Residents of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, are beginning to see QR codes popping up all over the place. The city first began using the codes as part of a campaign to provide better service to tourists, giving them access to information on local businesses and events. As mobile technology continues to establish is presence in society, QR codes have become a way for small businesses to compete with their much larger counterparts.
QR codes are experiencing the same boom in popularity in the U.S. that they did in Japan. Originally developed in Japan by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, the codes have become an integral part of society there. Nearly every company in Japan uses the codes in their mobile marketing campaigns and they have also been used by the Red Cross to garner aid for the relief effort in light of recent natural catastrophes.
One small bakery in Sioux Falls is attracting attention. The Cookie Jar now features a QR code on its sign, which has caught the eye of many passersby, according to owner Becky Smith. “A lot of people walking downtown might not come in here,” she says, “but if they can scan and see what we have, it’ll draw them in.”
The Cookie Jar is a small business and can scarcely afford to spend money on flashy advertisements. QR codes offer the same marketing power as any other method but also appeal to a rapidly growing demographic of tech-savvy consumer. Furthermore, the codes themselves can be generated for free. The only real cost comes when considering on what to stamp the code.