Here is the answer to your first question: Quick Response. That’s what is stands for.
As for what it is. Basically it’s a bar code that is scanned and readable by mobile devices with a camera. The information encoded can be a URL, text, an email address, a phone number, an SMS short code, an RSS feed or other data.
If you own a mobile device, simply download a QR Code Reader. (Some Android and Blackberry phones come with a reader already installed.) They’re free and abundant on the web. After installing the reader and opening the app, a simple picture of the code will initiate the creators intent. The example I have here will send you directly to a URL.
If you are a marketer, there are many QR Code Generators available for free on the web. They’ll generate an image for you to use as needed – for print or web.
The code itself is free from any usage license and is clearly defined and published as ISO standard. Denso Wave owns the patent rights on the QR Code, but has chosen not to exercise them.
The term QR Code itself is a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated.
The technology was developed in the mid 90s but has only recently gained traction and widespread use in recent years – mostly in Japan.
What does this mean – and how can I use it?
Keep your eyes open. This may have more mainstream use in Japan, but it is starting to show up more and more in the States.
Think of the marketing opportunities. Every retail package should have this code on it. As consumers become more and more tech savvy and smartphones become more commonplace the consumer – some of whom are already using bar code scanners for price comparing – will realize that a quick QR scan can send them to a site for instant product information.
As a B2B manufacturer, you can now put critical information that’s instantly accessible like safety or hazard information, assembly instructions or service information right on your product.
Non-profits such as The American Cancer Society can have a poster at a public event that has a code on it sending prospects directly to a donation site.
Any ad can offer opting into an SMS program.
The applications for this are endless – and if utilized properly a powerful marketing tool.
Basically it’s just a link, but if you’re not using it, it’s a missing link and a lost sales opportunity.