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QR codes are making their presence known

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Odd looking black and white squares are popping up everywhere these days. They’re in magazines and newspapers, on signs, buses, business cards and packaging for a wide variety of products. You can also see them embedded in photos and artwork, in museum exhibits and on billboards and in-store displays, as well as on numerous websites. They’re called QR (Quick Response) codes and their presence is becoming prevalent, as their usage steadily expands. Originally created in Japan by Toyota subsidiary Denso-Wave, the QR code is a type of two-dimensional barcode, whose content is intended to be decoded at high speed. Initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, the codes are now used in a wider context. They store information and data, which individuals can access via their smartphones, using a special QR code reader application. Many of the codes have a URL embedded within them, which when read, directs the user to a web page. Recently, QR codes have become popular marketing tools by companies and businesses.

Locally, Will Bruce, owner of Windermere Real Estate in Woodinville, has just begun utilizing the codes within ads he places in the newspaper and on "for sale" signs in front of homes.

He says, "... By reading the code, it will take you to one of our websites that gives you more pictures and all the information you need on those specific homes. It’s very efficient and cost effective."

Bruce adds, "It works the same way with a ‘for sale’ sign. You click on the code and scan it, and you can get all the details right then and there, or you can send them to your home computer if you want."

Until now, Bruce didn’t have a way to track the number of hits received from the codes, but he notes that this will change with the implementation of a Google analytics program.

"Then we’ll be able to see what kind of response we’re getting," he says. Other real estate agencies are taking notice of the codes and several companies are calling Bruce to inquire about their efficacy. "I think I’m a pioneer of sorts locally when it comes to this stuff," he comments. "I’m the leader of the pack. And everyone’s curious to know how well these codes work and whether they will drive sales. We’re going to give it a few months and see what happens. It’s definitely worth trying in my opinion."

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