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The QR Code Comeback

2020 brought on digital tools that we never would’ve expected (but a pandemic will do that, we guess). But what we couldn’t have predicted is the resurrection of a digital trend believed to be long dead: the QR code. 

Yes, the era of “new normal” means a resurgence of those black and white squares everyone stopped using in 2010. Before we break down why QR codes deserve your respect, let’s talk about how on earth they got brought back in the first place.

Adjusting to the New Normal

While the world has been in a “digital era” for decades, most companies weren’t exclusively using digital tools. If they were using those tools, there’s a good chance things like Slack or Zoom only applied to in-office meetings or with interpersonal discussions. 

And then — boom — a global pandemic pushed businesses into a 99.99% digital space simply because there was nowhere else they could exist. Agencies like ours told staff to work remotely. Boutique clothing stores upped their game on social media and online sales. Projects put on the backburner like website renovations and e-commerce integrations suddenly became the most important things to get online. 

However, one industry got hammered: restaurants. Dining locations from bars to greasy spoons to chain restaurants started mobile orders, carry-out options and new safety concerns for drive thrus. And reopening restaurants introduced a whole other host of challenges, namely “how do we keep people safe during a dine-in experience?” 

That’s where the QR code comes in.

The Resurrection of the QR Code 

The QR code, a small, convenient “quick code” allows people to scan a code using their cell phone camera to reach a webpage or file. While the trend didn’t initially take off in the late 2000s, QR codes are back and have changed the way the service industry operates. 

To keep people safe, restaurants turned to QR codes to remove high-touch items like menus to limit contact. QR codes also give diners the ability to pay with a perks card or account. 

However, QR codes are more than just digital menus. They provide an opportunity for businesses to build engaging, actionable content in traditional physical mediums. When used right, QR codes can increase website traction, as well as provide easily accessible and interactive content that can’t be replicated with a static promotional piece. 

This increased shareability and convenience makes customers more inclined to learn more about the brand and share the website with friends. It also sets the business apart and adds a personal touch from the brand in a saturated market.