Facing fierce competition and needing a way to stand out, Ethical Bean Coffee used a quick-response code in train ads to help customers order coffee. Business has doubled in the eight months since the Vancouver coffee shop started using the ads. The rise of smartphones has increased the popularity of QR codes, which users can scan to access discounts, websites, videos and other marketing. But experts warn that small businesses may have to teach customers how to use the codes and that development can be costly.

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