QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes and can be read by a QR code reader or the camera on a smartphone. The code often directs scanners to a page with more information about whatever prompted the scan to begin with.
QR codes have been around since 1994, so why are they such a popular event management and marketing tool in 2020?
QR code tech is easier
The surge in popularity is due in large part to advancements in QR technology and an increase in reliable QR code readers.
Today, there are more tools; many built innately into newer smart devices. For instance, Apple’s iOS 11 camera app doesn’t require QR code reader software — it’s native in the camera. This places a QR scanning device in the hands of the masses. With no learning curve or special equipment required, people can simply scan and be directed to a range of next steps.
This subtle change in accessibility has given birth to a much more efficient way to attain important information. It’s easier for businesses, too, since free online QR code generators allow anybody to create a QR code for a broad range of purposes. What may, at first glance, appear to be a technology of the past is actually one that is taking us into the future.
With increased buy-in and accessibility across various industries, attendees are becoming more familiar with how QR codes work and are happy to partake in the smoother guest experience they offer.
Everybody loves QR codes
Another reason QR codes are seeing a resurgence in popularity is that they’re becoming more mainstream on a global level. Millions of Chinese consumers use QR codes daily, for everything from retail purchases to street vendor food items.
Shen Wei, deputy director of a research institute that specializes in QR codes, has said that QR codes accounted for a third of all mobile payments in China last year, for a total of $1.65 trillion. The Bank of Thailand has approved five commercial banks to introduce QR code payment transaction services.
Having passed these litmus tests, companies and industries around the world are starting to embrace QR codes as well. Nike uses QR codes to allow consumers to customize shoes with a few quick clicks. Airlines such as British Airways are adopting them as part of the check-in process to create faster boarding procedures. Paypal is now using the codes for cashless transactions. And while car manufacturers used them years ago to streamline the parts identification and tracking process, currently, companies like Nissan are repurposing them and using them as part of their marketing materials.
QR codes have proven themselves to be a frictionless transaction method by the likes of Bitcoin. Still, a perhaps more significant impact on their popularity is their increasing integration into social media and the potential effect on the events space. On Facebook, users can create QR codes for events they’re planning, and the app also contains a built-in QR code-scanning function.
The resurgence of this tech appeals to consumers, but also represents a massive opportunity in the events industry, offering new opportunities to streamline event operations and bolster engagement and participation.