QR barcodes to play important role for small business

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Quick response (QR) bar codes are just on the cusp of mass adoption and promise yet another marketing tool for small businesses.

If you’re unfamiliar with QR bar codes, they’re the weird looking things that appear to be a cross between modern art and a traditional bar code that you’ve probably seen so many places.

Real agents are using them more and more on the “for sale” sign at properties. You just take your smart phone and take a picture of the accompanying QR code and bam! All the info about the house is instantly available for you, likely even with pictures.

I think QR codes will be used more and more to unlock discounts in the future, rather than just to get info across to you. I’m picturing going to a restaurant, clicking on a QR code and it loads a discount right onto your smart phone.

QR codes can be customized to so many situations. I read in The New York Times that hip young people have their own QR barcodes in the dating scene to exchange numbers! Or a more mundane example of how they’re being used is if you see an ad for something in magazine and you want more info about it, the QR code unlocks it.

I first noticed QR codes back in Japan when we were there on a staff trip in 2002. But the adoption here had been slower and more segmented. QR codes are predominantly scanned by men with household incomes of $100,000 or more, according to comScore.

But I think this is an idea whose time is just about here. If you are small business, consider adding this to your arsenal. The public appetite for QR codes is not there yet, but it will be.

Go ahead and download a QR reader app to your smart phone and scan them when you see them. Pay attention to how other businesses are using them to implement marketing strategies. That will help you shape your approach when you want to get in the game.



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