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Grewal-Levy Blog QR CodeThose funny little squares—QR codes—that just a few years ago were unknown now appear ubiquitous. But as their use has expanded, so has the division between firms that use them well and the firms that seem to waste their potential. Among the best:

  • The city of Frankfurt, Germany, introduced smart posters with QR codes in subway cars that commuters can scan to obtain travel information, special offers for pass holders, details on connections, and information about points of interest.
  • Tesco fills another subway system with QR codes: In the Korean subway, commuters can scan posters that depict supermarket shelves to create a shopping list. These travelers also can check out while they wait for their trains to come and schedule a delivery at home, which avoids the need to lug heavy bags home to make sure dinner is on the table.
  • In its “Win a Smartphone” promotion, Verizon encouraged in-store customers to share their purchases using QR codes that linked to Facebook. If a Facebook friend then bought from Verizon too, the originally scanning customer could win a free phone. The result was a 200 percent sales increase!
  • After placing an online order with The Melt, a chain of grilled cheese restaurants, guests arrive at the door and scan the QR code posted there, which tells the grillers to get the cheese hot and ready.
  • In the Cleveland Museum of Art, QR codes alongside exhibits provide in-depth information, such that visitors can personalize their audio tours.
  • At the South by Southwest music festival, participants such as RightNow ran scavenger hunts in which participants had to find QR-coded runners and scan their t-shirts before they could get to the next QR code and, ultimately, their festival-themed prize.
  • With an ecologically oriented mindset, Columbia Sportswear allowed customers placing an order to choose between a new shipping box and a used one. To encourage the latter, more environmentally responsible option, it placed QR codes on boxes, so when customers received the used shipping containers, they could scan the codes to see just where their cardboard had been before reaching their homes. Of course, they could continue the store by adding their own pictures and stories.

Source: Ekaterina Walter, “Top 30 QR Code Uses,” SmartBlog.com, January 3, 2013.