QR codes – those initials standing for “quick response” – have undergone quite the up-and-down journey in our culture down the years. A lot of people associate QR codes with the COVID-19 pandemic, and why wouldn’t they? After all, the crisis saw many pubs, restaurants, and other brick-and-mortar venues incorporate QR codes on their tables, to enable customers to place orders without having to be physically close to staff.
But what a lot of people don’t realise is that QR codes have had relevance and applicability for businesses for much longer than the last few years. Furthermore, there is plenty of reason to expect them to continue having a major role in people’s lives throughout 2023.
So, let’s take a look at some of the factors that lead us to answer the question posed by the title of this article with an emphatic “yes”.
Smartphone Usage Continues to Go Up and Up
QR codes might have been invented in the mid-1990s, but the ‘smartphone age’ only effectively began with the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. This proved to be a crucial development for the usage of QR codes; fast-forward to today, and most smartphones are able to scan QR codes without a third-party application even being needed.
You might have experienced that scanning capability for yourself when in the aforementioned hospitality venues during the coronavirus crisis. And the numbers of smartphone users who use this capability seems to be climbing ever higher, amounting to 75.8 million in the United States alone in 2021, compared to 52.6 million in 2019. That figure is expected to reach around 99.5 million by 2025.
With the smartphone penetration rate having also shown steady long-term growth – reaching 93% in the UK in 2022 – it seems a safe bet that great numbers of us will keep on making heavy use of QR code scanning in the year ahead, whether a given person uses an Apple or Samsung smartphone or a Honeywell, Motorola or Zebra scanner to do so.
Omnichannel Is Rising as Multichannel Is Falling
The terms “omnichannel” and “multichannel” seem to get thrown around quite a lot in marketing circles in the 2020s. And it is important to know exactly how these two terms differ, as QR codes are central to what commerce – both online and offline – is rapidly becoming this decade.
We could write an entirely separate blog post about omnichannel versus multichannel. But in essence, “multichannel” retail is generally accepted as referring to a model whereby a given retailer has both online and offline shopfronts, with these respective channels being relatively siloed and unconnected to each other. “Omnichannel” retail, meanwhile, seeks to achieve a seamlessness between the given business’s brick-and-mortar retail presence and its online operations.
What is the relevance of QR codes to all this? Well, at a time when many brands that might have once considered a multichannel approach to be “enough” are shifting to an omnichannel ethos, QR codes can greatly help such brands bridge the online-offline divide.
A given business might choose to put a QR code on physical items such as posters, flyers or even posted packages, with this QR code leading to their branded website or app when it is scanned. Or if your firm is a business-to-business (B2C) one rather than business-to-customer (B2C), you could even have such a QR code – leading to your website or other contact details – included on your business cards.
Customers Value Speed and Convenience as Much as Ever
Of course, the above can be said to have been true at any time in the entire history of business-to-customer interactions. But that simply underlines why 2023 will be another big year for QR codes, especially bearing in mind that not all brands have come anywhere near extracting these barcodes’ considerable potential as yet.
The act of positioning a device in front of a QR code to scan it is as quick and intuitive as actions come. With factors like the above helping to make this technology one that many people around the world are still only just discovering, it is fair to say your business could find itself doing a lot with QR codes during 2023 – not least because if you don’t, you can be sure that your industry competitors will.
Almost seven in 10 (67%) respondents to a recent European study agreed that QR codes made life easier – so can your organisation afford to overlook the broad applicability and usefulness of QR codes in 2023? We would suggest not.
If you find your Datalogic barcode scanner not working during the New Year, or if you encounter any other issues with your scanning equipment from Honeywell, Intermec, or Motorola (to cite just some of the brands in which we have expertise), it could be well worth enquiring to Mobile Computer Repair to learn how we can help get your faulty device working again. You can call us on 01202 606070 or send us an email.