By now we’ve all seen those square computer generated codes that appear in ads, posters, direct mail etc. Some don’t yet know what they are, or their capabilities. Are they a good thing? Can they create interest and engagement? I think that if used properly they can bridge the chasm between print media and the on-line world. The advent of QR, or Quick Response codes should make the print industry giddy with joy!

The first obstacle & huge issue the mainstream use of QR codes faces is that the user must have the free reader app on their smart phone. I’ve seen people point their phones at the codes and say they don’t work; not realizing that they must have the reader. The second issue is the incorrect use of the media. I had a perspective client tell me that they tried them and that beyond the esthetic of the code they found that it got them very little feedback. I asked them where the code drove users and the reply was “to our home page.” It’s called Quick Response for a reason! The lesson to be learned is that regardless of the media used the code that appears must drive users to a dedicated landing page talking directly to the reason the ad or promo piece was produced in the first place. An example would be as simple as an article of clothing in a magazine ad. After scanning the code the user should be driven to a dedicated landing page with information about that piece of clothing, fabric content, color, sizing ranges with the ability to purchase (which is a great way of harvesting database information). By driving that same user to a home page they must then search the website for the garment, taking several clicks to find what they were looking for…. taking the quick out of the response.

A great example of how QR codes can be used in an effective way can be found with a Korean grocery chain called Home plus. They went from number 2 in their market to number 1 by revolutionizing the grocery shopping experience for Koreans while they are traveling to work at their local subway station…. VERY COOL! Click on the YouTube video clip to see their story…… so interesting. In a time strapped and over-busy society, this fascinating experiment to create virtual stores in their local subway stations seems to have worked. <a href=”” target=”_blank”></a>

What do you think? Have you come up against the same obstacles? Do you have examples of positive uses for QR codes to share?