QR codes are still around in the U.S. but they’re not as popular as they used to be. Perhaps because so many ended up being used on billboards and in other completely useless ways, they’ve fallen out of fashion.
In Asia, however, they’re wildly popular. QR codes are the top tech for in-store payments, selfie printer apps, virtual business card exchanges, and plenty more practical uses. In China, where 95% of adults use smartphones, many carry nothing else. They pay for things (including their purchases at Asian variations of Walmart and Target, not to mention Amazon Go). They use QR codes for bus and subway tickets. They share personal information with people they meet. QR codes are used to keep track of dementia patients and to authenticate medical records.
Will people in the U.S. pick them up again? It would not surprise us at all.
Be ready when it comes around again.
QR codes are easy to make and easy to use. Except for billboard use (and forget that — it doesn’t work), they require little investment.
What’s more, they are well suited to print marketing and other offline uses.
- Add a QR code to a brochure, PDF handout, or invoice to send people to additional information. While just adding a web address makes sense for short, easily remembered URLs, a QR code lets you feature any web page. You can then update the web page without investing again in updated printed information.
- Put QR codes on product packaging, or create QR stickers you can add to packages. Link to pages that let people buy a refill, find a new recipe, or get answers to frequent questions. Again, you can always update the web page, so the QR code won’t become outdated.
- Incorporate QR codes into print ads. You can provide far more information than you could put into that cost-effective small ad. You can even embed your phone number in a QR code so that viewers can click to call from a print ad.
Generate your QR code.
Tec-It generates simple QR codes for everything from URLs to phone numbers to VCard contact data. You can use raw data or text strings, too. Send someone a poem!
QRCodePlus accepts fewer different kinds of information, but gives you more design options, including multiple colors. It also lets you track usage.
Free QR Code is more complex, but also allows you lots of flexibility in your design. Get a cup of coffee before you start playing with this one… you might spend more time here than you expect.