Long considered old-school tech, QR codes are rapidly re-emerging with a new purpose as small businesses—from restaurants to retailers and even service-based businesses—look for a way to accept payments while keeping a safe distance from their customers. Let’s take a look at what they are and how your business can quickly and easily use QR codes to complete your sales.
A QR code (short for Quick Response code) is a souped-up bar code with a pattern of squares arranged on a grid. Invented in the 90s by the Japanese auto industry, QR codes can store up to 100x more information than conventional barcodes. For example, if a conventional barcode only contains an auto part number, the QR code can contain the part number, the manufacturer, the lot number, the date of purchase, the arrival date in inventory, information to repurchase the part, etc.
About 20 years ago, marketers started putting QR codes on just about everything—products, packaging, advertisements, posters, etc.—as a quick way to direct people to a website or other online destination. Yet they never really caught on, mainly because the technology available provided a disappointing customer experience.
Little did we know the QR code was a solution in search of the right problem.
Widely popular for years in Japan and China, QR codes are finally getting a second look in the U.S. and Europe as businesses investigate ways to accept payments in an era of social distancing.
When using QR codes to accept payments, there is no need to handle cash or cards and no need for customers to interact with a point-of-sale (POS) device to enter a PIN or sign a receipt. Instead, accepting payments is as simple as aiming a smartphone camera at a displayed QR code.
All you need to do is generate a unique QR code, print it out, and post it wherever your customer is going to pay.
Using QR codes to take payments could be a good solution for just about any business that physically accepts payments from their customers, like:
Clearly, the main benefit of accepting payments via QR codes is that it is a touch-free way of accepting payments and limiting physical interaction with your customers. However, there are some other compelling benefits it offers:
Generating a unique QR code for your business is quick and easy—it only takes a few minutes. PayPal has a QR code generator in our PayPal Business app. Get started today with a way to accept payments at a safe distance.
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