This article was published on June 24, 2011

Shop at a virtual supermarket and more with QR Codes

Shop at a virtual supermarket and more with QR Codes
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

QR codes are awesome. I don’t care how geeky that sounds cause it’s true. Clearly we’re not the only ones who think so with the recent and explosive 1200% increase in the use of QR codes in North America.

What makes QR codes really cool is the fact that there is literally no end to how they can be used. It can be as creative as creating a scannable and edible waffle that leads to a specific URL, or as useful as appearing in campaign signs. It can even be used in architecture, as is being done in Dubai.

Fight crime

QR codes are going to be put to use by the Vancouver Police in their efforts to catch a sex offender. The QR codes have been placed on wanted posters linking to additional information about the criminal including composite sketches and a description of the man. The posters have been placed in restaurants and bars around Vancouver.

Shop at a virtual supermarket

In Korea, Tesco has created virtual supermarkets using QR Codes. Virtual displays have been placed in subway stations where shoppers can scan the QR codes of products, and the item is automatically added to their shopping cart. The online purchase is then delivered to your home. To see the method in action, watch the video below:

Interact with a hip-hop music video

QR codes are slowly making their way it into pop culture. Los Angeles based Korean MC, Shin-b takes interaction to a new level with her latest music video. The video is strewn with QR codes which lead to all sorts of different information – from a google search of her name to her Twitter profile. Of course in order to catch the QR codes, you’ll have to constantly pause the video. If you want to try it out for yourselves, check out the video below:

Leave hidden messages

Well they wouldn’t be entirely hidden to anyone who knows what a QR code is, but using a basic QR code generator, like this one or this one, you can type whatever you want and leave the message to be found by someone, as an ultra-modern version of a message in a bottle.

You can also use this method to create a pre-populated email message. Digital Inspiration provides the easy method using the MATMSG identifier. To create the email, use this exact format, down to the semi-colons:

TO:[email protected];
BODY:Start the body of your email here.

Insert all the comments you want to here.


In the body of the email you can create separate paragraphs.

Try out the QR code below to see how it works with your phone:

“Like” a pair of jeans

Diesel recently launched a campaign which has been met with mixed reactions. QR codes have been placed on large posters next to their respective product. Scanning the code takes you to a Facebook page where you can ‘like’ the product, and browse other Diesel products. Do you really care enough about a pair of jeans to let your friends on Facebook know about it? Diesel seems to think so. Check out the ad for the campaign below:

Learn more about your meal

Boston restaurant Taranta has incorporated QR codes into its meals. Using a rubber stamp or silk screen QR codes, your dish at Taranta comes with a scannable code on fish orders telling you where and when the fish was caught, and when it was delivered to the restaurant.

Create Art

There is no limit to the kind of scannable art that can be created using QR Codes. One of the most recent examples comes courtesy of QR Dress Code. The exhibition consists only of art created with the QR code in mind, all of which is fully scannable. The interesting thing about how they use the QR codes is that the links don’t just lead you to more information on the artist, but can actually lead you to additional works of art.

Check out the French video below to get a better idea of what the exhibition consisted of, and you can also scan a few of the QR codes yourself to see the art for yourself.

Have you seen any interesting uses of QR codes in the wild? Let us know about them in the comments

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