QR codes are increasingly popular among smartphone users. If you have a smartphone and you like to save money then you should definitely think about joining in on this trend. That is because there is a huge mobile marketing and advertising push in this area right now and that means that a lot of good money-saving deals are going to be offered through QR codes in the near future.
What are QR Codes?
QR codes are 2D barcode-style images that you can scan with your mobile phone. You have probably seen them in stores, magazines and around the web. They look like graphic symbols. They contain information embedded in them and the information shows up on your phone when you scan the code. For example, you might get a mobile coupon when you scan the code or you might get some information about an upcoming sale at the store where the QR code is posted.
Advertising Push for QR Codes
These codes have been around for several years and are used extensively in other countries, like Japan. However widespread smartphone adoption has made them more popular as time has gone on and there is a huge push to use them more in the United States. A recent study by MGH Marketing found that seventy percent of people who own a smartphone have used or at least plan to try using QR codes. This along with other studies and reports is telling advertisers and business owners that it is important for them to start utilizing QR codes. What this means for you is that these already popular codes could very well start appearing everywhere you go in the near future.
QR Code Apps
To use QR codes you just need to install a simple scanner app on your phone that will allow the phone to read the codes. There are several QR code apps available depending on the platform of your phone. For example, iPhone users might like the QR Scanner by Grip’d LLC. Shop around to find the best QR code for your phone type.
Tips for Saving Money with QR Codes
Brandhackers reports that as of March 2011 more than 50% of US consumers who do use QR codes are doing so specifically to save money. If you want to jump on the bandwagon and start using QR codes to save money then you will be glad to know that doing so is easy. Here are some tips to help you figure it all out:
- Keep your eye out for QR codes. These codes are often prominently placed in storefront windows. However they may also be placed next to in-store displays, on websites and in paper mailers and magazines. Start getting in the habit of looking for them so that you’ll spot them when they are there to help you save money.
- Never buy something on impulse just because you have a QR code deal for it. QR codes are just like discount codes and other coupons; they only save you money if you use them right. Don’t get lured into a quick impulse buy just because of the novelty of having it come to you through a QR code. Think through every purchase so that QR codes save you money instead of costing you money.
- Use QR codes to get freebies. The best QR codes are the ones that offer you something for free so make sure that you pay special attention to those ones. For example, Coast Central Credit Union recently created a QR code and scanning it enters you to win a weekly prize with no cost to enter.
- Look for loyalty programs. You probably already use loyalty programs to save money at the places where you shop most frequently. QR codes are beginning to offer another way to join and utilize those programs. 2D code reported last year on a Canadian restaurant loyalty program; the QR code to join the program is on all of the restaurant’s receipts and joining means that you earn rewards towards discounts on your purchases. No more coffee cards and sandwich cards to carry around anymore – just carry your phone and scan those QR codes!
- Compare QR codes with other coupons. Just because you have a great QR code deal that you want to use doesn’t mean it is the best deal available. Make sure that you check for a store’s discount codes, print coupons and other deals before you choose the QR code as the way to save money. Weighing all options allows you to maximize your savings.
- Use QR codes to get information about products. QR codes don’t just give deals; they give information. For example, the QR codes that Home Depot is now starting to use provide reviews, product ratings and How To Guides for their products. Read the reviews and other information about a product through its QR code so that you can make an informed choice about whether or not the product is worth your money.
- Be aware of the advertising goal of these codes. The marketing survey found that more than seventy percent of people say that they are more likely to remember an ad if it is associated with a QR code. This is called branding and it’s a key reason that businesses are using QR codes today. There is nothing wrong with that. Just be aware of the subtle impact that using QR codes can have on your shopping habits. Make sure that you are buying brands and products because you truly want or need them and not because the brand has been burned into your head as you’ve begun to use QR codes to save money!
- Make your own QR codes. One neat way to take advantage of this trend is to make your own QR codes to generate interest in your business or services. This can increase your income. There are several tools online as well as several apps that allow you to easily make your own QR codes. One example is the QR Code app by Pavel Kanzelsberger, which is available in the Mac App Store.
Have you used QR codes to save money? Share your answer in the comments below!