Have you seen this image before? Have you wondered what it means? Do you have a smartphone? Then read on to unlock the “hidden potential” of QR Codes!
What is a QR Code?
A QR code is a super cool way for practically anyone to share information with other people. It is designed to squeeze lots of information into that little black and white square, just waiting for a scanner to reveal its secrets.
Piqued your interest? Want to know why you too might want to scan QR codes? Because you just don’t know what a QR code might unlock. Here’s six examples of where QR codes have been used to unlock both fun and savings.
- Free Lunch Special: Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch? Start scanning restaurant QR codes and you might just receive a “Buy one get one free” coupon for your next meal. Woohoo! Restaurants are using QR codes to share with their customers special coupon offers, videos of special dishes being prepared, recipes, take-out menus, even interviews with the executive chef.
- Free Stuff: Really! You might unlock a link to a freebie, and who doesn’t like free stuff? That’s what Mountain Dew and Taco Bell did in a recent joint promotion. QR codes on Taco Bell drink cups linked to a free music download. Wow! Scanning the QR code got you a song to go with your taco!
- Informed Shopper: Cutting edge retailers like Starbucks are implementing QR codes to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences. Using the Starbucks Phone App with its own imbedded QR code reader, learn more about that bag of Starbucks java, including where the beans were grown and how to best prepare this particular brew.
- Museums Made More Interesting: While exploring your local museum, you see these black and white squares at many of the exhibits and recognize them as QR codes. Scan away to enlightenment! Savvy museums like The Cleveland Museum of Art are embracing QR codes to enhance their visitors’ museum experience. These QR codes can direct visitors to online or audio tours, fun facts or additional information about that exhibit.
- Zoo Fun: QR codes have gone wild! Discover wild stuff at zoos like The Santa Barbara Zoo, where QR codes enable you to “interact” even more with the animals. Scanning a QR code sign might link the guest to behind the scenes videos of animals being fed, playing, or interacting with a zoo handler. Try it out! Scan this QR code and it will link you to the YouTube video, A Day at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
- Personalized Gift Tags: JCPenny’s “Who’s Your Santa” program this past Christmas took pre-recorded messages to a whole new level. Gift purchases came with a QR coded gift tag that enabled you to record a personal message. Check it out with this YouTube video!
What will QR codes do next, virtual grocery store shopping?
Imagine yourself accessing your grocery store’s virtual grocery shelves while relaxing at home. Using your QR code scanner, you scan the items you want and each item scanned is added to your grocery basket. Once finished, you check out online, and tomorrow, your groceries are ready for pick up. Or perhaps delivered right to your door! Sounds like a dream right? Well, this isn’t as futuristic as it sounds! South Koreans are already doing this at global supermarket giant TESCO.
Now for some technical details to get you started on your own QR code fun:
How Do You “Read” a QR Code?
You will need three essential items:
- A device with a camera such as a smartphone or iPad2.
- A bar code scanner app that can read QR codes.
- An internet connection.
Once you have a bar code scanner installed on your internet-accessible device, you are good to go! Simply open up the scanner app, point the camera at the QR code, and scan away. It really is that easy to unlock a QR code’s secrets. Check out the JCPenny YouTube video for demonstration of how to scan a QR code.
Where Do You Get a QR Code Reader?
There’s an App Store for that! Check out your device’s Apps Store where you will find a wide selection of QR code readers for both Apple and Android camera enabled devices. Here are a few of the more popular QR code reader apps to choose from:
Apple QR and Bar Code Scanner Apps:
Android QR and Bar Code Scanner Apps:
Even better: these apps are FREE! You shouldn’t need to spend anything to get a quality QR code reader. If you have an iPhone, you already have a QR code reader via the Google search app that comes with the phone.
Not only are QR codes fun, they can also unlock savings to the intrepid QR code scanner. That would be you! So go on now, get in the habit of scanning those codes! Enlighten yourself, add fun to your day, and perhaps even find yourself a great coupon savings. You just never know what a QR code scan will unlock.
Are you ready to unlock your own QR code secrets?
Are you already a QR code scanner? What’s your favorite QR link you’ve scanned? Do you have a favorite QR Code Reader App? Let us know in the Comments Section below.