What Are QR Codes and How Do You Use Them?

by Wendy Chamberlain on August 5, 2011

What are QR Codes?

You’ve probably seen QR codes around.

QR Codes are Quick Response codes or two-dimensional codes that feature black modules on a white background and arranged in a square pattern.

They are small bar codes that can be read by certain gadgets including smart phones with cameras or a bar code reading application installed.

Bar codes versus QR Codes – what’s different?

While a QR code is similar to the bar codes used at retail stores to track the prices of products, it is different in terms of the amount of data contained in the code.

A bar code is linear and one-dimensional and can hold up to 20 numerical digits.

QR codes, meanwhile, are two-dimensional matrix bar codes that can store and share thousands of alphanumeric characters of information.

QR codes can be read by certain phones such as the iPhone, Android and other Smartphones with built-in cameras.  You can also download smartphone applications that are capable of reading a bar code and use this application on your phone to read the QR code.

When you scan the code, you can access the information contained in the QR code.  The information is linked to content on the internet and can activate a number of phone functions such as email, IM and SMS. The content may also be a URL or a coupon which you can use at shops.

Try it on your smart phone now…

Open the Bar Code reading application on your smart phone, hold your phone up to the image below and wait for it to focus on the image and beep.

You then have options on your phone to Open an Internet Browser, Share via Email or Share via SMS (text message).


The use of QR codes began in Japan more than a decade ago. Toyota’s subsidiary, Denso Wave, invented this in 1994 and has registered it, although it did not claim patent rights for it. Other than Japan, the Netherlands and South Korea are some of the countries that have been using it.

Benefits for your business

Business owners can benefit from using QR codes.

As an example, you can auto generate a code to redirect the user to specific products on your website. You can include the product details as well as your contact number and your website URL.

Another way is to add a QR code to your business card containing your information. This way, it will be easier for your new connections to add you to their mobile/cell phone contact list.

Additionally, QR codes can be used in your flyers, posters, postcards, newspaper advertisements and invites to your event. You can include as much information as you want from your contact details, product information, event details, a coupon and links to your social media sites.

Other places where you can use the code are on the sides of trucks or trailers, on product tags and packaging, tickets to events, restaurant menus as well as on point of sale receipts.

One client is adding QR codes to their in-house menus.  Their customers can now scan the QR code right off the menu and are redirected to the client’s website whilst they relax sipping a latte.  Great marketing don’t you think?

Remember that there’s no limit to what you can share on the internet using the codes. Apart from text and pages, you can include a video and even an ebook.

Have you used a QR code in your business?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below.


By Wendy Moore
Copyright 2011 Savvy Web Women Pty Ltd


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Wendy Moore is the founder of www.savvywebwomen.com and creator of the Savvy List Building Blog – the information packed resource that shows business owners and entrepreneurs how to get in front of an audience that wants to buy what they are selling. To receive your FREE Special Report and weekly how-to articles to expand your online List Building toolkit, visit www.wendymoore.net.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

John March 14, 2013 at 3:41 pm

This blog is representing the reality of the QR Codes through the article provided here and it is nice to read the information about Codes and user friendly.
John recently posted..Top 5 Business Zones with proved appliance Of Long Code SMS updated Fri Mar 8 2013 8:44 am EST

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