5 Ways to Use QR Codes

QR code is a type of matrix barcode first designed for the automotive industry in Japan, that contains information about the item to which it is attached.

A Quick Response code, or QR code, is the next generation of barcodes.

Those little jumbled squares were originally designed to track cars through the manufacturing process, but today, quick response codes can be found everywhere from assembly lines to warehouses and on everything from business cards to billboards.

Think of QR codes as customizable barcodes on steroids—more information in less space. QR codes are 2D barcodes that can store more than 4,000 alphanumeric characters in a limited horizontal and vertical space. A traditional linear (1D) barcode can only hold roughly 20 horizontal characters.

QR codes are also easy to use. They can be easily created with a free QR code generator and can be just as easily read from any direction with a simple smartphone app or dedicated 2D barcode scanner.

There was a time in the early 2010s when it seemed QR codes were poised to take over the world. While that initial fervor cooled, the fact that smartphones and mobile computers are more ubiquitous than ever is a good sign that QR codes will have a resurgence.

In fact, QR codes are now staples in manufacturing and inventory management, and they’ve gained traction in advertising, marketing and networking. They’re even making their mark on social media and streaming platforms.



We said QR codes can be found almost anywhere, but how can you make them work for you?

Here are five ways QR codes can benefit your business:


QR Your Business Card 

Give your customers more than a bland business card with basic contact information; let them get to know you. Use a QR code on your business card to include more than just the standard name, title, phone number, address and email.  Because QR codes can store much more data than a traditional barcode, add links to your website, blog, social media accounts, photo and other professional profiles. QR codes also show potential clients and others that you understand and appreciate how busy they are and you want to make things easier for them – one scan with a smartphone and all your information can be saved instantly in their contacts.

QR Your Print Advertisements

Promote more than just your latest sales and specials: Show your company’s dedication to reducing waste. Instead of printing a multipage circular, shrink the size to just a few pages, highlight a few special offers, and include a QR-coded URL that links customers to product videos, spec sheets or “Buy Now” pages. Assigning a URL specific to the QR code in the ad with a re-direct is also great way to track how much traffic came to that page through your print ads.

QR Your Business Stationery and Invoices

Mistakes happen and you want to make the correction process as painless as possible for you and the consumer. Include a QR code on items such as your business stationery and invoices that leads directly to your customer service site for such helpful information as contact numbers, user guides, and (if needed) return labels.

QR Your Events

Use a QR code on event materials that leads to a virtual version of your event packet and allows attendees to travel light. Include an e-ticket, travel directions, map, handouts and any other relevant information your guests may need.

QR Your Inventory

Don’t forget that QR codes and other 2D barcodes are important tools for inventory management and manufacturing and allow you to track more than just name and price of a product. The codes can also include information such as serial numbers, part numbers, lots and dates and other data points.

This is a homemade, invalid qr code.


Marketing, branding, and advertising campaigns that involve QR codes have become commonplace, and they’ve led to create success for many businesses.

  • Spotify, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media and streaming platforms are now utilizing QR-like codes in inventive ways. You can scan the Spotify Code of a friend’s playlist to have instant access to that playlist, without searching manually for their name. Ditto finding people on FB and Snap. This is the same principle as QR codes in general—why waste time manually inputting information when a quick scan will do?  
  • Nut Thins and other specialty food products are increasingly adding QR codes to their boxes that lead consumers to more related information, such as recipes and information about the company on an easy-to-navigate mobile site.
  • WeChat, WhatsApp and other messaging services are helping small businesses around the world conduct small transactions via QR codes. This is currently most popular in places like China and India, but in the future, businesses everywhere may do away with costly POS terminals and NFC chip readers to favor of mobile payments via QR code.
  • Healthcare facilities such as Clark Memorial Hospital use QR codes to help identify patients and keep updated records of delivered medicines, current vital signs, and doctor’s orders. From triage to discharge, a quick scan can access and edit a patient’s file in an instant without the potential hazard of medicinal handwriting.

QR codes are an easy-to-generate and inexpensive way to pack more information about your business, products, and services into a tiny space. There’s little harm in giving them a shot, so why not go for it?

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Brian Sutter

Brian Sutter

Director of Marketing at Wasp Barcode
Brian Sutter is the Director of Marketing at Wasp, responsible for the development and execution of the company’s marketing strategy. His role encompasses brand management, direct and channel marketing, public relations, advertising, and social media. He also writes and speaks on topics related to helping small business owners grow their business and improve operational efficiency.
Brian Sutter
Brian Sutter
  • http://www.benchmarkemail.com/ExtFeatures email marketing software

    I’ve been trying to think of different ways to incorporate this into my business so thanks for the helpful tips. I had not thought of the business card idea and have not witnessed any as of yet. I think you are onto something! Great post!

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    • http://www.bwscan.com Jenny

      You can use http://www.bwscan.com to create QR codes for business cards. They also ship starter stickers for free.

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      • http://www.illinimed.com kaye

        Want to create a QR Code for my business card that will provide our web information. Would like to copy and paste the information into the Code. Not sure how to do that. Can you help?

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  • http://www.Napkins-Only.com Napkins-Only

    Great post, and you’re right!
    The QR code will bridge the gap between the offline physical world and the online digital world where all of our rich web content resides. What more cost effective way to do so than with a low cost, mass saturation ScanNap web enabled cocktail napkin: http://www.napkins-only.com/printed-napkins/scannap/

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  • Pingback: 5 Ways to Use QR Codes | Big Promotions Blog()

  • http://www.whocanihire.com Rick Wall

    QR tags are wonderful but you still need to expose than to everyone. A great platform for that is the new website http://www.whocanihire.com which is a platform for small business to market themselves (QR tags) through social media potentially reaching thousands of customers.

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  • http://KayzKreationz.etsy.com Kay

    This is really cool. I like the different ideas/ways to use this. I just made my own QR code and am planning on putting it on my business cards and perhaps on my blog. Thanks


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  • http://www.usanfranonline.com Dean

    There’s a lot of uses for QR codes and we will continue to see the growth in some of the strangest places. The caveat is needing a smart phone to interpret the code. It will be a matter of time before the majority own a smart phone. There is a lot of opportunity for mobile marketing and business would be wise to have a strategy.

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  • Pingback: Top QR Code Campaigns You May Have Missed | barcodegeneratorfree.com()

  • http://www.hubbellonline.com Jason Bedford

    I understand that text can be encoded into a QR code, but can instructions also be included to have the scanner (most likely a mobile phone), to open and create a contact with the information embedded in the QR code?


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    • admin

      Yes you can put contact information or any text into a QR code. You can’t make the scanner or mobile device do something automatically from a QR Code alone. For further questions please contact our tech support at 866.547.9277

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  • James

    QR codes have really taken off recently as marketers find creative ways to integrate them into campaigns. It continues to be rapidly adopted as a bonafide marketing technology. We at mobile marketing solutions have been having a lot of fun creating QR tags for our practices ourselves lately. We have been putting them on appointment cards, letterhead, and many other pieces of promotional literature. Its a great way to help promote your practice, and the best thing is that many of the code generators are free.

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    • Brian Sutter

      Hey James,

      Glad to here you guys are taking advantage of the great potential that QR codes have to offer. If you have any questions about their future, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  • Nealroy

    How to have a website url and calendar event on one barcode.

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  • Brian Sutter

    Print ads are a great use for QR codes, it gives the consumer an easy way to opt-in to your offer, without having to type in the url, which is a place that many small businesses lose conversions

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