Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Barcode Marketing II-Creating My Own Barcode

In part 1 of this saga, I advanced my knowledge about using smartphone apps in shopping and promotional settings. What I was really looking for, though, was the answer to the question, “Can I do this myself?” Not that anyone cares that much, except that if I can do it, anyone can!
First, the terminology. The series of lines known as bar codes are featured on all products that move in distribution channels today, and they are essential to maintaining inventory all along the supply chain. However, in spite of the fact that they hold a large amount of data, they became too small for newer applications like mobile shopping and proLinkmotion. A new generation was introduced, the 2D or matrix code. I first misinterpreted this as saying that the QR code and the familiar bar code were different animals. Not so, as this list shows. There are a variety of 2D codes and there is no real standardization. Selecting one that can be accessed by the most common readers is key, as I suggested in the previous post. As a commenter suggested, standardization is needed—and I heartily agree.

Note that the Barcode generator page contains a barcode generator that appears to be useful only if you have a numerical barcode already. If you don’t, this post tells you how to get one. If you want “free,” it is not necessarily unique and just for your own use, say in a retail store to maintain inventory. I’m also not convinced that “free” is as easy as this post suggests, although there are low cost solutions available.
I used the Kaywa QR code generator to create the QR code shown in this post, on the sidebar, and at the bottom of the page (same qr image, different sizes for different placements). It is one of the solutions featured by Mashable, which has written extensively about barcodes. See the demo slideshow on their post to get started. I use the text option in order to get a message into the code.

My own experience so far has been twofold:
1. Not all codes work on all scanners. In many cases it appears that the code has to be registered with the reader’s own database to register properly.
2. Changing the size of my code made a difference in readability. I’m told that the code is more readable if it’s on a white background—thanks, Charles.

Another piece of personal experience is also puzzling. I have had good luck reading QR codes in print media. Lynkee is my favorite reader, although I’m finding print codes generally easy to read. Reading the codes on paper seems to be easier than reading them on screen; maybe that’s the white border issue.

That said, I’m sorry that Google Places has eliminated the ability to print out a QR code poster from its listings. That was easy, and it worked for me. According to ReadWriteWeb, Google is moving to NFC technology in partnership with MasterCard and Visa, working on an e-wallet, apparently.

You’ll see more QR codes around. Home Depot has just started a promotion—in print and in store—using the Scanbuy solution. It will be worth following, but I’m interested in DIY efforts.

Anyone in the mood to make their own QR code poster for their blog or office or store window?

1 comment:

Fernando Caviedes said...


I think this trend has a huge future in Colombia. In fact , in here few people know the QR Code and therefore there is an interesting opportunity to explore. For instance, two month ago a Colombian company organized a Social Media Event. The idea was to show the social media trends from companies with experience on this field. It was a contest where participants had to upload the conference theme on the website of the organizer. The top 10 ideas with more votes would have the opportunity to participate.

Our campaign was executed through different channel, but the most efficient one was the QR Code.

We printed Qr Codes all around of the University. The Qr Code was linked to page where people could vote for our idea. At the end of the contest we obtained the highest score. It is important and relevant making clear that we were competing with very important companies as EL Tiempo and RCN News

Best Regards