QR Code Online
Although the technology to use quick response (QR) codes has existed since the 1990s, it didn't become a mainstream technology until 2020. Originally designed as an inventory control tool for the automotive industry, QR Codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can store more data than a traditional bar code. The technology is often used to access online sources such as websites or network locations.
The first QR Codes required special equipment for scanning, which limited their adoption. Today, Android 8 and iPhones 11 and above incorporate the technology as part of the camera function. With 6.8 billion people owning smartphones in 2023, the technology is readily available to 85 percent of the world's population.
However, most smartphone users underutilized this functionality until companies started to use the technology to deliver contactless interactions in 2020. Now, QR Codes are used for marketing campaigns, product information, and customer engagement. As the technology grows in popularity, companies are finding innovative ways to expand its use.
What Are Quick Response (QR) Codes?
QR Codes are small black-and-white squares arranged in a larger black-and-white square. The printed square has encoded data that can be scanned and then decoded. Optical scanners use three corners of the square to identify the code orientation and another sequence of squares to indicate the coordinate system for the code.
Codes can range in size from 177 x 177 pixels to 21 x 21 pixels, which can contain a maximum of 4,296 alphanumeric characters. A micro-version of a QR Code supports 11 x 11 to 17 x 17 pixels. The size range makes the technology adaptable to multiple implementations. For example, organizations are using QR Codes for the following.
Coca-Cola uses QR Codes to engage customers. When people scan the QR Code on a can, they are taken to a page that lets them enter a sweepstake to win prizes. Other campaigns let customers print coupons. Because Coca-Cola consistently uses QR Codes for customer engagement, many consumers scan the QR Code to see what is new.
As part of its augmented reality launch, Zara displayed a QR Code in its store windows. The scanned code took the consumer to its download page to receive the application that can be used in-store or online. The company also places QR Codes in store windows to advertise new fashions. Customers can learn about new products without entering the store.
Many big box stores, such as Walmart and Target, have been using QR Codes for years to provide added product information or promotional offers for their customers.
But brands other than these big retailers can harness the power of QR Code technology.
Although retailers quickly adopted the technology to deliver improved customer experiences, manufacturers are just now catching on to the benefits of QR Codes. Manufacturers can create a digital product experience that leads to an app or landing page with the troubleshooting information a customer needs to solve product problems on their own without needing to contact customer support.
How to Make a QR Code for a Link?
For QR Codes to work across platforms, they must conform to the International Standards Organization (ISO) ISO/IEC18004 publication. The standard specifies how a QR Code is built. It defines the seven elements that make up a black-and-white square. The elements tell scanners how the information is formatted and positioned within the code so it can be extracted correctly.
A QR Code generator is a software application that creates a QR Code. Most QR generators are web-based applications that users access for a fee. Some QR generators are free. Many free generators only create static codes, which have less functionality than dynamic ones.
Dynamic vs. Static Codes
QR Codes can be static or dynamic. Let’s take a look at the difference between these two types.
Static - Static QR Codes cannot be edited. They work well in inventory control environments where individual components are tracked. Added data can be encoded to help with inventory management. However, the more data, the longer it takes to scan.
Dynamic - Dynamic QR Codes can be edited to change the encoded data. The software can also track the number of scans per code to help evaluate performance and user behavior. Because their content can be changed, dynamic codes are reusable, eliminating the need for generating multiple codes.
How to Use QR Codes in Manufacturing
QR Codes aren't just for accessing digital restaurant menus. They have multiple use cases, ranging from accessing registration forms to event information to extensive product onboarding. Here are some additional ways manufacturers can use QR Codes in their marketing strategies.
Companies use a QR Code generator with links to direct users to a URL without typing the address. Marketers will often use QR Codes as activations for content such as product guides, product catalogs, user guides, and more. The benefit of creating content activated by a QR Code is that the individual can save the digital experience on their device and share it with other individuals.
Manufacturers may need to supply installation instructions and maintenance information. Generating a QR Code online allows companies to create product experiences that can be easily accessed by customers. Rather than reissuing paper-based documents, manufacturers can use a QR Code generator with links to direct the user to the appropriate documentation. Embedding video links can improve the customer experience for visual learners.
Product Registration and Warranty
QR Codes can also direct users to interactive product registration forms that include warranty information. Separate QR Codes can be created for registering the product and viewing warranty information. Generating a QR Code online creates a frictionless customer experience.
Why Manufacturers Should Use QR Codes
Manufacturers can leverage QR Code technology to enhance customer experiences and differentiate their brands. They can also use the technology to deliver accurate information about their products and services. Marketing can streamline processes by digitizing materials accessed through QR Codes.
Single Source of Truth
If manufacturers do not provide needed information, people will search the web for answers. Companies can ensure their customers receive accurate data by using QR Codes printed on packaging, for example. By making data readily available, manufacturers can reduce the frustrations that customers often experience because of faulty information.
Collecting user data through cookies will disappear in 2024 when Google will cease to support them. Organizations will need alternative methods to capture information. QR Codes can help. They can track the number of times a code is scanned by the same device. They can determine how many customers were engaged and how many abandoned the journey after the scan. The numbers are valuable data for developing marketing strategies.
Reprinting documents is expensive. When new product features are available, web pages must be updated. Using QR Codes can minimize the cost of these changes. Centralizing data means updating is performed in one location that is accessible through QR Codes. Digitizing data not only helps reduce costs but also helps the environment.
How Do I Scan a QR Code with My Phone?
Scanning a QR Code no longer requires a special application. Today's users only need to point and click the camera on their smartphone to scan a QR Code. The technology is built into the device. When the camera "sees" a QR Code, it becomes a QR Code scanner. You no longer need to ask, "Can I scan a QR Code without using an app?"
Scanning With an iPhone
Any iPhone running iOS11 or later supports QR scanning. Earlier iOS releases require a QR Code application that is available in the App Store.
Scan QR Codes using the following steps:
Touch the camera icon.
Position the camera over the code.
Tap on the notification shown in yellow.
Scanning With an Android
Android 8 supports QR Code scanning. Earlier releases require a QR Code application that is available in the PlayStore.
To scan a QR Code, use the following steps
Open the camera.
Position the camera over the code using the viewfinder.
Tap the yellow-highlighted banner or lens.
Scanning With an Application
Although newer smartphones can scan QR Codes online without apps, older devices may not. Numerous QR scanning applications are available for smartphones and tablets. Query the App Store, PlayStore, or the web for options.
Can I Make a QR Code for Free?
The simple answer is yes. However, the follow-up question should be, "Should I?" If companies are looking for static, one-time-use QR Codes, free generators may provide the needed functionality; however, manufacturers looking to differentiate their brands may want to customize their codes. A free QR Code generator may not provide the same level of customization, scalability, security, and tracking that paid generators do.
Free online generators only support static QR Codes. Some generators allow an unlimited number of single-use codes, while others place restrictions on the number of uses. Static codes do not expire. Fee-based generators support both static and dynamic with few restrictions.
Platforms offering free QR Codes rarely offer customization. If a change is needed, a new code is required. Customizing options are available with dynamic codes and may include colors, logos, decorative elements, custom borders, and background images. Combining these options enables manufacturers to create innovative codes that attract users.
Most free platforms generate one QR Code at a time. This process can be time-consuming and tedious if multiple codes are needed. Paid generators may have the capability of generating codes in batches, minimizing the time needed to produce hundreds of codes.
Digital data is hackable data. Platforms that generate free QR Codes may not incorporate comprehensive security measures to protect sensitive data.
A free QR Code generator generally does not offer tracking capabilities. Without information on user behavior from this channel, marketing strategies and business decisions will be based on incomplete data.
Maybe the better question is, "Are there any truly free QR Code generators that deliver the full capabilities of dynamic and static codes?" The simple answer is no.
Frequently Asked Questions
Because this technology is still relatively new to many consumers, there are several questions that arise when using this technology. Let’s take a look at some FAQs about QR Codes.
Is a QR Code free for life? The length of a QR Code fully depends on the QR Code generator. Many free QR Codes expire after a certain length of time.
How do I scan QR Codes online? - You need a QR Code scanner and an active web camera to scan the QR Code online.
Can I scan QR Code online without an app? - You can use the camera on your smartphone to scan a QR Code online.
How do I create a QR Code online? - You need a web-based QR Code generator. If you want to generate a QR Code with an embedded URL, you need a QR Code generator with link capabilities.
What Is the Best QR Code Generator for Manufacturers?
Given the diversity in manufacturing, companies need cost-effective ways to connect with their customers. That's why finding the best QR Code generator with links is so crucial.
The following features should be considered when looking for the best QR Code generator:
Bulk Generation - Check that bulk generation is available. It may not seem significant in the beginning, but the capability will be invaluable as a business scales.
Dynamic QR Code Generation - Make sure the generator supports the ability to change the content, link, etc. behind the QR Code.
Analytics and Integration - While customer engagement is important, the data from that interaction is priceless. If a platform doesn't provide tracking capabilities or integration into solutions such as Google Analytics for enterprise data analysis, you're missing critical user information.
Management Features - Make sure the solution has a dashboard that is intuitive and easy to use. If it supports access levels, you can collaborate with others without compromising data.
Get Started with Lumavate
As more companies deploy QR Codes as part of their marketing strategies, manufacturers need a solution that can quickly locate and connect digital assets for a faster-to-market delivery.
That’s exactly what Lumavate does.
Lumavate is a Product Experience Management (PXM) Platform that has a Product Information Management (PIM), Digital Asset Management (DAM), and Digital Experience Platform (DXP) capabilities. By using the Lumavate Platform, manufacturers can centralize their product data, manage their digital assets, and create engaging digital product experiences for their customers all in one platform. Plus, they can generate QR Codes tied to their digital product experiences.
Why not schedule a demo to tour our product experience platform with our product experts?
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