Governments, organizations and companies have rapidly turned to contactless quick response barcodes.
The use of QR codes has taken off across the country and around the world due to the ongoing pandemic crisis.
Before the warnings to go zero-contact, the future of these pixelated barcodes was questioned.
Businesses in particular have returned to the use of QR codes as they aim to provide their customers with a contactless experience. This is true in businesses of all sizes and in virtually every consumer-facing industry. Everywhere from grocery stores and pharmacies to coffee shops have quick response barcodes displayed for various reasons.
Since the CDC’s new travel guidelines recommend contactless options as often as possible, road trippers are particularly likely to see them everywhere they go. This includes everything from touch-free payment opportunities to digital menus (instead of paper or plastic laminated versions) or even the ability to provide feedback afterward to help better fine-tune a safe experience.
Suddenly, the use of QR codes is taking off once again, giving the barcodes value they didn’t have before.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, quick response barcodes were quite popular and commonplace in several Asian countries. In the Western world, they could be found in a few specific places, particularly in a marketing capacity or to expand on information when signage space was inadequate. However, they were becoming increasingly scorned for their black-and-white box appearance, which many felt detracted from carefully designed marketing graphics.
However, there are some striking advantages to QR codes that make them especially useful for rapid implementation and usage in the current ecosystem. The first thing about them is that they are extremely easy to generate and display. They can be printed out or displayed on a digital screen. They can redirect a device user to a website, app download or payment system, among other uses. They are also very easy to use. Many recent phone models have scanners built right into their camera apps, but otherwise one barcode scanning app or the scanner built into a brand’s own app is all that is needed. Every smartphone has the necessary hardware and consumers are now quite familiar with what these barcodes are and how to use them.
Despite the criticism they’ve received over their looks and the fact that they have been used for dubious purposes by certain unethical people or groups, the use of QR codes has become a powerful tool for getting the job done in the pandemic crisis environment.