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Are QR codes effective mobile commerce tools?

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QR codes are more than marketing tools

QR codes are nothing new. The codes have been around for several years and have primarily been used in the marketing sector. Advertisers in Japan initially stumbled upon the engagement potential of the codes after seeing how they were being put to use as inventory tracking tools by their creator, Denso Wave. While the codes have become synonymous with marketing, especially that of the mobile variety, they are much more than advertising gimmicks, and this fact is becoming better understood as more companies take chances with how QR codes are used.

The value of QR codes lies in their ability to engage people. The codes are easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone or tablet, or any device that can make use of a QR code scanning application. The codes themselves do not typically contain any valuable data, but can be used to link to websites that can distribute this data very efficiently. Moreover, the codes can be produced for free and can be incorporation into marketing material, or just about anything else, at a very low cost. The accessibility and inexpensive nature of QR codes are what make the codes so attractive to the mobile commerce sector.

Mobile commerce seeks alternative to NFC QR Codes

Much of mobile commerce is currently based on NFC technology. This means that most mobile commerce platforms can only be used by those with NFC-enabled mobile devices. These devices are quite rare, making mobile commerce relatively exclusive to a small demographic around the world. As mobile commerce becomes more popular, the need to improve its accessibility is becoming more important. This is where QR codes come in.

Companies like Tesco, a prominent retailer based in the United Kingdom, have been using QR codes to facilitate mobile commerce. Tesco is one of the pioneers of simple storefronts often called “pop-up stores.” These stores do not actually hold a physical inventory. Rather, they feature pictures of products that are coupled with unique QR codes. When the codes are scanned, you can purchase the product they are associated with. These products are then shipped to an address that is provided. The purchase is made over a mobile device, leveraging the QR code as a mobile commerce tool. Tesco is not the only company to make use of pop-up stores and these storefronts are becoming popular throughout the world.

Security is a top priority

Beyond storefronts, QR codes are also seeing more use from companies like PayPal. The codes are being used as an alternative to NFC technology in an effort to expand the availability of mobile commerce services. PayPal, as well as other companies, have expressed concerns when it comes to the security of NFC technology. Because mobile commerce deals in financial information, security is a top priority for those participating in the mobile commerce sector. While QR codes are not famous for their security features, there are several applications available that can determine whether a code is legitimate or malicious. There are few, if any, applications that can determine the legitimacy of NFC-based systems.

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