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May 02, 2011 09:50 PM

QR Codes & Small Business

Sioux Falls, SD

Have you noticed those black and white bar codes on everything from magazines to your TV screen to signs?
They're called Quick Response codes and can be scanned by a smartphone to bring you more information.

While they've been popular in Japan for more than a decade, they're just catching on in the U.S.  And small businesses are figuring out ways to put QR codes to use. 

A popular Sioux Falls Bakery has a new high-tech sign.

"A lot of people walking downtown might not come in here, but if they can scan and they see what we have, it will draw them into the store," Becky Smith of The Cookie Jar said.

The sign with the Quick Response code just went up last week, but The Cookie Jar has already seen people scanning it with their smartphones.

"It goes right to our special page on the website, so any specials we have going on for the month, I try to update that monthly. We can do a coupon on there. With Mother's Day coming up, I've got Mother's Day gifts. They can see that right away. It's instant," Smith said.

"It's going to be driven by the consumer. If people are using smartphones and using applications, it will start to take off," Marketing Director of Complete Media Matt Luke said.

Luke has helped his father's construction business use QR codes to let people know more about the renovation project at the old Security Bank Building on Main Street in Sioux Falls.

"The one about Security Bank history, we have old news articles on there about the history of the building and how Dillinger played a part in this building. It's interesting for audience to see how this building plays part in history of Sioux Falls," Luke said.

For a small business like the Cookie Jar, this kind of marketing tool comes at the right price.

"When you're a small business, you try to find something that's going to be cheaper or easy for us to buy into and this is definitely an affordable way to go and get all your info out there instead of just your name," Smith said. 

Luke says while it may not cost the business anything, it's important to give the consumer something in return for taking the time to scan the barcode.

"Beyond just going to your website or a link to your FB page, what does the viewer actually get in return for scanning that code.  Whether it's more information about a business, a special, it's a promotion or promotional video that gives the viewer, 'That was really cool that I took the time to do that,'" Luke said. 

With their uses appearing to be unlimited, you're sure to see these barcodes pop up all over the place in the coming months.

Even the city of Sioux Falls is using QR Codes on public notification signs to give the public more information on projects.

QR Code Generator

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