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Is Your Business Taking Advantage of the QR Code Comeback?

Heather Mueller
November 24, 2020
Min Read

These days, you probably see them just about everywhere you go: Those boxy, black and white patterns filled with squares and dots. They’re propped up on restaurant tables, taped to walls, and even posted in checkout lines.

QR codes have been around for more than two decades, but it wasn’t until 2020 that they started to see widespread adoption. 

As businesses and consumers alike seek contactless options for shopping, dining, and more in the midst of a global pandemic, the QR code is making a comeback. And there’s a good chance your organization can gain a lot by using them.

Whether you work with customers, clients, students, or patients, QR codes can be a great way to improve service and increase engagement. Here’s a quick look at where this handy technology came from—and why it’s so useful today.

Related: How to Build a Touchless, Curbside Check-In

QR code technology has evolved, and is more convenient than ever

QR codes have been around since the mid-1990s, when they were used to track automotive vehicle components during production. The “QR” acronym is short for “Quick Response,” a nod to the speed at which the technology can be used to connect individuals with information. 

By the time smartphones came onto the consumer scene, many marketing teams saw an opportunity to use QR codes as a way to engage with prospects. But unfortunately, they often ran into issues. Customers had to download special apps to scan the codes, and the vast array of options was often inconsistent and confusing. Wireless data wasn’t as reliable as it is today, so there was no guarantee people would be able to load a webpage when encountering a QR code on-the-go, which is typically how they’re discovered.

A decade and half later, the process looks a lot different.

For one thing, most smartphone cameras now have QR code readers built right in. You simply open the camera app, take a picture, and follow a prompt to be taken to the corresponding content—whether it’s a restaurant online ordering menu, student questionnaire, or nonprofit email newsletter signup.

They’re remarkably easy for consumers to use, which makes them effective for organizations to implement. And they’re an ideal touch-free medium, allowing people to interact with businesses while only touching their own devices.

It’s little wonder, then, that one popular QR code generator experienced a 25-fold increase in sign-ups from restaurants from February to June, and a seven-fold increase from hotels.

It all adds up to some significant opportunities for businesses.

QR codes are just one type of digitization needed to address the impacts of COVID-19. Discover other digital transformation efforts you should consider in our guide, The New Digital (Transformation) Divide

Where there’s a will, there’s a QR code

Among the most exciting outcomes of widespread QR code use is that consumers are becoming accustomed to them. That means you can easily start rolling out your own QR code uses without having to worry about ease of use or adoption.

Which is great, since this technology can be a simple, effective way to connect individuals with important information from your organization.

Healthcare providers use QR codes to create parking lot waiting rooms and reduce patient wait times. Universities use them to increase student engagement and connect with alumni. And companies across industries are finding new and creative ways to leverage QR code technology for registrations, applications, online orders, in-the-field surveys, email lists, and more.

Are you launching a new loyalty program? Create a QR code to send interested customers directly to your sign-up form. Asking clients to check in when they arrive for appointments? Once again, the QR code is a fast, easy way to do just that.

Now that QR codes have made a resurgence, this is a great time for businesses small and large to start thinking about the different ways they can be leveraged in day-to-day interactions with clients and customers.

Sure, they may have been brought into the fold out of necessity. But as people become increasingly comfortable with QR code technology, there’s a good chance they’ll become something your customers expect.

Looking for ways to make QR codes work for your business? Formstack offers a wide range of solutions that can be used in combination with QR codes to drive more productivity and profits. Start your free trial today to see what you can do with Formstack forms and QR codes.


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Heather Mueller
Heather is a website copywriter and digital content strategist who loves helping brands generate leads through the power of the written word—especially when using Formstack. Connect with Heather on Twitter @heathermueller.
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