If you just used a QR code to pay for your latte at a Starbucks, you should probably thank Masahiro Hara, the Japanese innovative scientist and inventor that created QR code and gave it to you. I say ‘gave it to you’ because QR code is free to be used, for all. The Japanese company Denso Wave, where Mr. Hara worked as an engineer, had a Toyota contract and asked Mr. Hara to come up with an efficient solution to track car parts in the production cycle. He came with the QR code in 1994, inspired from the black and white patterns of the poplar game “Go”.
QR Code now has become somewhat of revolution as in, it is widely used in every part of the world. Post 2017 when Apple Inc. decided to integrate QR scanning feature in its Iphone camera, the QR use grew exponentially. Brands and advertisers understood the importance of smartphone and the time people spend on mobile phones, making it their primary platform for ads and marketing campaigns. And QR became just the right tool, apart from social media.
QR codes have come a long way since their inception, and the future looks promising. QR codes have already found a place in various industries like hospitality, healthcare, retail, manufacturing (the og in QR use) etc. and are becoming an increasingly popular payment method.
What is a QR code and how it is scanned?
QR codes, also known as Quick Response codes, are two-dimensional barcode image that can be scanned using a mobile device's camera. QR code has evolved to become a useful tool in marketing, payments, ticketing, authentication, ever since it was invented some 30 years ago (1994, Japan).
Let’s see some of the applications and innovations in terms of QR code usage in present and nearby future:
QR codes have become a popular payment method, particularly in developing countries, where mobile payment infrastructures are less established. Post demonetisation in 2016, India has developed a high quality, agile digital payment infrastructure and QR codes are a huge part of that. The recent advancements in internet and the QR integration in mobile phone camera has only helped further. Combined with UPI, QR codes have completely changed the way people pay in India.
According to a recent report by Juniper Research, QR code-based payments will surpass $2.7 trillion by 2025.
QR codes are now being used in the ticketing industry to replace traditional paper tickets. Customers can purchase tickets online, receive a QR code via email or SMS, and then scan the code at the event.
This reduces waiting times, paper wastage, forgery and improves security.
QR codes are also used in loyalty programs, allowing customers to scan a code at a store to earn points or discounts which is an effective way for businesses to track customer behavior and offer targeted promotions.
QR Codes have become a great tool for digital marketing as well for it connects physical objects to internet directly. Objects can be labelled with a QR code which can contain detailed ad, story about the product.
QR codes can be used to authenticate products, which is particularly important for high-value or luxury goods.
Customers can scan a QR code on a product to verify its authenticity, reducing the risk of counterfeiting. Many wine brands are increasingly making QR a part of their branding label. These QR codes not only authenticate the product but also contain various information on how to use, recipes, and the story of the product, engaging customers with the brand more actively.
In education, QR codes canbe used to provide students with additional resources. Teachers can include a QR code in their presentations, allowing students to access additional information, videos, or interactive content from the internet with just a single click.
Let’s discuss some of the innovations in QR code usage:
Customization of QR Codes
Custom QR codes allow businesses to brand their codes with colors, logos, and images. This improves brand recognition and makes the code more visually appealing.
Dynamic QR Codes
Dynamic QR codes offer a great feature as it can be edited even after it has been created. This means that businesses can change the destination of the code without having to reprint it. A restaurant can use a dynamic QR code to update their menu and a retailer can target email ads, without having to send new emails for new sale offers or discounts.
QR Code Analytics
QR code analytics provide businesses with valuable data on consumer behavior which can be used to improve marketing campaigns and track the success of promotions. Number of scans, location etc. can be tracked to make ads more impactful.
Interactive QR Codes
Interactive QR codes provide customers with a more engaging experience. For example, a code can link to a video or game, creating a fun and memorable experience for the customer. In retail stores, such videos can be used to help customers with their shopping needs and fashion choices.
NFC-enabled QR Codes
NFC-enabled QR codes combine the benefits of both NFC (near-field communication) and QR codes. These codes can be scanned with a mobile device and can also transmit data to the device using NFC technology. It can make the QR codes more interactive.
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