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How QR Codes Can Benefit Your Small Business

December 23rd, 2011
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This QR Code will bring you to the Stamps.com Blog

In recent years, companies have been adding small squares of scattered cubes that look like a barcode on to their  advertisements in the pages of magazines, newspapers and even on TV. When consumers scan these squares with their smartphone camera, they are directed to a web site to receive extra information about the company, its product or a special promotion.

These scannable fields are called Quick Response codes, or QR codes. By using them in advertisements, companies have found a new way to get customers to engage in their brands and entice them to buy their products.

How QR Codes Work
A QR code can be scanned like a barcode, but a QR code contains a lot more information than just what a product is. When read with the proper software using the phone’s camera, a QR code can launch links, download a file, share coupons and more.  Most QR code reader software is available for free from your cell provider. Once you have the reader software, you just need to scan the QR code and the reader will pull in the company information.

QR Codes and Your Business
There are many creative ways a small business owner can  use QR codes.  

If you have a retail store, you can post a QR code in the window for customers who stop by after closing time to encourage them to learn more about your company, see customer reviews or even shop at your e-commerce store.   

Catalog distributers have also started to use QR codes on specific pages so a buyer can link directly to the product page to make a purchase.  Other examples include showing the QR code on a map so customers can download directions or including the QR code on a restaurant menu to show a video of the meal being prepared.  Another example could be in a museum linking the viewer to a bio on the artist.

Your product itself also can be used as a canvas for a QR code. The code can take your customer to a site that has a Quick Start guide or that displays technical specs  

Large entities, such as the U.S. Postal Service, have also started encouraging business owners to use QR codes. The USPS ran a promotion in August 2011 that gave mailers a 3 percent rate discount for including QR codes on their direct mailings.

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