Point, Click, Buy!

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Wanna know if Dublin Cleaners will pick up your dirty clothes for free? Aim your smartphone at that funky-looking barcode on the delivery van. Zip! You're at the Dublin Cleaners website.

Interested in buying a home? Point at the code on the Coldwell Banker King Thompson "for sale" sign, and ... zoom! Listing info is on your screen.

What's black and white and--maybe soon--read all over? QR codes, mosaic-like barcodes that, with a brief scan, can provide anything from tracking information to a direct link to a website.

By year's end, about half of all U.S. cellphone users are expected to have web-enabled camera phones capable of scanning QR (stands for "quick response") codes, says David Smith, senior interactive strategist at SBC Advertising.

Dublin Cleaners outfitted delivery vehicles with one-foot square QR codes in May. Tech-savvy customers can scan the code from as far as 10 to 12 feet away to find out more about pricing, rates and schedules. "I can't print that all over a van," says Vice President Brian Butler. "It would turn into a mess that nobody could process."

Real estate agent Virgil Mathias of Coldwell Banker King Thompson includes QR codes on print advertising as well as yard signs. "If you want to look at a home without scrolling through a bunch of pages, this offers a specific URL for a specific home, so you can go directly to that home. ... It's very efficient," Mathias says.

Reprinted from the July 2011 issue of Columbus C.E.O. Copyright © Columbus C.E.O.