Episode 14: QR Codes - What are they and how do I use them in Self Storage? | Self Storage Lab

November 20, 2023
4 minutes

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Welcome to the Self Storage Lab — where we deconstruct how operators are adapting to today’s technology-driven landscape and how it might impact your business.

In today's episode, we'll be discussing QR Codes, these black and white -like codes you often see in Restaurants nowadays. We will dive into the remarkable resurgence of QR codes in the wake of the pandemic, examining how this technology is being utilized in various fields, and explore the unique challenges and opportunities it presents for self storage operators.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • History
  • Quick Stats
  • Adoption
  • How they work / what it is
  • Single QR code vs. Location specific QR codes
  • Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes
  • Use Cases
  • Safety
  • Design
  • Limitations to the technology
  • Benefits (Recap)

Show Notes:


  • They are short for “Quick Response” codes. Created back in 1994. while they may look simple, qr codes are capable of storing lots of data. but no matter how much they contain, when scanned, the qr code should allow the user to access information instantly – hence why it's called a quick response code.
  • These black and white enigmatic-like codes. Similar to barcodes but can be read horizontally or vertically
  • Basically, a QR code works in the same way as a barcode at the supermarket. it is a machine-scannable image that can instantly be read using a smartphone camera. Every qr code consists of a number of black squares and dots which represent certain pieces of information.

Quick Stats

  • According to eMarketer, QR code scans nearly doubled to 25% in 2020 up from 13% the year prior. People leaned into the convenience and safety that QR codes brought. They made looking at menus, product information and getting coupons a lot easier — all without touching anything that could be contaminated.
  • According to Bitly, there has been a 750% increase in QR Code downloads since the start of the pandemic.  
  • 50 percent of consumers in China use QR codes daily


  • Smartphone manufactures adding to stock camera app

How they work / what it is

  • Three big squares - register marks - view from any angle

Static vs. Dynamic QR Codes

  • Static - basic link
  • Dynamic - service that allows you to redirect that link


  • Resolution is important, but the nature of the squares makes it easier to use low quality
  • Generally, larger is better
  • The minimum size of a QR code that can be scanned by most smartphones can be easily calculated with this simple formula: Minimum QR code size = Scanning distance / 10.
  • Incorporate a CTA or instructions so user knows what to expect

Error Correction

  • The level determines the percentage of the total QR code that is allowed to be dirty or damaged without being unable to read
  • The more data you put into a QR code, the smaller the black dots become

Single QR code vs. Location specific QR codes

  • Single landing page
  • Location pages

Use Cases

  • Shopping
  • Customer Support
  • Marketing
  • Payment Aps & services


  • While QR codes are generally safe, they can be manipulated by scammers because they all appear similar.
  • A malicious QR code may lead you to a spoofed website designed to drop different malware types or steal your sensitive data, like your login credentials, credit card information, or money.


  • Using color
  • Plain vs. including your logo - trust
  • Square vs. rounded vs. triangle vs. other shapes

Benefits (Recap):

Should you use them? Why should you care?

  • Storing large amounts of data
  • Easily scannable
  • Easy to troubleshoot (Dynamic)
  • Cost effective and are multi purpose
  • Highly customizable
  • Easy to measure campaign performance

Limitations to the technology

  • Updating the QR codes
  • Flaw in the design may render it unreadable
  • Cell service to access the URL link
  • Not everyone owns a smartphone, paper
  • Fatigue is real

Where is it going?

  • QR codes on packaging
  • QR Codes & direct mail is a killer combo
  • Automated QR code campaigns; integrated to something like Zapier to transfer data of events to a spreadsheet to keep track of form responses
  • A focus on AR experiences 

Alternatives & Tools

  • Bluetooth beacons; used primarily as a proximity tool that activates when a customer is close — used for push notifications. Think of welcoming a tenant when they walk into their facility.
  • NFC (near field communication); a la Apple Pay
  • LinkTree
  • Link Shorteners
  • www.qr-code-generator.com - by bit.ly
  • Spot.is

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