For a long time, it seemed that Quick Response (QR) codes—those square-shaped successors or complements to traditional bar codes—were a dead-end technology destined to only be used for inventory management and niche labeling. However, things changed when QR code scanners started being integrated into smartphone-based solutions in the early 2010s. Advertisers, service providers, and even ordinary tech enthusiasts recognized the many potential use cases of pairing smartphones and QR codes.

Arguably, in the Philippines, the use of QR codes broke through the mainstream during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Apart from being a contactless and hygienic way to exchange information, QR codes proved to be incredibly convenient, being used for everything from accessing restaurant menus and vaccination records to carrying out QR code payments.

If you’re interested in using the technology effectively, it helps to know the ways in which QR codes have been successfully used by other businesses. Let’s explore some of the ways integrating QR technology into your operations might increase your small business’s profile:

1) Apply a More Efficient Payment Experience

Your store’s checkout experience can determine how well customers respond to your brand. Now that QR codes are part of the mainstream payment culture, the technology is a practical solution for simplifying payments and driving repeat sales for your business. Offering a payment QR code, like the one offered by fintech company Maya, will allow you to improve the checkout experience for customers who prefer a fast, contactless checkout experience. 

In some markets, QR payment systems are also already being standardized. Much like in the Philippines, which has QR Ph as the standard for QR code payment Philippines businesses use, other national standards like the Singapore Quick Response Code (SGQR) and the Thai PromptPay are becoming the norm in other countries, further cementing QR codes as a ubiquitous and essential part of modern business operations. As this happens, being able to accept QR payments will become even more of a selling point. 

2) Increase Customer Engagement

Because of their convenience, QR codes can be a great way to offer incentives and encourage customers to do things like join your loyalty program or sign up for your email newsletter. These promotional codes can be printed on your marketing materials or made available on your online platforms to create opportunities for customers to engage with your business.

3) Be Perceived as a Tech-Forward Business

QR codes are still often seen as a sign of tech-savviness, and many customers will typically respond positively to businesses that use these codes. Using them for marketing and offering them as payment methods can thus be a cost-effective way to showcase your commitment to innovation and customer convenience.

4) Gain Insights into Customer Preferences

You can add QR codes that lead to online survey forms on your paper receipts and invoices, doing away with the need for customers to type out full URLs and increasing the odds that they will answer your surveys. Using QR technology will not only make it easier for customers to share their thoughts but it can also give your business access to more accurate customer insights, allowing you to create better products or shopping experiences.

5) Offer In-Depth Information

Museums, zoos, and art galleries already use QR codes to give visitors access to information about exhibits and interactive experiences via their phones. A growing number of small businesses also do the same, using QR codes to stimulate customer engagement without the need to print bulky and often overwhelming information brochures. By allowing customers to learn about your products or services at their own pace, you can provide a personalized experience that resonates with them, increasing the chances of a purchase.

6) Enable Self-Service

Self-service is now preferred by a growing number of customers and that trend is not likely to go away soon. Offering self-service to your customers is not only going to appeal to a growing market segment, but it should also result in better operational efficiencies that feed even more customer satisfaction across the board. 

The convenience of QR codes makes them a great tool for facilitating all kinds of self-service functions. Whether they’re used for ordering food at a restaurant, checking in to a rental unit, or accessing product information in a store, QR codes put power in the hands of the customers and free you to focus on other activities that help grow your business.

QR codes have transformed from being novelties to powerful gateways of information, engagement, and empowerment. Small businesses that harness their capabilities effectively are well-positioned to create more meaningful interactions with customers, cultivate loyalty, and drive growth in markets that prioritize convenience. By adopting this technology now, your small business can get a head start on the competition and better secure its place as a customer-centric and tech-friendly establishment.