What is a QR Code?


Have you seen a box that looks like this during your daily travels?

This is a QR code. You can find them nearly everywhere, and they’re becoming more and more prominent. What is it exactly? A QR – short for Quick Response – code is a 2D barcode. It works just like a standard 1D barcode that you’ll find on every product for sale at the market. The difference is the type and amount of date it can store, as well as the type of reader you need to scan it.

What Do You Mean by “Type of Reader?”

The price gun at your favorite store is only capable of scanning 1D barcodes. 2D barcodes have their own scanners. For the most part, these scanners can only be found on phones in the form of downloadable apps.

Can My Phone Scan QR Codes?

If you have a smartphone I can almost guarantee that you have access to QR reader apps. Different readers are only available on different phones. I will address this further in a future post. For now, search your phone’s marketplace for an app. Try Barcode Scanner if you’re using Android or Neo Reader if you’re using an iPhone.  

I downloaded the app. What do I do now?

Boot up the application. It should access your phone’s camera. Take a picture of the QR code. Some applications may search for the code and snap the photo automatically while others will require you to press the shutter button. The reader will take a moment to process the data stored within the code and when it’s finished it will ask for permission to bring you to a certain webpage or display a certain message. If you scanned the QR code at the top of this page, it is safe to accept this message.

Why the heck would I want to do all this?

Companies are using QR codes more and more for marketing purposes. By scanning a code on a store display, you could be led to a webpage with more information about the product. Alternately, you may be given a free digital coupon or discount. Sometimes a print advertisement will tell you what you will see if you scan a code, while others won’t. An unlabeled QR code on a movie poster may lead you to a website with a trailer, or it could score you a coupon for a free beverage at the concessions counter. Every time you scan a QR code it’s like a new adventure.

I would like to be on the other end of QR communication. How can I use QR codes to grow my business?

Start by reading this blog from Social Media Examiner.

The way you explained QR codes was informative, but is there any way I could have it explained to me visually? Preferably by an attractive young woman?

Actually, yes.

Thanks! Since you’re so magical, how about a video with the same woman but without the goofy guy?


[Some specific, obscure question]

Go here. It answers 21 specific, obscure questions.

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