QR stands for Quick Response and it is an extension of the barcode system. It first found extensive use in the automotive industry whereby using a matrix type barcode far greater information could be stored than with a conventional barcode. With the distribution of smartphones to the the masses it has resulted in everyone having access to their own QR code reader and, as a result, the QR code has become the latest piece of information to include on your branded material. Beyond that of simple convenience to the consumer, the importance of this capability is that it increases the conversion rate by driving readers further down the conversion funnel without any delay or effort, bringing the viewer to the advertiser's website immediately, where a longer and more targeted sales pitch may continue.
Are they the latest gimmick or here to stay? I suspect the newness of QR codes is part of their appeal. Their use demonstrates that the branding and information is both current and “cutting edge” but I am sceptical as to whether it will actually drive more sales to your company, and I anticipate that as technology continues to develop at a pace they will quickly be overtaken by the next trend, but in the meantime, I can’t stop as I need to get our QR code embedded in all of our marketing literature.