Recently, due to the rise of the smart phone users, many marketers are beginning to jump onto the QR code bandwagon in order to take advantage of this group of new-age consumers. Being a brand with its unique QR code makes the brand looks trendy and keeping up with the time, it seems like having a QR code is a must have for all marketers and branding managers.
However, in my opinion, QR code may not be that great even with today’s new age consumers due to these reasons.
1) Too Troublesome
In order to check out the QR code, one has to get a smartphone with a camera. Download a QR scanner, scan and take a picture of the QR code and then ‘VOILA!’ you can finally see the promotion and ad messages behind this code!.
The question is why take the trouble to do all these in the first place.
2) Psst… it’s a Secret
QR codes are secretive and totally lack of openness and transparency. Imagine you are going to a shop to buy some jeans. When you reach that shop, the doors are shut and you can’t see anything inside the shop as the walls are painted all black. And then you saw a message at the door that reads, “says these 4 secret words so that you can come into this shop”. Would you want to come to this ‘mystery’ shop with no idea what’s inside?
Well, QR codes works ‘secretly’. Well it does give an element of surprise, however at the same time, it also creates a cloud of doubt for your potential consumer on your brand as well. So why the mystery?
3) Many Brands Are Doing That, It’s Nothing Special
Well, when QR first started, it does aroused much curiosity among consumers especially when they want to find out how QR codes work for the first time. However, when more and more businesses and brands are doing that, consumers are beginning to feel that QR codes are just like any massive interrupting advertising messages. Hence eventually when the frenzy dies down, the QR code advertising will no longer special to the consumer anymore.
4) Creating a Difficult New Habit for Consumers
QR code creates a new kind of habit for consumers to view promotions and changes the way one looks at advertisement. The question here is, will the consumers able to be accustomed to such new habit?
In other words, the marketer need to ask “Does this habit simplify one’s life or making someone’s life more difficult?” “Does the consumer prefers to see the advertisement and ad message straightforwardly or the consumer prefer to go through the hassle of scanning, taking picture and then view the ad?”
Smartphones, unlike QR codes, is considered an easy switch for the new age consumer because of the fact that people are already used to getting information via the Internet through computers, and smart phones just make one able to access the internet and get information faster and easier even on the move. Therefore, it is an easy switch of habit with the same yet improved main purpose that is access the internet.
However, the purpose of QR code is different. It is to encourage people to view advertisement in a new, difficult and indirect way hence making it a difficult habit switch such that people need time to adapt and accept.
5) What About Smartphones Without Cameras?
QR codes work with people who have smartphones with camera. What about people who do not have smartphones or people with smart phones that does not have the camera function? These groups of people can also be your buying consumers; hence if you focus too much on QR codes branding, you might lose out some potential clients along the way.
Consumers without camera functioned smart phones may also feel that your brand is unfair towards them. Why can’t they enjoy the same benefits of your brand just because they don’t have a smart phone with camera?
6) Wait a Minute, I am Trying to Scan this Code!
People receive tons of marketing messages all day. Now, they have one more QR code to entertain. QR code is a good innovation however it creates too many points of contact between the consumer and the brand.
The less the point of contact between the consumer and the brand, the better. The best marketing or branding messages is something that one sees and immediately register that brand in their minds right away. Vice versa, when there is more point of contacts and steps to do in order to receive the marketing messages, people would simply ignore it.
Your consumer has no time to follow your instructions step by step in order to see your ad message. If this is true, you would be seeing this as an everyday phenomena that people would crowd around an ad poster in your train station trying their best to scan the QR code. It’ll never happen. Hence, don’t beat around the bush, you got to tell your consumer straight.
In summary, QR codes are good additional marketing tools for your brand but do not have to focus too much energy and time on it. However, you can still test it to see if it works or don’t work for your business since this is something new and trendy since everybody is doing it.