Whether you knew what they were or not, you’ve undoubtedly seen them.

The now ubiquitous QR code has been around for donkey’s years (well, in online terms) – originating in Japan in 1994. The QR code works very similarly to a bar code, the main difference being that a service type is embedded along with the message, such as, I am an email or I am a telephone number – which means that when your QR reader deciphers the code, it knows what it should do with it.

So what?

Over the last two years their use has grown exponentially, from discrete business card additions to multi-storey billboards, it has even reached clothing.

They are nifty and digital, but how can a QR code achieve something… anything?

A QR code, by appealing to a digital hunger we all have, freely admit to but can never be satisfied, can achieve any and all of:

  1. increased customer engagement,
  2. attracting new people to you,
  3. increased site traffic (avoiding typos and just out of interest),
  4. higher bounce rate (due to those nosey people in 3. ;)),
  5. less rekeying for the world,
  6. appreciative customers who now have a very quick method of reaching the right place in your website and not having to type a-very-long-web-page-name-which-contains-either-a-capital-I-or-a-lower-case-l-but-you’re-not-sure-which,
  7. and many, many more.


A QR code has to be deciphered, meaning, you can hide your message – asking the user to engage just a little bit to find out what you went to the bother of hiding. A fun application of which I have enjoyed working on @PolicyBee – if you want to check it out, read more on their blog.