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Barcode vs QR Code: What’s Better To Use for Your Business?

Man thinking which one to choose: Barcode or QR code
✅ Learn more about the difference between barcodes and QR codes.
✅ Find out which option will suit your business needs more: barcode or QR code.

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Man thinking which one to choose: Barcode or QR code

People usually mistake QR codes and barcodes and think that there is no difference between them. Usually, when you scan barcode, you get a short description of an item, while QR codes can be linked to videos, websites, social media, etc. 

It’s important to point out that there are many advantages that QR codes have to offer, which makes businesses choose QR codes over barcodes. QR codes are far more advanced than barcodes and offer much more opportunities for different business processes. That includes marketing efforts, engagement with customers and clients, and tracking internal processes. 

When looking for ways to make business processes more efficient, QR codes serve as powerful tools to help manage important assets. Barcodes are commonly used in the retail industry and have been used for years. So should businesses stick to barcodes or choose QR codes instead? 

What is a Barcode?

A barcode is a pattern that consists of parallel lines of different widths. These bars are for entering data into a system. Barcode is black on a white background and the width of a code may vary depending on the type of application.

The barcode can be adjusted to the user’s requirements. It’s possible to have simple and complex information represented in a barcode. The bar or white spaces of a particular width in a certain position is read by a barcode reader and transferred to the computer as a 0 or 1. 

For some barcodes, there are two different bar widths, while for other codes up to four widths can be applied. The numbers that are printed at the base of a barcode are the ones represented by this barcode.

Example of a barcode scanner
Even though QR codes are taking over, barcodes are still commonly used in retail and inventory management.

What is a QR code?

QR codes are two-dimensional matrix barcodes that you can instantly scan with your phone. It’s an advanced version of a barcode that comes with a variety of benefits. Due to that, they can be read by scanners both horizontally and vertically. A QR code has a complex structure. It usually comes in a square shape with black and white squares and dots. 

This complex structure gives a great advantage to QR codes over barcodes, as they have better information capacity and are more error-tolerant. The flexibility that QR codes provide makes them perfect for businesses that want to use codes for marketing campaigns or other ways for engagement with customers.

QR codes are most commonly used to link a company’s websites or social media accounts. However, there are many more ways QR codes can be used for a business. QR codes can store up to 4296 characters with punctuation and special characters, making it easy to encode website URLs.

Advantages of using a Barcode

qr code advantages over barcodes
a QR code has many advantages over barcodes.

The main advantage of using barcodes is that they are very easy to use right after printing them out. They serve as a great organizational tool, as mostly they are being used in the retail industry for inventory management. Now, as barcode technology advances and continues to improve, all smartphones can be used as barcode scanners and interpret data.

Even though there is a certain limit to data that can be stored in a barcode, it is still enough for efficient asset tracking and retail inventory management. Barcodes can be used in various industries, however, more and more the shift to QR codes is becoming noticeable. QR codes are replacing basic barcodes.

But still, barcodes are widely used to identify and track different types of items in supermarkets, shops, and other stores. 

Advantages of a QR Code

QR codes are advanced versions of barcodes and the main advantage of them is the ability to hold a lot of data. Also, it’s good to know that even if your QR code is damaged, it still can be read. 

QR codes have a high error tolerance due to their well-designed structure. It’s because the structure of QR codes includes duplications, which allows the code to be damaged up to 30% but still be readable. 

Here are other important advantages that QR codes offer for businesses that you need to consider when choosing what is better to start using:

Better loading and scanning speeds

QR Codes can also be scanned and load information faster than barcodes. Also, QR Codes utilize short URL technology, in which any linked information is condensed into a shorter link so that it loads faster. 

Customization features for marketing efforts

why is a qr code better than barcode
QR codes used on printed materials help to track the effectiveness of marketing efforts.

You can quickly create a custom code with a QR code generator. In just a few simple steps you get a colorful, unique QR code, which you can later modify and change. QR codes allow you to play with custom colors, images, frames, etc. You can even add a call-to-action button next to the code to help customers understand the purpose of the QR code. 

A custom QR code is an amazing tool for marketing campaigns. It helps to track the results of the campaign as well as engage with customers and educate them about the products. By using branded QR codes across different locations and marketing channels, you can improve brand awareness and build stronger relations with your customers. 

Customizable QR code offers a great solution for sharing links to social media, apps to increase downloads, and more. Through customization features, you can get very creative and express yourself to create a beautiful and appealing QR code for your business.

Ability to track and edit

There are dynamic QR codes that allow you to get crucial tracking information for marketing campaigns, including data on scans, devices used for scanning, time scanned, etc. With editing features, you can easily change the link used for the QR code without changing its appearance. 

Moreover, with tracking features, now it’s easier to approximately calculate the ROI (return on investment) of printed materials used for campaigns and other marketing efforts. You can see how many people scanned printed materials and what other actions they took from the QR code. Tracking and editing abilities give QR codes a huge advantage over barcodes. 

Integration with an inventory management system

Like barcodes, QR codes can also be used for the inventory management system. QR codes are easy and quick to read. Moreover, you can use your smartphone as a QR code scanner, which saves a lot of time. It’s more convenient to quickly use a phone for employees than a specific reader, especially if there are some difficulties at a warehouse. 

Now there are many inventory management software solutions that integrate QR codes, making the switch from barcodes quick and easy to do.

Here is an example of how QR codes are used for logistics and inventory in the warehouse.

Why choose QR codes Over Barcodes?

QR codes and barcodes have different structural forms, so when choosing which codes to stick with, analyze your needs. Figure out which features are important and needed for you to get everything organized and achieve your certain goals. Of course, all benefits of QR codes listed above overweigh the pros of using barcodes. Still, your decision solely depends on you and what your business needs. 

With QR codes you get more opportunities to make changes and get creative. If that’s what you want, then go for QR codes. Here are other great reasons to choose QR codes over barcodes:

  • Superior flexibility. You have the ability to change the information and links stored in a QR code, without changing the way it looks.
  • Asset tracking options. With QR codes you can not only track a category to which a certain item belongs, you can track each unique item separately. It plays an important role in tracking enterprise assets, as you have to be able to identify the items uniquely. 
  • Uniqueness. QR codes offer uniqueness, as they help to identify each unique asset separately. Barcodes are quite limited in this aspect due to the limit of data they can store. 
  • Great usability. QR codes can get damaged, but they still stay scannable. This is another important factor in asset tracking. So even if a QR code gets cut somewhere and is incomplete, there is a high chance that there is still a chance to read it.  

Also, it’s good to know that barcodes have been around since the 1970s and now they are considered a bit old-fashioned. QR codes were introduced in the 1990s and offer more opportunities and flexibility.  

Conclusions

Before choosing whether using barcodes or QR codes is right for your business, you should first understand why you need this technology in the first place. Based on your needs you will find out which features you’re looking for and which option can provide them.

About the author

Siim Tiigimägi is the Content Lead at Pageloot. He writes about our innovative QR code generator services. With a profound expertise spanning over 5 years on QR codes, Siim is a subject matter expert in the field. He makes significant strides in leveraging QR technology to simplify and augment digital interactions.

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