NFC technology: Just like QR codes. NFC tags do not require an app to read. iPhone XS, XS Max and XR can natively read third-party NFC tags. Older models of iPhone need an app. Most Android phones can also natively read an NFC tag. Here’s the complete list of phones compatible with NFC
- Beacon technology: Beacons are the best way to deliver a fantastic native app experience. Once you come into the range of a beacon, the beacon can trigger a notification to your smartphone and wake up your beacon-aware app.
- Geo fencing: This app-based solution has been used by companies like Burger King and Sephora to send relevant notifications to customers when they are in the vicinity of their stores.