QR Codes

Signs Now QR Codes

You’re walking around, when suddenly you see something you want to know more about. Without a computer handy, most of us write down the information for research later or perhaps write a note to ourselves on a smart phone. We run into this all the time and it can be a pain. Until now.

We are all familiar with barcodes - that series of stripes scanned in with a laser that rings up our purchases  accurately and quickly. Those are commonly known as 1-D barcodes, meaning that the barcode carries data in one dimension only, almost always along the horizontal. But there are other barcode varieties, known as 2-D barcodes. These barcodes encode data in two dimensions, horizontal and vertical. The resulting series of dots or squares are capable of encoding much more data in a small area. Think about UPS or FedEx labels. That cryptic checkerboard pattern you see is actually a 2-D code containing the tracking number and destination.

What is a QR Code?

One type of 2-D symbol or encoding method is the Quick Response or QR code. This is a 2-D barcode that may contain up to 4,296 characters. That data can include a website URL, phone number, block of text or even an SMS (text message).

Almost anyone with a smart phone - or even a basic camera phone - has the ability to read those codes and respond accordingly by adding someone’s contact info to the address book or by visiting the corresponding website. What this means for end users is that they can now get immediate access to information if they have a QR-capable phone. What this means for sign purchasers is they have the ability to incorporate those codes directly into their signage. From window signage to banners to billboards, all that’s required is a free QR code of the appropriate size for a camera phone to ensure that customers get the message you intended.

For free readers for phones, Kaywa (http://bit.ly/9A3pmp) or QuickMark (http://bit.ly/9jytDU) have readers for almost every phone imaginable. For iPhone users, ScanLife (http://bit.ly/9DGTh6) comes highly recommended. Android users can use QuickMark, mentioned above, and BlackBerry users can also use ScanLife (http://bit.ly/bNzdsy).

Customers are always hungry for more immediate information from stores. With the QR code, you can provide a link to that information right on your customers’ signage at no additional cost to you, increasing the perceived value of retail signage.

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