Let’s start by reviewing all the usual reasons naysayers and skeptics think QR codes will actually fail and never really catch on the United States.
1. Too much work: first you have to download an app that scans the codes and then actually scan the code. Wouldn’t it be easier to just Google a business name or type in the URL into your smartphone browser?
2. There is too much variation in the codes: that app you just spent valuable time downloading may not work on every QR code. Then what?
3. It seems silly: I mean, what’s the point? If you scan the code and it only takes the user to the business’ usual website or Facebook Fan page, it just seems like a big let down.
4. It’s just a fad: Some businesses seem to be using QR codes just because it is the “cool” mobile trend at the moment.
5. It seems foreign: Plenty of users don’t even know what a QR code is yet. Moreover, some of them don’t care to learn.
So let’s take a step back and review exactly what is a QR code? QR stands for Quick Response. The codes were created almost two decades ago in Japan by a Toyota subsidiary. They look like an out-of-focus photo of a chess board, but most smartphones can read them just fine. Users are supposed to engage with QR codes by scanning them “quickly” (hence the name) using their smartphone and then seeing where it leads them.
So keeping in mind the above barries to adoption stated above, let’s now talk about why QR Codes are worth it and how they can work for businesses.
1. They are free and easy to add to marketing efforts. A variety of web companies, including Google, offer free QR code generators that are simple to use. They also allow easy tracking, so it’s very easy for business to measure their effectiveness.
2. You can’t miss them. QR codes jump off the page and they are great way for businesses to insert additional information into traditional print advertising.
3. They drive traffic to websites. For brick and mortar businesses especially, a step as simple as posting a QR code in your storefront window can easily increase traffic to your website.
4. They provide a unique opportunity to drive customer loyalty. How do you reward customers who do bother to scan the code? It’s simple: create a hidden page on your website that customers can only access with the QR code which features special coupons or discounts. It’s an easy to reward your most loyal and curious customers or clients.
5. QR codes may just be here to stay. More and more large brands, like Macy’s, and traditional print media outlets, like Entertainment Weekly, are putting QR codes to work. The visibility created by these respected and popular players will eventually help to encourage more and more Americans to start using QR codes.