You may have seen these little white boxes with funny black shapes inside them popping up on all types of products and wondered what they were. These are commonly referred to as QR codes, which is short for quick response codes. These codes are sometimes called "2D" or "square" codes. They are, basically, a type of barcode.
Instead of simply storing a price, QR codes have the capacity to hold a whole lot of information. And like any barcode you will need a scanner to extract the information. This is where your mobile phone comes in. There are a number of apps (applications) you can download onto your smartphone (such as an iPhone or similar) that will allow you to unlock the information hidden in the QR code. Once you have the app it's as simple as hovering your phone's camera over the top of the QR code and the information is automatically unlocked.
You are then immediately taken to a website that gives you more detailed information on a product or service. It allows companies to interact directly with you and in most instances you'll find the QR code will take you straight to their websites.
The codes are currently being used on product labels (including wine labels), in advertising and for inventory tracking. The potential uses are endless as a way of linking end users to information on the internet.
At Rapid Labels we are able to generate and print QR codes, we just need to know the URL address you'd like to direct users to.
QR barcodes are not controlled by GS1.
Download QR codes from Educause.
More recently we've become an approved partner of Expander who generate unique QR codes.
It is now possible to generate a unique QR code for each individual item of product.
Why might this be useful? There are three primary reasons: to minimise counterfeiting risks, to maximise traceability and to increase the connection with your customers.
Tracking of individual QR scans worldwide is possible. When a consumer scans the QR code, the location of the scan can be recorded and trending of scans is monitored over time. If you had not sold your product into a particular region and yet you were seeing many scans in that region, it is possible the product has been counterfeited.
Smart coding can be implemented and many different messages returned to the purchaser. For example, multiple scans of one code can return a warning message. This would also signal to the manufacturer that the label had been copied without the secure, unique code ie it had been counterfeited. Your customers can have confidence that they are buying the real deal.
A secure, unique QR code on each individual unit of product allows for individual messages to be returned to the customer for that product. For example, if the batch that the product belonged to had a fault, it would return a message to the consumer to be wary/to return it. The messages are tailor-made and can be changed at any time.
A call to action can follow the scanning of your QR code. Registration of the customer for prizes, newsletters, special offers - whatever you can tempt them with is possible using this method of encouraging repeat purchases.
Or perhaps your product is distributed by a third party? You can have visibility of the location of your consumers by tracking where they scan without relying or waiting on the distribution network to provide the information.
Expander is a newly created company (early 2013) that has all of the knowledge and proprietary systems to create QR code databases and to track and report on their activity. The team at Expander have an excellent product to show you. Find out more about them on www.expander.co.nz
Rapid Labels is an Approved Print Partner of Expander. We'll take receipt of your Expander-generated QR code database and print a unique QR code on each one of your labels. We can talk you through the Expander offer, including pricing. Any one of our Account Managers will be able to help.