Do Businesses Still Use QR Codes?

The use of business QR codes increased significantly following the social and economic restrictions introduced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though many of these restrictions are no longer applicable, the incorporation of QR codes in business has continued to rise steadily. 

In this guide, we look at what a QR code is, the many benefits that it currently provides for small businesses, and their usage is likely to progress in the future. 

Recommended: Looking to make your own QR codes? Check out our free QR code generator to get started.

What Is a QR Code?

A QR code is a kind of barcode that can be used for both commercial and private use. 

QR codes were invented in 1994 by Denso Wave — a Japanese automotive company — following an economic boom in the late 1960s that increased the need for a system that could improve the management and tracking of stock within supermarkets. 

The origin of the name “QR” comes from Quick Response. This is because, when it was invented, the purpose of the QR code was to be able to scan a lot of information within only a few seconds.

Nowadays, QR codes can work with virtually any up-to-date mobile device, and their use far exceeds stock management. From marketing to improving customer satisfaction and internal communication levels, there are few parts in any business where you will not see the use of business QR codes in 2024. 

A QR code is an encoded version of a file document or URL link. This means that there can be a seemingly unlimited number of QR code types that can be generated. Having said that, there are a few that are most commonly used. These include:

Note: There are two different types of QR codes: static and dynamic. While static QR codes are free of charge and easy to use, dynamic QR codes come with extra features, including the ability to be edited post-print.

Industries That Use QR Codes

One of the fundamental reasons for the boost in the use of business QR codes in recent years has been their flexibility. There is really no limit to the number of industries that can use QR codes or the number of ways that they can be used. 

Having said that, there are a few industries where the use of QR codes has proven to be particularly useful. These include:

  • Hospitality
  • Ecommerce
  • Real Estate
  • Clothing


The hospitality sector includes restaurants, hotels, cafes, and Airbnbs. 

Since it is a customer-service-oriented industry, it is no surprise that the use of business QR codes has been used not only for marketing purposes but also to improve customer satisfaction levels.

Business QR codes have been used in the following ways:

  • WiFi connections: By using a WiFi QR code, businesses within the hospitality industry can allow visitors to connect to the WiFi without needing to find out and type in any passwords
  • Blended marketing: Through the use of URL codes, businesses can direct offline traffic (e.g., brochure, billboard, etc.) to an online listing or website instantly. This can improve a business’s conversion rates.
  • Digital guidebooks: These can be made by using PDF QR codes and are often much more convenient than their printed alternatives as they are much easier to save and travel with. 
  • Digital menus: By using PDF QR codes, restaurants, cafes, and hotels can allow themselves to update their seasonal menus without needing to actually print them again. 
  • Customer service: Contact QR codes can be used to improve communications between visitors and the staff. This can go a long way in providing a more user-friendly experience for a business’s customers.


Ecommerce businesses are using business QR codes in order to direct online and offline traffic in a more “controlled” manner. 

For example, a business can include a URL QR code in its printed advertisements that directs users towards a website where users can make purchases. Similarly, it may direct users towards a specific online deal or store page that the business wants to advertise. 

QR codes can also be included within an ecommerce business’s website. This can be very useful if you want to improve the popularity of your “secondary” platforms (e.g., including a social media QR code to boost your social media profiles’ popularity, etc.). 

Ecommerce businesses can benefit from QR codes in the following ways:

  • Increased sales revenue
  • Increased advertising revenue
  • Improved customer service

Descriptive PDF QR codes can also be included on an ecommerce business’s product packaging. This can be particularly useful for businesses that sell novel products.

Real Estate

Real estate agents and/or property owners can take advantage of business QR codes to increase the number of inquiries that they receive. 

For example, an advertised property on a billboard with an attached URL QR code can allow any interested party to have a way to find that property's online listing instantly. 

This makes it more likely that further inquiries will be made and also allows users to obtain a more in-depth overview of the property (e.g., specifications, more images, etc.). 

Businesses within the real estate industry can also use other types of business QR codes, including:

  • Image QR codes can be used to direct users towards an online listing of supplementary images of a property.
  • Contact QR codes can be used by interested parties in order to get in contact with a real estate agent or business easily and quickly.
  • YouTube QR codes can be ideal for providing long tour videos of an entire property.


The clothing industry is one of the best examples of how broadly business QR codes can be used. In addition to the already-discussed reasons for using QR codes (e.g., marketing, social media, etc.), clothing brands have used them in order to:

  • Provide details about a product (e.g., available sizes, colors, etc.)
  • Ensure product authenticity. This can be a great mechanism for avoiding counterfeit products.
  • Share their history. This can enable small brands to build their brand image and improve brand loyalty in the long term. 
  • Offer styling advice. Some clothing brands (e.g., Ralph Lauren) allow users to scan QR codes to receive styling advice.

Will QR Codes Stick Around?

Yes. Even though the “everyday” use of business QR codes was largely influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ample benefits that they have brought in for businesses have meant that they are unlikely to go away any time soon. 

At the moment, businesses seem to be regularly finding new ways to incorporate QR codes within their day-to-day operations. For example, QR codes are now being used to:

  • Transfer cryptocurrency
  • Make sales
  • Make calls
  • Sign up for SMS notifications
  • Send emails

In practice, QR codes still reign as one of the easiest and cheapest mechanisms through which consumers can maintain entirely touchless commercial interactions.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I use a QR code generator?

You can use a QR code generator by following these steps:

  • Choose the type of QR code that you want to create (e.g., PDF, URL, email, etc.)
  • Customize your QR codes so that they align with your business’s branding
  • Download your QR codes in your preferred format. Different options may be available depending on the QR code generator that you are using. 

For more information, see our guide on how QR code generators work.

Are business QR codes useful for small businesses?

Yes, business QR codes are perfect for small businesses because they provide the following benefits for free:

  • Increased online influence
  • Improved ROI on marketing campaigns
  • Increased social media influence
  • Better customer service and feedback

Some QR codes may not be free (e.g., dynamic QR code generators, etc.), but this will be a discretionary choice that businesses will make independently.

What products can I put business QR codes on?

You can put QR codes on any product, as long as you do this in a way that ensures that customers will actually be interested in scanning your QR codes. 

A few examples of business products that use QR codes include:

  • Airbnbs and rental properties
  • Vehicular products
  • YouTube videos
  • Clothing products
  • Beverage products
  • Music products

For more information, see our What Type of Products Can I Put QR Codes On guide.

Can iPhones scan business QR codes?

Yes, iPhones running iOS 11 or above have a built-in QR code reader. If your iPhone is less up-to-date, you will still be able to scan QR codes by downloading a third-party app from your App Store.

Scanning a QR code on your iPhone can be done by following these steps:

  • Open your camera or third-party app on your iPhone device
  • Point your iPhone device at the QR code
  • Tap the pop-up that appears

For more information, see our guide on how to scan a QR code.