QR code use is missing the point for consumers

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Though marketers love them, they’re not delivering what customers expect from them.

A QR code has become a fast favorite for brands and companies who are looking to step into mobile marketing and use a technique that is quick, versatile, and extremely inexpensive.

For the companies, these barcodes are great, except that they’re not using them right.

A new eMarketer study called “QR Codes: Marketers Keep Hitting Go, but Consumer Adoption Still Slow”, it shows that the percentage of consumers is increasing, but not as fast as it could. From 2011 to 2014, according to the report, the number of consumers that have scanned a QR code will rise from 25 to 27 percent. This will mean that almost 38.6 million adults will have used one.

When consumers scan a QR code, they want to receive something in return.

All too many brands are simply directing users to a regular mobile website when a QR code has been scanned. The study indicated that this is not what consumers are seeking when they take out their smartphones. Instead, they’re looking for opportunities for savings, offers, discounts, deals. What brands are offering is information.


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Unfortunately, this means that once many people have scanned a barcode and have been disappointed, they don’t go back to doing it again, said the study. A statement made by the company that conducted the research said that until the time comes that marketers step away from using the codes to push content at consumers and give them what they want, instead, those smartphone users will continue to avoid giving it a second try.

If the use of the QR code by mobile marketers is to be in any way successful, it needs to avoid that circumstance like the plague. Smartphone penetration is predicted to grow exceptionally rapidly (from 43.9 percent in 2011, to 58.3 percent in 2014). This creates a phenomenal opportunity for the use of these barcodes to explode alongside. That is, as long as it isn’t ruined before it gets off the ground.

Another study, performed by Mobio, an international mobile marketing and payments company, found that 60 percent of the smartphone users in North America who had scanned a QR code in 2011’s third quarter, never repeated the action after that first time. This trend will be reversed only if brands and companies start listening to consumers and giving them what they want.

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