QR Codes, or to give them their full name – Quick Response Codes – are three dimensional bar codes that a business can generate for FREE enabling them to direct their customers to further information about a product or service.

This is what a QR code looks like:

QR Codes - TheMarketingShop.ie

In order to view the content, smartphone users should download a QR Scanner app which essentially takes the image and converts it into text.

If you’re a business and wonder how you might use it, here are five options which may be suited to your business;

  • Advertisements – it’s always difficult to cram everything you want into your allocated space on a newspaper ad.  If you add a QR code you can direct the reader to your website for more information.
  • Food labels – currently in use on quite a lot of food products, the QR code is a fantastic way of adding additional information in relation to nutrition or ingredients.
  • Your business card – a particularly interesting option for those who tend to collect a lot of business cards through work or exhibitions for example. Instead of having to take all of the cards home – and let’s face it, it’s always the one you don’t have that you need – you just scan the code and you’ve got the details in your phone.
  • Retail – if you’ve got taken in a new product for example that might be a little tricky to operate or install, wouldn’t it be fantastic to offer a QR code in-store or on the packaging so that the customer can watch a youtube video instead of following the paper instructions?
  • E-marketing – you may have a lot to say, or you might like to offer an incentive to others to sign-up to your database.  Offering special offers via a QR code for email recipients differentiates them from the rest of your customers thus encouraging more sign-ups.

These are just a couple of ideas for your average business user and we have already seen it in use in shop windows, printed on t-shirts and in other places we wouldn’t have expected – yet!

Creation of these codes is as we’ve mentioned above, FREE so at some point we may find ourselves inundated with little black and white boxes storing all sorts of wonderful information.  You can also have them created with your logo or in your brand colours, not to mention in an array of alternative shapes.  Although they may look more appealing, some QR Readers have encountered difficulties with some of the more unusual options – including a well known Irish brand with a green QR code that doesn’t scan – so for now we’d recommend that you stick with square.

And our final word on QR codes for today, if you’ve got a QR Code app on your phone why not scan our code so that you’ll have our details to hand when you need a little extra help with marketing.


Debbie McDonnell is the owner of TheMarketingShop.ie who work with SMEs across a range of sectors in Social Media, Digital Marketing & Traditional Marketing. She has worked with major brands on and offline, is a Graduate of both The Marketing Institute of Ireland and The Digital Marketing Institute and has over 20 years professional experience.

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