QR codes have been around for decades now. They were first developed in the mid-80’s by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, to keep track of inventory. Smart phones were non-existent in that era, so usefulness of the codes was limited. As smart phones and other mobile devices rose to prominence, the codes became a popular tool for marketers to connect with consumers. In Japan, the codes are now used extensively for just about everything.
Marketers around the world agree that QR codes are the next step in mobile advertising. They provide instant access to videos, websites, maps and other information that can be used to engage consumers. Their popularity has been increasing in the western world over the past year, and marketers in the U.S. are beginning to use the codes as part of their cutting edge campaigns.
Mike Gatti, executive director of the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, has said that the codes are a way to augment advertising and can play a role in influencing consumer’s decisions.
The codes have gained acclaim for their flexibility. They can be incorporated into a wide variety of campaigns. While they can be easily implemented, technological knowledge is paramount to their success. Linking the codes to improperly coded websites, for example, will severely lower user experience and may drive away customers.
QR codes are also being used to build communities. Consumers can choose to become part of retail networks and receive and share discounts with others. Non-profit organizations are also using the codes to create support groups for those suffering from chronic illness or people reeling from natural disasters.
The general consensus is that QR codes are the future of mobile technology. Many believe that they will become as commonplace in the U.S. as they are now in Japan.
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