What is QR Code? Learn all the QR Code Basics

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What is a QR Code?

What is a QR code and how do you use it?

A QR code is a 2-D barcode that can be digitally read by smartphones. QR codes contain information just like barcodes. They can be used to make a call, send a message or email, or even open a website. Here is an entire list of things you can do with a QR code:

  1. Add contact details: QR codes serve as a vCard and can help you add and share contact information in seconds.
  2. Send predefined texts: Did you know you can scan a QR code and send texts with the recipient and contents of the message already added? Once you scan a text QR code, all you have to do is press send.
  3. Send preset emails: Just like texts, you can also send predefined emails. Again, scanning the QR code will open up your email and you can hit send.
  4. Make a call: QR codes can also be used to call someone. Businesses can use this to have you call them or customer support with just one scan.
  5. Reveal discounts and coupon codes: What if you didn’t have to remember long promo codes? With a single scan of a QR code, you can be redirected to the online checkout with the promo code pre-applied.
  6. Navigate to the store: Some businesses even use QR codes on Out-of-Home advertising to help you navigate to your nearest store.
  7. Add calendar events: An important sale coming up? Remind yourself with a calendar event triggered by the scan of a QR code.
  8. Connect to WiFi without password: You no longer need to share or remember passwords. Scan the QR code and join the WiFi network.
  9. Engage with social media: Scan QR codes and instantly follow, like and leave a review on social media business pages.
  10. Download apps: You can now scan QR codes to download an app in your respective App Store.
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What do you mean by QR Code?

QR stands for Quick Response. First designed in 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan, QR codes have since perpetuated into every industry and are used all over the world by consumers. It has started gaining a lot of popularity with consumers since scanning QR codes does not require an app. The camera app in both Android and iPhones is capable of scanning QR codes natively.

Elements of a QR code

QR codes may appear to be random but they are in fact slightly different. Although QR codes can be customized, the shape of the QR code must always be square. There are 7 different elements in a QR code.

Positioning marking:

This indicates the direction in which the QR code is printed. Even if your camera is at an angle, you will still be able to scan the QR code.

Alignment marking:

If the QR code is too large, say on a billboard, this helps to orient the image.

Timing pattern:

This helps the QR code scanner determine how large the data matrix is in the QR code.

Quiet zone:

This is the most crucial part of the QR code. This helps the QR code scanner differentiate the QR code from the surroundings.

How is QR code generated?

Generating QR codes online is free and easy. Just use a free online QR code generator like Beaconstac to create all sorts of QR code types.

8 easy steps to create your first QR code:

  1. Select a QR code generator
  2. Choose the type of the QR code
  3. Enter the relevant information
  4. Select between static and dynamic QR codes
  5. Customize the QR code
  6. Generate and test the QR code
  7. Download it in PNG, SVG or EPS
  8. Track scans and analytics

How to create QR codes - A detailed guide for Android, iOS and desktop

Types of QR Code

You can create many different types of QR code:

  1. Website QR Code: Allow consumers to scan QR codes to open landing pages, websites and online stores instantly.
  2. vCard QR Code: Sharing your contact details has never been easier, With a vCard QR Code, anyone can save your information with a scan.
  3. Email QR Code: Generate leads with Email QR Code. Paste the QR code on indoor posters or include it in newsletters to enable consumers to reach your customer support directly.
  4. SMS QR Code: Allow shoppers to scan QR Codes and send predefined texts.
  5. Call QR Code: Now, calling a local business is simple. All you have to do is scan the QR code and make a call.
  6. Facebook QR Code: Increase social engagement with Facebook QR codes. Get consumers to scan QR codes to check-in, leave reviews and follow the business page.
  7. YouTube QR Code: Have product videos or a blooming YouTube channel? Direct users to your channel with a YouTube QR code.
  8. Video QR Code: Explainer videos and How-To videos can now be accessed with a QR code. Paste it on posters or include it on the product tags.
  9. Google Maps QR Code: Include a Google Maps QR code to direct users to your store. Coupled with an OOH advertisement, you can start driving in-store footfalls.
  10. Coupon QR Code: Digital coupons are all the rage. With a Coupon QR code, you can get customers to engage with your posters, scan the code and redeem it at checkout. You can include this Coupon QR code on flyers, posters, newsletters, billboards and banners.

Instagram Nametags: Instagram introduced a way for users to create Nametags on Instagram. These Nametags can be scanned through the Instagram app allowing others to either view the profile or follow them instantly.

Snapcodes: Similar to Nametags, Snapchat allows you to follow an account instantly with Snapcodes.

Facebook Messenger Code: Facebook allows you to add someone on Messenger with a Facebook Messenger Code instantly. Learn more about the different ways you can use Facebook QR codes.

Pincodes: Pinterest enables you to create Pincodes that you can save and share online to allow users to follow your Pinterest boards.

QR Code FAQs

What if a QR code is damaged? Can you still scan it?

Yes. A QR code can still be scanned if 70% of it is intact. This is because the error code data is embedded in the QR code at the time of generation.

How much data can you store in the QR code?

You can store up to 4296 characters or 7089 digits in a single QR code. QR codes look more complicated and complex as you add more data to them. You can see this for yourself when you generate QR codes online.

Are QR codes free?

QR codes are absolutely free to create and can be used for personal and commercial uses. Beaconstac’s generator offers free static QR codes with unlimited scans that are free forever.

Does scanning a QR code need the Internet?

No. Scanning a QR code does not require the Internet. You can scan QR codes without the Internet or network in general. If the QR code is a URL QR code, then you require the Internet to open the URL.

How does QR code payment work?

Consumers can pay at checkout using QR codes. QR code payment is extremely easy. All consumers have to do is scan the QR codes of the items they have purchased and proceed to checkout online. This ‘Scan and Go’ technology has been implemented by Decathlon in India and Nike’s flagship store in the US.

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