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12 reasons why QR Codes make sense for India

With the advancement of smartphone technology, an expansion in digital marketing has been observed over the years in India.

Of the many strategies involved, QR Codes have shown exponential growth in engaging customers by offering dynamic content such as webpages, videos, and text documents among other forms of media. India features in the top 10 nations consuming QR Codes and companies are embracing it every day. But the full potential of this 2D barcode has not been achieved in the country.

Why does India need to make use of QR codes more efficiently? What use do they have in Indian lives? The diverse Indian market can host a variety of innovative uses for QR Codes. Here are a few examples:

1. Language simplification

The high number of languages in India can make it difficult for vernacular speakers when they travel to another state which typically has a different tongue. When scanned, QR Codes can offer language options to the user in order to avail the service in a language of their comfort. Not only does this facility bring ease to the customer, but it also multiplies the customer base for the local business.

The Union Tourism Ministry plans on using QR Codes to deliver information about heritage sites in New Delhi to tourists in a language of their choice, replacing the out-of-date audio guides.

The State Tourism Department of Kerala, in February 2015, has already integrated QR codes into helping tourists reach destinations in addition to the history of the place.

qr codes make sense for india

2. Providing coupons

Retailers across the globe make use of QR Codes to offer coupons during their promotional campaigns. They place a QR Code with the promotional ad. Scanning the QR Code by users dispenses a coupon to their smartphones. This makes it more convenient than the conventional coupons which need to be cut and stored safely. Businesses in India can use this strategy to provide authentic discounts.

For example, Myntra, a popular online shopping platform used QR Codes on product delivery packages to push sales. When scanned, they redirected the customers to a coupon. These coupons acted as an incentive for them to make a repeat purchase with Myntra.

Similarly, Amazon India also uses Amazon SmileCodes on product cartons. Customers can scan them to avail offers and discounts.

You can create a QR Code coupon using an online QR Code Generator.

3. Film media

It is widely known the affair Indians have with Bollywood, Tollywood, and other cinemas in the country. This presents a huge marketing opportunity for distributors to interact with their audience. One can put QR Codes on movie posters to show movie trailers or to allow booking tickets online.

qr codes make sense for india

This makes a lot of sense for India as a large section of the popular is enthusiastic about cinema but cannot read or write. However, they do know how to click a picture and most have a smartphone. Since scanning a QR Code is as easy as clicking a picture, they can easily access movie trailers and other videos using their smartphones. 

Furthermore, the ticket issuing authorities can also add QR Codes to movie tickets. Responsible personnel can scan these tickets to validate guests at the entry gate. For example, Book My Show, a popular movie ticket booking app, adds QR Codes to its tickets.

4. Newspapers

Newspapers are one of the oldest means of sharing news and other important information. But during the current times, when so much is happening around the world, it sometimes becomes a task to accommodate every piece of information to the limited printing space.

However, QR Codes are helping them add detailed information without jeopardising the readability. For example, the Times of India, an Indian newspaper, adds QR Codes to its articles. The readers can scan them to get more information about it. Similarly, many advertisers also use QR Codes in newspapers to make their ads actionable and trackable.

5. Issuing application forms

Organisations that require participants to fill out an application (job, competitive exam registration, ID cards, etc.) can use QR Codes to make it an easier and less time-consuming process.

Instead of standing in queues, applicants can scan a QR Code displayed and get an online form on their smartphones. They can complete this at the application center itself and save a lot of manual paperwork for the staff. 

In fact, Delhi University also used QR Codes during the 2018-19 academic session. Its aim was to make the admission process easier and smoother. Upon scanning, the QR Codes gave admission-related information. These QR Codes were segregated according to colleges, departments, and institutes.

6. Education

QR Codes have already made their way into the education system. They are being used to provide additional notes, answers to test questions, organize scavenger hunts, and even give a campus tour to the students.

Furthermore, QR Codes are also being used on certificates. Why? To help people verify their authenticity.

For example, in 2016, the Secondary Education Board of Madhya Pradesh adopted QR Codes on certificates. Each certificate had a unique QR Code that redirected the end-users to the student’s original mark sheet.

Similarly, Jadavpur University (JU) in India also introduced QR codes on degree certificates. It aims to prevent the forgery of degree certificates.

7. Waste collection

India is one of the largest garbage-producing countries in the world. So waste handling becomes an important issue. And QR Codes can help with it. How?

In 2017, some students in Bangalore, India, developed an app to encourage residents to segregate garbage. Since most citizens don’t do waste segregation actively, this came across as an enlightening initiative.

8. Banking and payments

HDFC India has announced it will integrate online retailers into its mobile banking platform to enable one-click purchases using QR Codes. The program plans on using the platform to authenticate the user. Hence, it allows making purchases, without further authentication, from the retailers. By introducing this, HDFC plans on accelerating eCommerce transactions.

Paytm Wallet, a payment app that allows transactions to Paytm tie-up companies, has now introduced a new feature. It allows the user to pay or send money by scanning a merchant’s QR Code. This facility isn’t exclusive to Paytm partners. With payment procedures are getting user friendly and fast, QR Codes serve to facilitate the model.

paytm qr code payments

To facilitate easy money transfer, The State Bank of India launched Anywhere App with QR Codes. Each user gets a unique QR Code that allows her to transfer money.

9. Safety

Every city admin wants to ensure the safety of its citizens. And QR Codes are lending a helping hand to do just that. From helping citizens avail emergency services to making tourism better, QR Codes are doing it all.

For example, in 2017, Delhi Police (India) adopted QR Codes for women’s safety. QR Codes were installed on public transports such as taxis and auto-rickshaws. When scanned, they showed the driver’s name, address, and vehicle registration number.

Hence, in case of any emergency, the passenger could contact the police and relay the driver’s information easily.

10. Travelling

QR Codes offer an easy and smooth commute in a number of ways. From quick authentication of tickets to easy ticket purchases, they can help you with all of it. For example, India’s train ticket booking portal, IRCTC adds QR Codes to its printable e-tickets. When scanned, QR Code shows the complete ticket details such as PNR, train number, scheduled departure, scheduled arrival, and train name.

irctc qr codes

11. Vehicle Identification

Vehicle verification is important but consumes a lot of time for traffic police personnel and the driver. This is where QR Codes come into action. They can store all the information related to the vehicle and the driver. When scanned, they help the responsible personnel to see all the encoded details.

In fact, the Government of India has introduced mParivahan QR Code. All that a driver needs to do is—

  • Download the mParivahan app
  • Fill in the details such as the last four digits of the vehicle’s chassis number and the engine number
  • Generate a virtual RC QR Code

Police personnel can scan this QR Code to verify all the vehicular details.

12. Identification and Authentication

India is the second most populated country in the world. Hence, it is important for the government to have a centralised data system to identify and authenticate the citizens.

As a matter of fact, India has taken an initiative—Aadhaar Card—a national identity proof. Every Aadhar card comes with a QR Code unique to each citizen. Upon scanning the QR Code, businesses or govt officials can verify the user easily. The QR Code on the Aadhaar Card stores the citizen’s information such as:

  • Name
  • Father’s name
  • Date of birth
  • Address

India is rapidly pacing towards putting a smartphone in the hands of every India. In fact, in India, the smartphone penetration rate in the financial year 2020 was about 42% and by 2025, this rate is estimated to reach 51%.

So, now is the time to accommodate the QR Code technology to make services and content easily accessible. India, like China, must accommodate the QR Code technology to remove language and literacy barriers.

Also, see how India is using QR Codes.


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By Gautam Garg

Gautam Garg is a Co-founder and the CEO of Scanova. He is a QR Code enthusiast and a big fan of inbound marketing, CRO, and usability. When taking a break, he likes to go trekking and eat spicy food.

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