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QR Codes. Good Idea. Poor Delivery.

Back in 2012, eMarketer delivered a report titled, “QR Codes: Marketers Keep Hitting ‘Go,’ but Consumer Adoption Still Slow”. The key takeaways in the report were:

  • Marketers’ use of mobile barcodes is only getting stronger, even though consumer interest in mobile barcodes has plateaued, with little indication of new audience interest on the horizon.
  • Poorly aligned consumer-brand expectations for mobile barcode-linked content and inadequate user experiences are driving consumers away from mobile barcode use.
  • Larger shifts in industry and mobile technologies may also whittle down mobile barcodes’ already lean repeat-user base.

All good takeaways. But to me, the most eye catching comment in the summary of the report was, “What consumers want from their 2-D barcode experience and what brands deliver are typically at odds. Consumers want deals and discounts. Brands want to deliver information.”

To back that comment up, in 2014, I discovered a report from ExactTarget that proved this to be true when they tracked and surveyed 470 voluntary consumers for a month. Here were the results when it came to QR code usage:

The #1 reason consumers used scanned coupons or QR codes was to get coupons or deals (69%). The #1 reason consumers didn’t use scanned coupons or QR codes was that they don’t find additional information helpful (41%).

eMarketer nailed it with their report summary two years before the ExactTarget study even came out! Yet here we are in 2015 and brands are still pushing out QR codes to do what? Deliver information, instead of coupons or deals.

It’s no surprise then that consumers have developed “QR code blindness” over the years. They’ve been duped! They’ve been wanting incentives for taking the effort to interact with a brand and what did they get in return? Broken links and web sites that aren’t even mobile optimized. “No coupon. No discount. No deal. Happy Birthday. But hey, keep following us!”

What does this tell us about brands and their attention to detail when it comes to earning potential customers? It says that brands aren’t doing the best job of understanding their consumers. In this day in age of big data where we have massive amounts of user data, brands are still missing consumers’ basic wants. In this day in age of social media, like Twitter, where our consumers are literally screaming at us, brands are still missing consumers’ basic needs.

At SimpleSavr, we believe QR codes for marketing ARE a good idea. But only when they cater to a consumer’s wants and are delivered in a useful format. Not delivered on a billboard off the freeway, or in a subway tunnel, or on the bottom of a fast food cup where nobody will scan them. And we won’t be offering QR codes that take you to broken links or a web site with a bunch of useless information that isn’t even optimized for your phone. We plan on offering QR codes that deliver what consumers want….coupons and deals.

To learn more about SimpleSavr, visit our website and take a look at how we’re bringing value to the QR code for consumers:

“QR codes aren’t dead. They were just waiting patiently for SimpleSavr to come and save them.”