QR Code 101: Everything You Need to Know About QR Codes in 2023

Maria Prakkat
8 min readJun 18, 2023
QR Codes are scanned for payments. (Source)

All I hear everywhere I go is about QR Codes. No, it’s not just QR Code for making payments, but also for downloading promotional materials, accessing a social media profile, becoming a loyal customer to a brand, and much more. The fuss is real, and being a QR Code fanatic, I wanted to open up the world of QR Codes to each and every one out there, so anyone who hasn’t leveraged this cool-looking technology can do so soon! So here’s everything you need to know about QR Codes in 2023. Let’s get started!

Table of Contents

· Decoding the QR Code
· QR Codes — How Do They Work?
· Types of QR Codes
· How To Create a QR Code?
· Conclusion

Decoding the QR Code

QR Codes are the rebels of the traditional barcode world. These two-dimensional marvels are like digital Swiss Army knives. All you got to do is, scan them using your mobile device’s camera or a QR Code reader app. And now, iPhones have in-built QR Code scanners for increased accessibility, a simple testament to its increased adoption.

But let’s back up a little to the origin of this technology.

QR Codes were born in 1994, courtesy of brainiacs at Denso Wave (a subsidiary of Toyota, a Japanese car company). Initially, they were all about tracking vehicles, but these days, they’re all about transforming how we interact with the digital universe. Today, QR Codes are gateways to a wealth of information and experiences.

QR Codes being scanned by a mobile device (Source).

QR Codes — How Do They Work?

QR Codes work by using a combination of patterns, shapes, and data to encode information. When a QR Code is scanned using a mobile device (or any scanner device), the decoding software interprets the pattern and extracts the embedded data. The information can be anything from a simple website URL to a complex set of instructions.

With advancements in technology, mobile devices now come equipped with built-in QR Code scanning capabilities, making it effortless for end-users to access the information contained within the codes.

Types of QR Codes

When it comes to QR Codes, they come in different types (or what I like to call — flavors), each with its own design and functionality. The two main categories that QR Codes fall into are static and dynamic. Here’s a detailed breakdown of both:

Static vs. dynamic QR Codes.

QR Codes and Their Known-Superpowers

Most marketers and brand owners have understood the potential of QR Codes, now.

“No more rushing back home, frantically racking your brain, trying to remember the website you wanted to visit earlier,” enthuses Rick Mathieson, a marketing consultant, and author.

You use your trusty phone, that constant companion we all carry, and bam! You’re ready to take action right then and there. No more delays, no more lost opportunities. It’s the power of instant gratification at your fingertips!” He continued.

Moreover, QR Codes come with tons of advantages that even users can’t simply get enough of. But the truth is, there are still tons of brands that have not explored QR Codes. This made me wonder, do QR Code generators comes with a huge learning curve? Are they difficult solution to handle?

Let’s find out!

They Are Easy to Create and Share

No more manual data entry and long paper trails. QR Codes make life a breeze. Just grab your phone, scan it, and voila! No more typing in long URLs or exchanging business cards, such as back in the day.

And creating them is as easy as it could be! I checked out a few solutions to come to a conclusion, and I think this is the easiest marketing technology you can leverage. Add your marketing material, choose a pattern or the customizations you need, download or share them digitally, and that’s all, folks!

They Are a Jack of All Trades

QR Codes are truly versatile. They can blend into any industry, from marketing and retail to hospitality and healthcare. Need to share product information, discount details, event updates, or even contactless payment options? QR Codes have got you covered!

Tracking Jedi

Thinking QR Codes just pretty squares? Think again! With reliable QR Code makers, you can track scan stats, measure engagement levels, and tap into important user behavior data that can make or break your marketing campaigns.

Budget-Friendly Heroes

QR Codes are not expensive, and it’s the truth. While most marketing technologies come with a high cost (at least initially), you can get QR Codes for free! That’s right! Many QR Code generators are free to use. And if you need one with a lot more features, then you can find a paid QR Code generator for as low as $5 a month.

Better Customer Experience, Better the Engagement

It’s not just us, but even Industry leaders have recognized the power of QR Codes in driving customer engagement.

As Angela Ahrendts, former Senior Vice President of Retail at Apple, stated, “QR Codes bring digital experiences to physical spaces, allowing customers to connect and interact on a deeper level.

Moreover, customers can access product details and promotional offers by scanning a QR Code and even participate in interactive experiences.

QR COde on Apple TV. (Source).

Contactless Payments

Imagine you’re at a store, ready to pay for your goodies. You use your phone instead of taking out your wallet, such as a tech-savvy ninja. The cashier presents a QR Code on the payment terminal, and you zap it with your phone’s camera. The transaction is complete within seconds, and you’re off on your merry way. No fumbling. No hassle. Just an uninterrupted, futuristic payment experience.

QR Code for payments (Source).

Epic QR Code Adventures

Let us understand some use cases of QR Codes in action.

Marketing Mavericks

QR Codes are the rockstars of marketing campaigns. Picture this: you’re strolling down the street, see a billboard with a QR Code, scan it, and boom! You’re instantly linked to a mind-blowing video or a killer deal. It’s such magic in your pocket.

QR Codes for SMS Marketing (Source)
  • You Can Stand Out In the Crowd

QR Codes are the coolest way to make your brand stand out in a crowd! Think about it: when you walk down the street, you’re surrounded by advertisements and promotions. But wait! What’s that intriguing black-and-white pattern that stands out? A QR Code. It’s a secret doorway to a world of excellent content or mind-blowing deals. People can’t help but be curious and scan that code.

  • Engage With Consumers On the Go

We live in a fast-paced world, and attention spans are shorter than ever. Traditional advertising methods? Nope, nobody has got time for that! But with a QR Code, you can capture the attention of potential customers in a flash. They can quickly use their mobile devices, scan the code, and instantly access relevant content or exclusive offers. It’s quick, it’s convenient, and it’s tailored to the busy lives we lead.

  • Makes Your Campaigns Interactive

QR Codes bridge the gap between what you see and what’s lurking online. You’re at a store, eyeing a product that catches your fancy. But you want more information: videos, reviews, maybe even a virtual tour. Just scan that QR Code and prepare to be amazed. Suddenly, you’re transported to a world of interactive experiences and extensive information related to that product. It’s like the web has come alive before your eyes.

QR Code Scanner (Source).

Retail Revolutionaries

QR Codes are taking the retail world by storm. They can dish out product details, rave reviews, and even personalized discounts. Talk about retail therapy!

For example, Heinz, the iconic condiment brand, knows how to spice things up, especially when it comes to being environmentally friendly. When they introduced their new eco-friendly packaging, they didn’t just stop at reducing waste: they added a dash of QR Code magic to engage their customers in a fun and educational way.

QR Code on product packaging (Source).

Restaurant Rulers

Dining out has become easier and more enjoyable with the use of QR Codes placed on restaurant tables. Instead of traditional menus, a digital menu appears on your phone, offering a clean and interactive experience. In some places, you can even order and pay directly from your table. The future of dining is both convenient and delicious.

For example, TGI Fridays, a global casual dining chain, has incorporated QR Codes into its menu system. Customers can scan the QR Code to access the menu, explore special offers, and place orders.

QR Codes used by TGI Fridays for restaurant menus (Source).

Travel Titans

QR Codes are jet-setting their way through the travel industry. Exploring a museum? Spot a QR Code near an exhibit, zap it, and get the lowdown on that ancient artifact. Hotels and airlines have hopped on the QR bandwagon too. Checking in or boarding a flight? Scan that QR Code and glide through the process.

For example, British Airways, a major airline, has implemented QR Codes in their mobile app for contactless check-in. Passengers can scan the QR Code on their mobile device at the airport to obtain their boarding pass and expedite the check-in process.

QR Code for easy check-in by British Airways (Source).

How To Create a QR Code?

QR Codes for restaurant menus (Source).

Getting a QR Code is easy! There are plenty of online QR Code generators available. You can create QR Codes for websites, for sharing your contact info, videos, or SMS with just one step.

If you’re looking for a Dynamic QR Code solution that enables you to create codes that are editable, with enterprise-ready features, for scalability, then you can consider a solution like Beaconstac.

And wait! Creating a QR Code with this solution is easy peasy. Here are the steps:

  1. To begin, visit this link right — www.beaconstac.com/qr-code-generator.
  2. Select the type of QR Code campaign you want to embark on — whether it’s a website URL or a PDF, just to name a couple.
  3. Now comes the fun part — customization! Some QR Code makers go above and beyond by offering you the chance to let your creativity run wild.
  4. Choose the ideal file format for your QR Code, and get ready for the magical moment — click that download button!

QR Codes Spark a Marketing Revolution

QR Codes have emerged as powerful tools that blur the lines between the physical and digital worlds. Their ability to unlock information and experiences has become an integral part of our everyday lives. As industry leaders continue to explore better ways to use this technology, the possibilities for connecting with customers and enhancing their experiences are boundless.

So, the next time you come across a QR Code, remember the opportunities it holds and the incredible journey it can take you on.

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Maria Prakkat

Crafting captivating narratives and optimizing user experiences for B2B and tech giants.