The Resurrection Of QR Codes

Saturday 2 October 2021

Written by Ashlee Bloom

The Resurrection Of QR Codes

The Resurrection Of QR Codes

The humble QR code was invented by the Japanese company Denso Wave – a Toyota subsidiary to track vehicles during the manufacturing process way back in 1994.

Fast forward to 2021, and instead of tracking vehicles, we are using QR codes to track people, with every shop, restaurant and building in the UK and around the world implementing QR codes that enable you to check-in for track & trace purposes.

Now, most of you have probably seen more QR codes in recent years than you have ever before, and even Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation have been positively adjusting to whipping out their smartphones and scanning QRs in order to maintain lower risk social lives.

If you imagine that these black-and-white beauties had never been invented, we would all be turning up to our favourite local only to fill in endless paperwork, and the hospitality industry would not have been able to reopen as early as it did, due to the power of ordering food & drink via QR instead of needing table service or open bars.

Whilst the Covid-19 pandemic has launched the humble QR code into stardom, it didn’t always have such an easy ride.

Back when I went to university to study marketing in 2011, the use of QR codes for marketing purposes was often a topic of conversation however, at that point in their lifecycle, smartphones had not yet caught up with QR and you needed to download specific code-scanning apps to enable you to scan the code in the first place. This meant that if you saw a QR code on a piece of marketing material or in advertising, you would likely see it with instructions on how to scan it, which didn’t make for the most seamless user experience.

Whilst smartphones did eventually catch up and allow you to scan QR’s through the camera on your phone, most people were not aware of this, and QR codes will still consider long-winded and complex to use.

Fast forward to today, Covid-19 effectively relaunched QR codes (I wonder if the original inventors are happy) and people now know that all you need to do is whip out your camera and hover it over the code, making the user experience totally seamless.

Ultimately, this has triggered a new opportunity for business owners and marketers to jump back on the QR code hype in order to help with:

  • Advertising & Marketing
  • E-Payments
  • Wifi-connections
  • Competitions

Let me try and put how big the QR opportunity is for business into context, as it’s not often that you hear Covid-19 has had a positive impact on anything at all. Currently, Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Baby Boomers and the Silent Gen are being exposed daily to unable-to-avoid QR codes. They understand how easy they are to use, they are starting to prefer scanning their code to take them to an online menu than speaking to people, and there is the positive connotation of ‘safety’ lingering around them.

Now, I know for a fact that your business is targeting one of these generational groups, therefore it goes without saying that tapping into the QR code trend is an immediate way to engage with your ideal customer. Allow me to provide some examples:

  1. You own a retail clothing store and the size someone is looking for is out of stock, imagine now that on each item of clothing, the item tag has a unique QR code that the customer can scan if they would like to order in another size, without having to speak to a member of staff.
  2. Imagine now that you are advertising on street billboards and newspapers for your new product launch, instead of writing your company URL on the advert and expecting customers to note it down and type it in, why not print a QR code on there so that all they need to do is scan the code and be taken straight to your website’s point of sale.
  3. If that isn’t right for your business, consider the option that a new candidate has walked into your recruitment company to learn more about a role, why not put a QR code in reception so that while they wait for their meeting, they can scan and find out more about other suitable roles that might be available to them.
  4. You own an estate agency and make the bold decision that on every for-sale sign, you are going to include a QR code that takes the interested buyer on a virtual tour of the property, with a form to fill in if they are interested. Does that have more impact than a sign that just says, ‘for sale’?
  5. To give an alternate perspective, let’s now consider that your business is trying to reduce its paper usage. Many offices have brochures and flyers printed for prospective customers and existing customers, however, could that 50-page brochure be a 1-page QR code that opens an interactive version of your brochure? Saving paper and providing more engaging content for your customer.

We have all been given an amazing opportunity to add more value to our customers and ideal customers, generate more business and improve customer experience. So, I say, let’s resurrect the QR code for good and start using it to make a real impact.

If you have any marketing-related enquiries, please feel free to email me at or contact us

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