The QR code is dead. Long live the QR code.

The QR code is enjoying a heyday – despite being consigned to the marketing rubbish pile a number of years back

These little black squares have made quite a come back

Over the last few months, we’ve all got used to seeing those little black and white squares on posters and products everywhere.

The NHS track and trace ‘register your contact details’ posters have almost single-handedly propelled the QR code (which stands for Quick Response by the way) into common parlance, in the UK at any rate.

A new generation of people are now comfortable ‘scanning in’ whenever they enter an establishment.

What was largely dismissed as a marketing gimmick a number of years back has now resurged into an effective & efficient operational tool during this pandemic, and rightfully so.

Why QR Codes are so helpful

We are all united in a mission to reduce contact and touch points to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 era.

Handing out the same menu that’s been through the hands of multiple people before reaching you is no longer an option for restaurants.

Having people congregate at the bar to order drinks or pay the bill isn’t either.

For the hospitality industry in particular, QR codes have – and will continue to be – a vital component in their plans to re-open and operate safely.

They allow people to access the menu via their smartphone, order their meal and even pay at the end – all controlled by touching their own device.

And it’s not just hospitality that are benefiting

Some large organisations are using them on the staff ID cards and within reception areas to point people towards the latest COVID guidelines in place – an easy way for them to keep up-to-date with any changes to company practices.

Some countries, like Singapore for example, are effectively using QR codes as part of their contactless visitor entry strategy, and contact tracing during visitors’ stays.

Basically, in our new world where touchless is good, QR codes are perfect.

What exactly is a QR Code?

A QR code is basically a unique picture of black and white squares. These squares are capable of holding a lot of information (WAY more than barcodes), which makes them so powerful.

Simply point your smartphone’s camera at them and it will launch whatever the organisation wants you to see – their website, a bespoke ordering page, or details of a specific product.

One of the reasons they didn’t really take off back in the 90s and 00’s was how complicated they were to use. For one, you had to download a bespoke app on your phone just to read them, and where was the incentive to do that?

Just some of the ways our customers are using them

As a company that sells printed plastic cards, we’re seeing QR codes increasingly used across our range of products.

Before COVID, we could probably have counted on two hands the amount of times we’d been asked to incorporate them.

  • Hotels are printing them on their hotel key cards to link to the Room Service & Breakfast menu, so they can remove the physical paper copies from the guest rooms.
  • Bars and clubs are including them on their Bar Tab Cards, so that patrons can order drinks directly from their table without having to visit the bar
  • Golf Clubs are using them on their Membership Cards to allow members to order food and drink without having to enter the clubhouse or congregate around the bar
  • Accommodation providers are using them on their key tags & access cards to link to local information and provide facilities details that would normally be included in a physical guest book.

The advantage of using printed plastic cards is that they are durable and are easy to sanitise afterwards.

For those concerned about the impact of an increased use of plastic on the environment, we offer an Eco card, which is both recyclable and degradable.

QR codes are here to stay this time

Although QR codes have experienced this resurgence of popularity thanks to the pandemic, it’s likely that they’re here for the long-term, particularly as the majority of people are now so used to using them.

They’re certainly not a marketing gimmick any longer.