Dismal QR Code Use? Don’t Blame the Code! (Digital Nirvana)

While U.S. consumers are increasingly using various online research channels to research their purchases, QR Codes are not one of them. This, according to a study conducted by Radius Global Market Research (GMR).

  • When asked about current experiences with QR Codes, only 12% of consumers said they had scanned QR Codes for product information.
  • The percentage of consumers who plan to use QR Codes in the future was also 12%.

Does this confirm naysayers’ views that QR Codes are a passing fad? Absolutely not. Don’t be misled!

I have said many times before, the problem is not that people are not interested in using QR Codes. The problem is that marketers aren’t using QR Codes to send people anywhere worth going. It’s not rocket science. If every time I scan a QR Code, I get sent to the corporate website where there is nothing of value to me, I’m going to stop scanning QR Codes.

If you touch a fiery stove burner enough times, you’ll stop touching it. It’s not the fault of the stove.

QR Codes could be replaced by AR, NFC, or some other technology of the future (the hypothetical replacement for QR Codes being heralded by many QR Code naysayers), but those technologies won’t “fix” the problem because they still have the same issue of what’s on the back end. In fact, the back end of AR and other technologies is even more challenging to produce well, so if marketers can’t get it together with relatively mobile-optimized websites with information relevant to the product in hand, it’s unlikely that they’ll do better with something more complex.

As a PSP, the challenge faced by customers should be relatively simple to address. If you see a QR Code on a direct mailer, product packaging, or anything else you are being asked to print, ask the question, “Why is this code here? What is it supposed to accomplish? Where does it take people? What value will they get out of it?”

Something that simple could make the difference between the consumer scanning a QR Code in the future . . . or not.

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