What is a qr code and how it works

Created on 10 July, 2023FAQ • 6 minutes read

A QR code, short for Quick Response code, is a two-dimensional barcode that can contain information in the form of text, numbers, URLs, contact details, and more. It is a type of two-dimensional barcode that was originally developed in Japan in 1994 by the company Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. QR codes are designed to quickly and easily encode and decode information using a QR code reader, such as a smartphone, tablet, or QR code reader app.

A QR code consists of a pattern of black squares on a white background. The information is encoded through the position and arrangement of the black squares, which can form a more complex pattern than traditional barcodes. This allows QR codes to contain much more information than linear barcodes and can accommodate various types of data, such as text, URLs, email addresses, phone numbers, Wi-Fi settings, and more.

To use a QR code, a user can open a QR code reader app on their smartphone, scan the QR code using the device's camera, and view the decoded information or take actions based on the content of the QR code, such as visiting a website, adding a contact to the address book, making a payment, and so on. QR codes are widely used in various applications, such as marketing and advertising, ticketing, payments, authentication, logistics, and more, due to their simple and fast way of sharing information and enabling interaction between physical objects and digital content.

Rise and 'fall' of QR code

The QR code has had an interesting history of rise and "fall," evolving as a widely used technology for sharing information quickly and easily. Here is an overview of the major milestones:


  • QR codes were first developed in 1994 by the Japanese company Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, as a way to quickly encode and decode information for the automotive industry.
  • In the early 2000s, the QR code began to gain popularity in Japan, where it was used in industry and for consumer applications such as sharing contact information, promoting mobile websites and paying bills.
  • With the growth of smartphones and mobile technologies, the QR code was increasingly used worldwide, especially in marketing and advertising campaigns, as it provided quick and easy access to online information.


  • However, over time, the popularity of the QR code began to decline. This was partly due to some of the challenges and limitations of QR codes, such as the fact that they were sometimes perceived as inconvenient to scan, and that they were often associated with spam or malicious content.
  • In addition, alternatives to QR codes have emerged, such as barcodes, NFC (Near Field Communication), and more advanced technologies such as augmented reality and beacons, which offer new ways to share information and create interactive experiences.
  • This has led to a decline in the use of QR codes in some regions and applications, and has led to speculation about the "demise" of the QR code as a popular technology.

Current Status:

  • Despite the challenges and alternatives, QR codes still remain popular worldwide in certain applications and industries. They are still used for marketing and advertising purposes, sharing contact information, linking to websites and social media, making payments, and more.
  • Moreover, there have been some improvements and evolutions in QR code technology, such as the emergence of dynamic QR codes that offer more flexibility and tracking capabilities, and QR code scanners built into many smartphones, making QR code scanning easier and more accessible.
  • In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic also contributed to renewed interest in QR codes as they were used for contactless payments, contact tracking for contact detection and other security measures.

In short, although the popularity of QR codes has varied over the years, they have recently seen a renewed rise due to the need for contactless interaction and improved user experience on smartphones. QR codes remain a convenient and versatile way to share information and interact with digital content.

Why is the QR code in the spotlight again?

The QR code is back in the spotlight for several reasons:

  1. Contactless interaction: In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, QR codes have gained popularity because of the need for contactless interaction. QR codes are used for contactless payments, restaurant menus, online event registration, health certificates and other applications where physical contact is avoided.
  2. Easy access to information: QR codes provide a quick and easy way to share information and access digital content. With a QR code, users can quickly and easily scan and access information, links, videos, documents and other digital content with their smartphones.
  3. Built-in QR code scanners: Most smartphones today have QR code scanners built into their camera apps by default, making QR code scanning even easier for users without the need for a separate app. This has facilitated and encouraged the adoption of QR codes.
  4. Marketing and Promotion: Companies and marketers use QR codes as an effective way to execute marketing and promotional campaigns. By placing QR codes on products, packaging, advertisements and other materials, they can direct consumers to additional information, offers, product demonstrations and more.
  5. Technological improvements: QR codes have evolved and have now gained more functionality. There are dynamic QR codes that can be updated with new content without having to change the physical QR code. There are also personalized QR codes with logos and branding, making them more attractive for marketing purposes.

All in all, the renewed interest in QR codes is due to the need for contactless interaction, improved user experience, marketing opportunities and technological improvements. QR codes continue to be a convenient and versatile way to share information and interact with digital content, and they are becoming more widely adopted across various industries.

Why you as an entrepreneur or marketer should embrace the QR code

As an entrepreneur or marketer, there are several reasons why you should embrace QR codes in your marketing and communications strategy:

  1. Easy access to information: QR codes provide a quick and easy way for your customers or target audience to access information, links, offers, product demonstrations, and other digital content. With a simple scan of a QR code, users can be directed directly to the desired information without having to manually type in a URL or search for information.
  2. Contactless interaction: In today's time, when contactless interaction is important because of the COVID-19 pandemic, QR codes offer a secure and hygienic way to share information without physical contact. This can be useful, for example, when offering digital menus in restaurants, making online payments, or registering for events.
  3. Marketing Opportunities: QR codes can be used as an effective marketing tool to increase customer engagement. By placing QR codes on products, packaging, advertisements, or marketing materials, you can direct customers to additional information, promotions, surveys, reviews, or social media pages. This can help increase customer engagement and brand awareness.
  4. Trackability and measurability: Dynamic QR codes allow you to measure and analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns. You can track how often your QR codes are scanned, what content is viewed, and how long users stay engaged with the forwarded content. This can provide valuable insights to optimize and improve your marketing strategies.
  5. Flexibility and personalization: QR codes can be customized to your brand identity by adding your logo, colors and branding elements. This can help maintain your brand consistency and create a professional appearance. In addition, dynamic QR codes can be updated with new content, giving you flexibility in customizing your marketing messages without having to change the physical QR codes.

In short, QR codes are a convenient and versatile marketing tool that offer easy access to information, contactless interaction, marketing capabilities, trackability, and personalization. By embracing QR codes in your marketing and communications strategy, you can better engage customers, increase brand awareness, and gather valuable insights to optimize your marketing efforts.