Everything You Need to Know About the QR Code

QR codes: you’ve probably heard of them before and you’ve probably utilised them at some point. They are used in various ways and are one of the most effective forms of barcode for many industries, such as marketing and communications, as well as for stock control within warehouses and factories.

The QR code has been enjoying some well-deserved time in the spotlight recently and, while it seemed to fade away for some time, the prospects are even more exciting. Could this be due to the introduction of QR code payment mark?

So, in a world full of advanced technology, just what is a QR code and could they be making a huge comeback for business, marketing, and much more?

QR Code

What is a QR Code?

QR is short for Quick Response code and is an ‘upgraded’ version of a barcode. Think of a QR code as a custom barcode which can hold more information in less space. These 2D barcodes can store more than 4,000 alphanumeric characters horizontally and vertically. A traditional (linear) barcode can hold roughly 20 characters.

As a machine-readable barcode label, it consists of an array of black and white squares. The information stored in a QR Code is usually URLs, but anything can be stored, from contact data to calendar data, email addresses, phone numbers, SMS opening, plain text and geolocation.

They were originally designed to track cars throughout the manufacturing process; however, they can now be found everywhere from warehouses to assembly lines, business cards and billboards!

How Are QR Codes Made?

Conventional 1D barcodes are mechanically scanned and are read by a physically bouncing narrow beam of light onto the code. This can be interpreted using the pattern of light reflected off the white gaps between the lines. QR Codes are digitally scanned. They are made up of blocks and squares – or pixels – which can be read by an image sensor and interpreted by a system processor. The series of dots and squares stand for position, alignment, timing, version information, format information, error correction key and an area of a quiet zone. The three evident large squares help the QR reader or barcode scanner to quickly identify and orient the image.

How to Use a QR Code

You can use QR codes in business in many ways, such as business cards, promoting an event and even for business invoices:

Business Cards

You can give your customers more than just a ‘regular’ business card with the addition of a QR code. With a QR code, you can include more than just your basic information because they can store more than simple data. You can add links to your website, blog, social media, add photos and much more. One simple scan and all your information can be saved to their contacts.

Invoices and Business Stationery

If you include a QR code on items of business stationary or invoices that lead directly to your customer service site, you can provide much more detailed and helpful information such as contact details, user guides, return labels and much more.

Inventory Management

QR codes along with other 2D barcodes can be very important tools for manufacturing and inventory management, as you are able to track more than just product name and price. QR codes can also include information such as serial number, part number, lot information, dates and many other data points.

Events and Advertisements

When using QR codes for your events or advertising, you can lead the barcode scanner to a virtual version of your event or promotion. You can include e-tickets, directions, maps, handouts, money-off vouchers, and any other relevant information they may need.


With the impact of Coronavirus, many restaurants, pubs and bars will be implementing a new kind of ordering system to limit the amount of contact staff have with customers. QR codes can be used in these kinds of businesses to help facilitate ordering. Customers can scan a QR with their phones that takes them to a website or app where they can order their drinks and food, easily allowing them to order without unnecessary contact with staff. It will help facilitate quick ordering, and will also help draw customers into your business as they will be reassured that your premises is COVID safe.

Man Scanning QR Code In Supermarket With Mobile Phone

How to Scan a QR Code

To scan a QR code using your phone, you must have a QR code reader installed. It’s as simple as holding your device’s camera over the QR code and your phone will automatically scan. However, if you are using them for commercial or business purposes, a barcode scanner can be a better option for time and efficiency.

For business use, where you may need instant access to information, a barcode scanner which is compatible with 2D barcodes is suitable. Whether you need to capture barcodes on the shop floor, warehouse, or in the field, we have the right barcode scanner for your needs. Whether a general-purpose barcode scanner, a rugged one for tough warehouses or a companion scanner for enterprise scanning to mobile devices, a QR code can be scanned easily with a handheld barcode scanner.

QR Codes
If you are looking for barcode labels, the team here at GSM barcoding can help. To identify and track your assets with simple and effective labels and tags, we can provide custom asset stickers including barcodes, QR codes, brand logos and sequential numbers to create your own custom asset tracking systems.

If you would like some advice or a quote for your QR barcode labels or scanners, simply contact one of our team members, who will be happy to help.

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