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The QR (Quick Response) code is a two-dimensional matrix barcode developed in 1994 for the Japanese automotive industry. Since then, it has become popular and has been used in several contexts, such as marketing and data sharing. With the advent of digital payments, it has become one of the popular means for consumers to make mobile payments by scanning QR codes instantly. These codes have been there for years, and their applications are still very much growing.
Benefits of QR Codes
There are many benefits of using a QR code. The following are just a few common ones:
1. QR codes are also used to make payments online. The central government has been pushing for a cashless economy for some time now. Further, the COVID-19 pandemic has given an additional push for contactless payments. These have made payments through QR codes at POS terminals popular. Additionally, they can also be used for making online payments on eCommerce portals.
2. They act as a bridge between the online and the offline world. Offline media, such as flyers, cards, and brochures, are usually not connected to your online media, such as your website. QR code acts as a bridge. For example, instead of printing your contact details on your brochure, you can print a QR code. A person can scan it and be lead directly to the website’s landing page.
3. A QR code is more informative. Unlike your online assets like a website, you can provide limited information in your print assets. By scanning a QR code, users can gain much more information than what is available in your print assets.
4. They can be used as a call-to-action (CTA). They can be easily linked to tweets, stories, landing pages, and other rich content. Further, you can embed a CTA, such as “Call Us” or ‘Email Us”, in the QR code. Hence, by scanning the QR code, users will be automatically led to dial your number or an email draft.
5. You can measure its effectiveness. Print media often does not allow you to measure the leads generated or sales done. By adding QR codes, you can start analyzing your results based on leads and clicks.
So, What Makes QR Code So Special?
The best part of the QR code is that it is very affordable, and anyone can make use of it. Fast readability and more extensive storage capability of QR codes is the main reason for its quick and fast implementation. Making payment via QR codes is exceptionally quick as compared to other modes of payment. All the user has to do is open a QR code scanning app, scan it, and authorize to process the payment within a few seconds.
QR code is preferred compared to other payment modes due to the following advantages:
– It stores a massive amount of data. While a traditional barcode can hold a maximum of 20 digits, a QR code can handle several dozens or even a few hundred times more information.
– It can be scanned from a display board or paper. Further, QR code is capable of omnidirectional and high-speed reading.
– A QR code is dirt and damage-resistant and has error correction capability. This means it can be read even if a part of the code is damaged.
– It is secure because data is encrypted.
The Surge in QR Code’s Popularity in the Past Year
While QR code lost its popularity over the years, it suddenly rose to prominence in the last few years, especially in 2020. The following are the significant reasons.
– 2020 was the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted everything around the globe. The year faced one of the worst economic situations in recent years. Further, the concepts of social distancing, contactless marketing, and safety first became the new norm of interaction and financial transactions. Two primary methods could achieve contactless transactions — near field communication (NFC) and QR codes.
– While both support contactless transactions, QR codes became more popular. This is because the minimum distance to scan a QR code is 25 cm, whereas, for NFC, it is 4 cm. Considering the distance from which a QR code could be scanned, it saw widespread adoption in contactless payment, digital menus, self-service food ordering, and contact-free clothing returns at retail locations, to name a few.
– Further, a QR code provides a digital infrastructure that small and medium-sized businesses can use to deliver completely touchless payment solutions. Unlike card payments, it can be set up swiftly and easily without demanding dedicated hardware like chip and PIN machines. QR code is preferred over other payment modes since it is a highly affordable solution for businesses, organizations, and brands that wish to transform their print communications into a more linked digital experience.
QR codes carry the presence of being a tech-savvy payment method while offering a smooth customer experience. They provide few unique benefits over other means of payments. Further, they are widely being used everywhere to promote cashless India. The future of QR codes hinges on their usage and perception in diverse industry applications that are expected to rise in the years ahead as they are useful, accurate, and simple to use.