Quick introduction to QR Barcodes

In case you don’t know what a QR barcode is, it’s basically a barcode like the ones you know from the supermarket, except it’s more advanced than that and it looks different as well (see picture to the right).

QR stands for “Quick Response” and is already being widely used in Asia for some time. In  the US, it’s probably Google using them the most so far. Since December 2009, Google has been sending QR codes on stickers out to local businesses across the US as part of their “Favorite Places” service.

The point is, when you spot a QR barcode somewhere, you can scan it with your barcode reader, which is most likely to be your smartphone, simply launch the app and point your camera at it (try the barcode in the upper right corner of this article). There are free apps for both iPhone and Android that will allow you to easily scan barcodes and perform whatever action is needed. For example, some barcodes will take you to a URL and others will give you the option to dial a phone number etc.

A business can also use a QR barcode to offer a coupon code to customers. If you put up a QR code somewhere and a passer-by scans it with their smartphone, they will be able to receive a great offer – or a coupon code – for your business.

Another example is using QR codes as a business card replacement. Rather than giving potential clients a card with your name and website address on it, give them a QR barcode card and they can scan it and will be taken directly to your website or whatever you want. It will also be a great conversation starter, at least until QR codes are everywhere.

You can easily create your own quick response barcode if you want. There are lots of free generators online or you can use a QR code API to integrate it with your own application for fast and easy QR barcode generation.