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The Rise, Fall & Unlikely Rise Again of the QR Code

How the QR Code Came to Earn Its Place As a Valuable Marketing Tool and How Your Products Can Benefit

In the span of a relatively short time, COVID-19 changed the way we do business around the world. Some products dropped off into obscurity like public touch screens, drinking fountains, buffets, and birthday candles. While on the other hand, there are success stories; think Amazon, Shopify, Peloton, Zoom, and Doordash. But no pandemic success is quite as unexpected as the revival of the QR Code. 

With one foot in the grave, the QR was sinking into obscurity when it suddenly made an abrupt turnaround in 2020. But before we get into that, let’s take a brief look at some interesting facts about the origins of the QR Code:

  • The QR code system was invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara from the Japanese company Denso Wave
  • QR stands for quick response
  • The initial design was influenced by the black and white pieces on a Go board
  • The amount of information to be conveyed determines the size of a QR grid
  • Instead of patenting the code technology, Denso Wave decided to profit by selling the scanners needed to read the codes
  • A breakthrough came in 2002, when Sharp introduced a cellphone with a built-in QR code reader

Then after 2012, the QR Code started slowly sinking into obscurity perhaps due to overuse – people developed QR code fatigue after finding that many fell short of providing valuable information consumers wanted. 

But then with the life changing introduction of a global pandemic in 2020, the QR Code had a shocking resurgence in popularity because of its hands-free way of conveniently conveying much-needed information. 

Today, the QR Code seems to have solidified its position in our everyday lives, businesses, and as a marketing tool. With over 6 billion smartphone users globally in 2022, 80% of the world’s population is ready to scan these handy codes.

Here are just some of the most common ways QR Codes have been utilized:

  • Digital menus at your favorite bars, restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, and more
  • Business cards leading to web pages or Linkedin profiles
  • Print ads or product packaging that takes people to more detailed information that wouldn’t easily fit 

How You Can Use QR Codes In-Store

According to Social Media Today, shoppers are 144% more likely to buy a product after watching an explainer video. At The Desire Company, we help shoppers make more educated, confident purchase decisions by providing credible, expert-driven video product reviews and how-tos in-store and online for your products. Living at the point of sale in-store, our videos can be accessed by your customers through QR codes. They provide reliable information from unbiased expert sources to help your shoppers cut through the clutter while they walk your aisles. 

Brands and retailers use our videos to provide their shoppers with a quick and easy way to get transparent, trustworthy product information.

See how it works here

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As the creator of the QR code prepared to retire, a reporter asked him what he planned to do next. He replied, “I want to get into farming, developing new varieties of fruit and vegetables to make them more delicious.” What’s next for the QR Code? If the pandemic has taught us anything, it is to expect the unexpected. e think QR Codes are here to stay as a valuable tool for brands and retailers to help their shoppers get the quality information they need to purchase their products with confidence. 

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