How to Use QR Codes at Your Small Business
In an increasingly digital and contactless world, using QR codes for business solutions has become common practice. You may already be familiar with using QR codes to pull up restaurant menus and make payments, but they can offer a world of other functionalities, too. Thanks to their low cost and ease of use, businesses implement QR codes in their advertising and marketing campaigns to foster awareness, loyalty, engagement, and more. Here, discover what a QR code is, how to make a QR code, and how it can help your small business boom.
How Do QR Codes Work?
Quick response (QR) codes are unique barcodes that store built-in digital data. When these codes are scanned and decoded by a smartphone camera, digital content (like images, websites, and apps) pulls straight up onto the device’s screen. QR codes can be an invaluable tool to bring consumers directly and quickly to a source—like a drink menu or e-commerce site.
What Are the Most Common Uses of QR Codes?
Brands of all sizes use QR codes to attract, educate, and retain customers, advance brand discovery, and capture consumer information or behavior. QR codes for businesses are especially convenient for smaller-scale owners since using them is often more affordable than other marketing tactics. If you want to keep costs low while growing your business, QR codes can be a great option.
9 QR Code Uses for Small Businesses
There are many surprising and creative ways to use QR codes for business needs. Thinking about the goals of your small business can help you decide where to place your QR codes and what information you want them to store. Below are a few examples of how these digital goldmines can promote or strengthen your small business.
Enhancing business cards
Place a QR code on your physical business card and have it pull up additional information about your business. This is a great idea if your small business is currently a side gig and you attend networking events. If you’re in real estate, your card’s QR code can direct prospective buyers to a URL of your listings. Every scan can give clients real-time property updates.
Promoting brand discovery
If you snag valuable advertising real estate in public places (think bus stops or park benches), a QR code can convey more about your business that your limited ad space cannot. Have your code bring users to your website landing page or provide a clickable menu to let them explore your social media platforms.
Tap-to-pay is one of the most common uses of QR codes for business. A quick mobile device tap gives customers a fast and convenient way to purchase goods. Plus, touchless checkout can help streamline lines at the register so your business runs more efficiently.
For small gratuity-based businesses like hairdressing or private bartending, a QR code can link to your preferred payment account, allowing customers to easily leave tips without the need for cash. Place a sign with your code at your workstation or somewhere else it can be in full view of your clients.
Verified customer reviews are vital for spreading the word about your small business and building credibility. Encourage guests to scan a QR code to lead them to links for different review platforms. Print the code on packing labels, receipts, tabletop signs, and coupons.
Boosting app downloads
If your small business has an app, make it easily discoverable with a QR code. Some apps can be hard to find with a search, especially if consumers misspell the name or don’t remember it correctly—but a QR code circumvents those issues. Better yet, less time scouring app stores minimizes the chances of customers getting reeled in by competitor apps.
Gathering email addresses
Email addresses are like gold for small businesses. Once you have them, you can update customers on your latest deals and happenings. And with a QR code, you can bring users right to a form where they can subscribe to emails. You can also use QR codes to collect enrollment in loyalty programs.
Running a pop-up museum or other attraction? Use your QR code to educate guests on exhibits, or create a scavenger hunt to keep visitors intrigued and engaged. It can boost the customer experience without you needing to hire extra staff. Plus, you can rely on your barcode to provide other necessary materials for the visit, such as instructions, infographics, maps, and FAQ pages.
Strengthening e-commerce shopping
Including scannable QR codes on print assets like flyers, magazines, direct mail, and billboards can direct potential customers to your e-commerce website.
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, place codes around your space so visitors can learn more about certain products, check sizing, browse out-of-stock inventory, and place orders online.
How to Make a QR Code
Making a QR code is easier than you think with this five-step breakdown.
1. Select a QR code generator
A quick internet search for a QR code generator will yield many results to help you create a distinctive code. Beaconstac, Canva, and Flowcode are a few user-friendly crowd favorites. Pick the one that feels most intuitive to you.
2. Input your QR code content
If you’ve wondered how to make a QR code for a link, this is where the magic happens. All you have to do is plug the URL you want your QR code to drive to into your generator. Other media uploads (images, PDFs, MP3 files, written documents, etc.) are also supported but vary between QR code generators.
3. Personalize your QR code
Some generators let you customize the size and color of your code and add logos and social media icons to your design. A personalized QR code is an excellent way to show off your business’s flair, especially if it’s a consumer’s first experience with your brand.
4. Test your QR code
Once you’ve programmed and designed your QR code, scan it with your smartphone camera to ensure it’s up and running correctly.
5. Download and implement your QR code
Download your QR code to your computer. Add your code to print materials that you’ll use to market your small business.
Do QR Codes Require Internet or WiFi?
There are two main types of QR codes: dynamic and static. Static codes don’t need the Internet because the information is already embedded in the code. However, dynamic QR codes linking to URLs (like social media handles or app downloads) require a fast and secure Internet plan. The vast majority of cashless credit card processing systems also require the Internet to function. Optimum offers Internet and connectivity services to help your QR codes for business operate more efficiently.
Additionally, your small business should have at least two WiFi networks: one for employees and one for guests. Pro WiFi by Optimum Business makes it simple to set up guest WiFi networks. The business-oriented service also allows you to collect data and insight from visitors to inform future decisions.
Tip: Have guests scan a QR code to connect to your WiFi network.