Tech companies in the US are reinventing new and engaging ways to leverage QR codes.

Hundreds of millions of shoppers in China now use their smartphones to scan and buy all sorts of stuff with QR codes, like sneakers, renting bikes, paying at restaurants, paying bills and much more. Conversely, QR codes considered old dinosaurs in the US just a few years ago, are beginning to make a comeback in the West. In cool, engaging and interesting ways, new QR code innovation, is being driven by both the status quo and up-and-coming newcomers in North America.

Snapchat acquired Scan.me for $50 million back in late 2014. It made sense then, that Snapchat would probably use this technology to enable shopping and payments between consumers and brands, but that never happened. In January 2015, Snapchat introduce QR codes for profiles, based upon the technology it acquired from Scan.me. Fast-forward to 2017, Snapchat took a new step to enable users to make QR Snapcodes that open websites inside of Snapchat.

Spotify has taken a tip from the Snapchat playbook and created a scannable Spotify code for sharing music instantly with friends. Use the camera in the Spotify app to scan a soundwave-like barcode located on the album cover image and instantly play that music your friend is listening to. Its really cool, fast and works like magic. No more links or opening a message app to get the song.

WhatsApp is leveraging QR code technology in new ways to enable access to its web desktop version similar to the mobile messaging app. The web version has less functionalities than the mobile app. It syncs with your smartphone when the smartphone is nearby a desktop or laptop and helpful when messaging with other people, using a computer keyboard and larger screen.

Facebook Messenger codes are helping people to connect easily and quickly with other users or businesses not already in their Messenger contacts. Scanning a circular-like code will open a option to allow someone to send a message to another person or business to connect. I am sure there is more to come with Messenger codes.

TrakGo, my company, is currently in a close review beta, with our new commerce text messaging app for small businesses and consumers. However, one capability in the app enables buyer and seller to transact face-to-face using TrakGo QR codes. The app automatically generates a QR code for the seller, for each product or service offering uploaded in the app and buyer can use the scan camera feature in the same app, to scan and pay for something in seconds. The advantage, customers can avoid handing over their credit or debit card in an in-person purchase. Making the transaction way more secure and cardless.

It was not so exciting before, when people just scanned QR codes, got redirected to a web site or saw product information and pricing appear on their mobile phone screen. Now tech companies are on a mission to leverage QR codes in new ways to really improve customer experiences, save them time and enable more secure mobile transactions. What we are witnessing is just a preview of whats to come in the future. So stay tuned to the QR code show.

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