Amazon has developed its own QR codes to offer discounts.

They're called SmileCodes, and you can find them in all sorts of places in the real world. They've been in testing in Europe over the past few weeks, but now they're coming to the US. With them, you can activate various offers from Amazon. Here's what you need to know.

QR codes - those barcode-looking squares you’ll see on business cards and ads, are designed to be scanned with your phone's camera. Once scanned, they'll launch a website or an app, usually. However, despite being around for years, they haven't really caught on. Nevertheless, Amazon has begun to embrace them in 2018, by branding its own kind of QR codes called SmileCodes.

They look like regular QR barcode squares - only, they feature Amazon’s smile logo in the center. See an example here:

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SmileCodes will allow you to instantly use Amazon benefits wherever you've scanned the code. So, if you visit an Amazon Locker, you might see a SmileCode that offers you the ability to retrieve the secure code for that locker. SmileCodes will reportedly also be used for things like getting a discount in Amazon Restaurant. Obviously, the opportunities are endless. We may even see these on Amazon boxes one day.

Amazon has experimented with its boxes before - turning them into yellow Minion-themed boxes in 2015 and red Greatest Showman-themed boxes in 2016. Now, with SmileCodes, Amazon could turn its boxes into clickable links, though it hasn't confirmed it would.

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Many default camera apps on phones have built-in QR code scanners, but SmileCodes can only be activated via the Amazon app and are secure and exclusive to Amazon users. Amazon’s smartphone app already has a live camera feature that lets you scan SmileCodes.

  1. Launch the Amazon app.
  2. Tap on the camera icon in the search bar.
  3. Tap on “see more,” and then select the SmileCode Scanner option.
  4. Amazon tells you that scanning a SmileCode will unlock an “Amazon experience with your camera.”
  5. Once you’ve line up your camera with the code, you will be automatically redirected to your offer.

Amazon has been testing SmileCodes in pop-up shops and at Amazon Lockers in Europe over the past few weeks. They are set to come to the US via print magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Seventeen, sometime in February 2018, according to TechCrunch, which shared images of ads that will appear in those magazines. The ads show SmileCodes and claim you can scan them to buy stuff or get discounts.

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Amazon is still being relatively quiet about this new feature, so it hasn't yet announced a clear way you can track down SmileCodes.