The Return of QR Codes


Amazon GO requires you to scan a QR Code before entering the store.

QR Codes are not new. 

You see these blocky textures on the odd posters, or website ads. When was the time you pulled out your app to use one? It seems like they’ve fallen out of the loop. However – it depends on who, and where you ask. 

QR Codes have become indispensable to daily life in China. Whether you’re in a main city like Beijing, or even rural towns, QR codes have taken off. They allow you to scan and pay for anything from taxi rides to snacks from a vending machine. For China in 2017, 910 million people had access to smartphones. The widespread user base contributed to its ongoing success as a technology for everyday life. 

The purpose of technology is to simplify, and/or add value – and that’s exactly what QR codes are doing in China. We’re in a particular place in society where we need them most.

Why are they coming back?

There’s a better ecosystem for smartphones to be using QR codes now, where 10% more phones have access to high-speed data. Greater accessibility for an average user to scan QR codes and to browse the internet means more usage. Where will we find an increased use? 

With the development of a “new normal” due to the COVID-19 pandemic, QR codes are something we will continue to see as an effort to reduce contact as well as track the spread of the virus. There’s seamless adoption of using QR codes for this purpose in China. New Zealand is also using QR codes to track for COVID-19, with an app that acts as a “Digital diary” to scan QR codes at places they’ve been. This ensures people who’ve been potentially exposed to a virus to be alerted. 

How do I start using QR codes with my business? 

QR codes are actually more prevalent than you think, so it’s quite easy to apply it as a solution for your business. From joining Wi-Fi networks, to supporting augmented reality – QR codes lead to versatile outcomes when scanned.


Snapcodes from Snapchat, help users add friends and followers quickly

Here are a few top tips for including QR codes to your business:

  • If you’re already on Paypal, you can use the QR code for payments in store. You need any additional hardware – simply present a QR code to a customer and they can scan. This way it remains contactless, and cashless for convenience.
  • Introduce posters or advertising material that utilizes QR codes. This could also be for various business processes, like checking hotel guests in, or directing clients to an appointment app.

In our collaboration with the Safe Wait project, WelTel uses QR codes to help with automatic check-in at waiting rooms.

Chatnels auto-generates QR codes that link to an organization. You can try Chatnels free today.