When QR (Quick Response) codes were first designed, the marketing industry seemed to believe that this was going to be a great new tool to help draw consumers to their website, products and offers.
However, it now appears that QR codes were perhaps somewhat of a fad? These clever little codes were everywhere when first released but they are now not so popular? Has the QR craze ended for good or do these codes still have a place as a marketing tool?
Well although you may believe that QR codes are a relatively new technology, you would be wrong. First invented in 1994 in Japan, QR codes have been in use for some time yet we only discovered them in the last five years. The idea behind the codes makes perfect sense and in all honesty, on paper it looks like a great way to link potential consumers to your website with little or no hassle.
So what went wrong?
Well perhaps most importantly, the technology was not embraced as it should have been. In order to use a QR code, you need to have a smart phone that has the compatible software. However, many mobile manufacturers including Android and Apple chose not to manufacture their phones with a QR reader already programmed, a confusing fact considering that between the two they account for 87.6 % of all mobiles sold. This has meant that consumers have had to find and download the relevant software and often at a cost. This is possibly why consumers have been so reluctant to embrace their existence.
Possibly even more frustrating was the misuse of the codes. Marketers went wild for the idea but never really thought the process through. As mobile smart phones are used to access the linked sites, they really ought to have been mobile friendly websites but for the majority this was not the case. The links all too often took consumers to a website they could not view let alone actively use! This irritated consumers to say the least.
What does the future hold for QR codes?
Perhaps it is unfair to say that QR codes are completely done with. For some industry sectors they are proving a helpful tool to those who have the software. For example, estate agents are now posting QR codes on for sale sign boards in order for potential buyers to be able to view all the property details on the spot. This is a perfect example of a QR code being used correctly, with a mobile friendly site, the system works well.
Unfortunately, the majority of the technology required to make this idea a true success is not quite there yet, perhaps it never will be. After all, UK consumers are not renowned for trying something again after it has already been an epic fail.
Image Credit: C_osett