QR Codes and Microsoft Tags
If you haven't heard of QR codes or Microsoft Tags yet, then here is an
introduction that will be of interest.
QR codes look like this one:
or...like this one...a Microsoft Tag
QR codes got started in Japan where they are very common.
They will soon be very common in the rest of the world, as
well. QR is an abbreviation for "Quick Response" (the codes
can be read very quickly and easily by a smart phone). The
codes are used to take information from static sources like
business cards, magazine ads, or images on a computer screen
and put it into your cell phone where you can use it more
Microsoft has recently started competing with QR codes
with its Microsoft Tags product (see the link below). You'll soon see QR Codes
and/or Microsoft Tags in magazine
advertisements, on billboards, web pages or even people's
t-shirts. How about a QR code or tag as a tattoo? Now there
is a thought!
Once the code or tag (I'll just call them codes from here
on out) is in your smart phone, it provides you
with details like business name, address, phone, website
URL, text messages or video. It allows users to easily search for nearby
locations or other details described in the code.
It can even show you a URL which can allow you to see a
movie trailer, or it might give you a coupon to use
for a particular discount or other offer.
Codes are more useful than traditional barcodes
because they can store and digitally present much more data,
including URL links, geo coordinates, and text. Another
important feature of QR Codes is that they can easily be
scanned by anyone with a smart phone that has the scanning softward downloaded. This software is easy to get and quick
to download and it operates automatically. Point the phone
at the code and presto...the translated information pops
The Wikipedia description of QR codes is
How does the cell phone read the code?
As mentioned earlier, your smart phone and a code reader
like this one from Kaywa
or this one
from Microsoft are all that is required to enter the code world.
It takes only a minute for someone with an iPhone or Android
phone to find and install the reader of your choice. After you have installed the reader application, you open
the reader, point the phone at the code and bang...it
does the rest!
How do you generate a code?
You'll need to generate the code with a QR code
or tag generator. There are many free code generators available to you
on the web.
Again, Kaywa.com has
a good generator but there are others that generate
different kinds of codes.
How can you use codes to benefit search
We are only just scratching the surface of how they will
be used. Since QR codes are for smart phones, it is more
important than ever to have a
mobile website. Here are a few examples of how others are using
Here is a business card company demoing how they are
using them for business:
This is a demo of a QR code used in print...linking the
user straight to a website:
Even though the text on this video is in German, you'll
see some interesting QR code merchandising examples:
Here is an interesting
interview on BBC.
Will your customers really use these codes?
For now, they are very new and few people are really
using them. But that gives you an edge if you start
employing them today. And your customers who are technically
savvy will appreciate your knowledge and the convenience
your are providing to them.
Can Small Businesses use QR codes or MS
Any business, no matter how small or large, can use QR
codes in lots of ways. You can put one next to every
product on your website that contains ALL the product
details, the number to call and the URL link to the correct
page on your website. This way it is easy to show
the product to friends or associates on your cell
phone. You can add a code to your business card that
contains all your contact details so it's easy for someone to
add you to their contact list on their cell phone.
You can add them to any print advertising, flyers,
posters, invitations, and TV ads. Use your imagination. They
- Product details
- Contact details
- Special offers
- Event details
- Competition details
- Twitter, Facebook, MySpace IDs
- Links to your YouTube videos
Want to learn more about QR codes and Microsoft Tags? Check out these