If you’re a business that serves people face-to-face (normally), you’ve likely had to change the way you serve your customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic rearing its ugly head. 

Well, friends, “normally” isn’t the way you do business anymore, right?! 

When COVID-19 hit worldwide pandemic levels in early 2020, countries all across the globe literally shut down. The world reeled as businesses stayed closed, month after month, with no foreseeable end to the pandemic in sight. But the end of 2020 saw economies start to open back up, which brought with it new challenges.

How to keep everyone safe from the pandemic while also running a profitable business? Especially if you were a restaurant, cafe, or retail store.

Enter the QR code to save the day.

The rise of QR codes during the pandemic

While the QR code started to gain traction in the late ’90s, the biggest sticking point was that most smartphones required a third-party app to read them—coupled with slow internet speeds – and the QR code all but died off.

A worldwide pandemic revived the popularity of the QR code and just like that it was back in demand. With Apple adding the ability to scan QR codes with the iPhone camera in its 2017 iOS update, accessibility greatly increased.

Businesses latched onto the QR code to communicate with their customers in a contactless environment.

“You saw them deployed in restaurants in lieu of menus, on doors to advise of COVID-19 changes, in mailings and connected to landing pages with current news.” Forbes

The QR code has been a game-changer for many businesses and here at Bitly, a number of our plans include QR codes, making it even easier to track the content that you’re sharing out into the world.

Unique ways to use the QR code for your business

With restrictions now beginning to ease, allowing things like food to be delivered straight to your door, QR code use is on the rise to ensure the safety of consumers and create a unique experience for consumers

Take Pete’s Place, a Philly-based restaurant turned takeaway spot, for example.

When you order one of their meals, you’ll find a small QR code on top of the plastic lid. If you take out your phone and scan that QR code, you’ll be rewarded with a video that explains how to assemble your meal. Chef Pete Serpico’s adorable 5-year old daughter stars in the videos.

“We were searching for a way to personalize the experience,” Serpico says. “When we were at a sit-down restaurant with an open kitchen, we had the ability to personalize it with face-to-face interaction. We wanted to capture that through takeout.” Fortune

Aside from using QR codes to track your visits to businesses you enter, the QR code can be used to deliver all sorts of information.

As showcased in a recent article in Forbes, there are many uses for a QR code if you think outside the box. Here are just a few instances of how people and businesses are embracing QR codes:

  • A temporary tattoo connected to a social media account
  • On wedding invites instead of RSVP cards 
  • At the ballpark for the day’s roster
  • In a bar bathroom (connected to a taxi service)
  • Next to artwork in museums or galleries to provide more information than the standard blurb
  • On a cocktail napkin to promote a law firm
  • As a way to sign up for a podcast

No matter what type of business you run, the QR code makes good business sense, particularly when you’re able to track its effectiveness inside your Bitly dashboard.

If you’re looking for a way to connect with your audience or try a new form of marketing, why not bring QR codes into the mix? It certainly looks like it’s here to stay. Learn more about Bitly’s QR Code features.

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