Example of a QR code found in a restaurant

If you’ve been avoiding QR code technology simply because you don’t understand it, it’s your lucky day! QR code scanning 101 is now in session!

What is a QR code?
QR codes (or quick response codes) area type of barcode that can be used to encode any kind of data,including a link to a business’ website or social media account.QR codes can link to a page with a promotional discount, to yourbusiness’ phone number, a how-to video for a product, or just aboutanything else. Standard QR codes are black and white but custom QRcodes can contain colors, logos, and images.

Example of QR code marketing used by Nike

How do I scan it?
Many people think QR codes can be scanned by their cell phone’s camera. And while this is a possibility in the future, right now, that’s still not the case. To scan a QRcode, you need to download a free QR code scanner from your phone’s app market or store.

If you have an iPhone, try Red Laser, a free mobile application from eBay that promises “ImpossiblyAccurate Barcode Scanning.”

If you have an Android, try the free Barcode Scanner by ZXing Team. It’s currently rated 4 1/2 out of 5 stars in theAndroid market.

Example of a custom QR code

Step One
Most Android phones come preloaded with a Market application that allows you to easily download the apps that you want. Conversely, on an iPhone, you’ll have The App Store. Once you’re in the market or store, search for Red Laser or QR Code Scanner. **Tip – Your search button may look like a magnifying glass depending on the phone you have.

Step Two
Once you’ve found the QR code scanneryou want to use, hit “download,” and then “accept anddownload.” Your phone should notify you once the download iscomplete.

Scan me!

Step Three
Hooray! You now have a QR code scanneron your phone! Now it’s time to put it to use. See the QR code to your right?Let’s try scanning it.

On Red Laser, simply hit the big red ‘scan’button, on Barcode Scanner, the scanner will automatically open upready to use.

Hold your phone up to the QR code to your right and align it within the box. Hold your phonestill so the scanner can read the QR code, and when it’s done, it’llask you if you want to open the browser.

Step Four
Open the browser and see where the QRcode has taken you!

Step Five
Now that you’ve completed QR code scanning 101,you’ll probably find that you want to scan every single QR code you see. This is due to the curiosity factor of QR codes — people can’t help but want to find out what they’re concealing — and that’s how it lures them in. So get out there and start scanning and start thinking about how you can use QR codes to benefit your business.

Remember, QR codes are great because they can be used to promote anything and they can be placed anywhere. From t-shirts and vehicles to storefront windows and business cards, QR codes are extremely versatile and, as you now know, easy to use!

Still have QR code questions? Leave them in comments below and we’ll be glad to help!