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QR codes on product packages still missing the mark

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QR codes cereal product packagingSome brands still fail to understand what consumers want from scanning a barcode.

It has become commonplace to see QR codes on many products throughout the grocery store shelves, but while marketers seem very keen to place the barcodes on package labels, they aren’t always focused on the benefit that their use will provide consumers.

Cereal boxes provide prime marketing real estate, but the barcodes placed upon them aren’t performing.

The problem isn’t that consumers don’t want to scan QR codes. Instead, it is that the barcodes that they do scan are providing disappointing results. For example, an Alpen (Wheatabix) product in the U.K. prominently features a black and white square on its package. It is an element of a coupon offer.

Scanning QR codes should provide engagement and a call to action.

While QR codes and discount coupons typically go hand in hand, in this case, scanning the barcode doesn’t provide the consumer with the discount opportunity and a call to action. Instead, it gives the smartphone user the terms and conditions of using the coupon. This not only misses the opportunity to encourage the consumer to actually use the discount and buy the product, but it also fails to engage the consumer with interesting information.

Though it is common for people to read their cereal boxes while they eat their breakfast in the morning, very few are interested in the terms and conditions of using a coupon. This not only disappoints the consumer in that specific instance, but it also discourages him or her from scanning QR codes that are seen on other products. At this early point in the use of this form of mobile marketing, that level of harm could be detrimental to its overall success.

Much better use of that opportunity may have been to allow smartphone users to scan the QR codes in order to obtain the mobile coupon which can then be used at the supermarket. After the coupon has been obtained, it could also provide access to a mobile optimized website with information about different products, videos, images, social network sharing options (particularly in the case of the coupon) and other material that an individual may want to view while eating his or her cereal in the morning.

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About Julie Campbell: Though her true passion is for writing her own fiction novel and holding fundraisers in support of the fight against cancer (as well as donating her hair to that cause in 2011), Julie has created both a name for herself and a successful business in the writing industry. For more than ten years, she has focused her career on capturing the latest technology news, which now includes a particular interest in QR codes and wearable technology.

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