QR Code Basics

 In Barcode Advice

Can you find me in this picture?


QR Code reminds me of me. It is that “second child” that took a long time figuring out what it wanted to do. It was not the first one out of the starting blocks. Fame is not high on its list. It is not overly influenced by the predominating rules. That allows it to do stuff others cannot do. I could go on.

QR Code started life as an ERP tool for Toyota vehicle manufacturing. Invented and owned by subsidiary Denso, the patent is intentionally not enforced: QR Code is available for everyone to use, license free.

QR Code is different–and better

The popularity QR Code achieved in Asia has not happened in North America. But neither has it been tossed aside. QR Code continues to find uses and users in the US.

It is not impossible for QR Code to follow the rules: it can encode GS1 compliant data and has some advantages over other 2D symbologies. It is compact, offers 4 levels of user-selectable data correction and is uniquely friendly with smartphone scanning applications. However, the non-GS1 uses of QR Code are its most important capabilities.

QR Code is GS1 and Beyond

The powerful presence of GS1 confuses some potential QR Code users. There is no requirement to utilize GS1-distributed data or to parse encoded data in a GS1 format in closed loop applications. A market research usage where a url is encoded in a QR Code is one example. The beauty of such applications is its flexibility. A slight variation in the encoded data can send the user to a different webpage. A consumer in Detroit may see a different marketing piece than a consumer in Chattanooga.

Likewise, the same url can be changed with mere keystrokes. A small restaurant can post the same QR Code in its front window, and send the potential client to a website that changes each day, showing the specials for breakfast, lunch and dinner. An entertainment venue’s unchanging QR Code lands the prospective patron at a website showing the evening’s concert. The QR Code need not change—just the landing page.

Flexibility is Power

QR Code makes it possible for the smallest business to access powerful marketing data. All they need is the ability to capture and analyze the data it generates. How many clicks did the QR-enabled landing page get? How does that compare with the attendance of that evening’s entertainment? The restaurateur can plan staff and food based on the performance of its QR Code.

Slightly modified urls can point you to the clients you seek. Print advertising dollars are more wisely spent knowing that you get more clicks on the West side of town.

Engineered for smartphone scanning, the QR Code symbol can be printed in a wide variety of colors. Reds and greens unfriendly to conventional red light scanners work perfectly with QR Code.  Although we do not recommend it, designers often insert logo’s and other images into a QR Code.

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