The Future of QR Codes. Will They Soon be a thing of the Past?

Within the past year, the popularity of QR codes have ramped up in recognition as technology increases and they are incorporated into packaging of products. Throughout our blog posts this year we have emphasized the use of QR codes in product promotions such as with General Mills and Budweiser. QR codes are great ways to for consumers to interact with products they love as well as presenting a way to simplify the lives of those who want to interact with their favorite brands.

Although many people are aware of QR codes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that these things were meant to last as once initially thought. Having been an owner of a smart phone for quite some time, I have yet to interact with a product via QR codes. This lack of interaction piggy-backs on the findings of a recent study by comScore, which states that only 14 million American mobile device users have actually interacted with a QR code. In essence, less than 5% of the American public has scanned a QR code.

There can be many reasons that American’s having fully utilized QR codes to their full potential though. Inadequate technology, lack of education, and a perceived lack of value from QR codes are just some of the reasons mobile barcodes are not clicking with Americans.

One finding suggests that as humans, we are very apt to be drawn in by visuals, as is the case with packaging. It may be hard for QR codes to get any sort of reaction or emotion out of us. Perhaps in the future there will an a more visually appealing alternative to the QR code that will spark more interest and positive responses to the consumers.

So, if QR codes aren’t meant to last, what will take its place? It sounds like a new technological development is starting to show up and it is called mobile visual search (MVS). With MVS, all you need to do is simply point at a product or a logo with your smartphone’s built-in camera and shoot a picture. Within a few seconds of snapping the picture, the MVS will provide company and product information, or it may even presne the option to make a purchase of the product using your mobile device. MVS is already being used around the world and is starting see MVS pop up. For example, companies in Argentina and South Korea currently allow commuters waiting for subways or buses to view images of groceries or office supplies.

Check out the following link: 10 Funniest QR Code Fails

Source: Mashable

Kung Fu and QR Codes

 

QR codes (quick response) are those black and white symbols that can be found on all types of packaging, print ads, and billboards. These codes provide a wealth of information such as text, websites, and other data that is embedded and decoded with a mobile device. All this mobile device needs is a camera and the down-loadable app and the information is unleashed. Usually QR codes are embedded with some type of promotional tool such as a contest, special offer, or an unique website. It is a great way for marketers to engage and attract consumers. These codes are designed to invite customers to participate, discover, share, save, and interact with brands.

Sun-Maid, the famous raisin brand, is utilizing QR codes to promote the animated movie by DreamWorks, Kung Fu Panda 2. Sun-maid has put these codes on their packaging to take customers to a special website where they have a chance to win a trip to Zoo Atlanta. Since entering the contest is as simple as having a mobile device, Sun-Maid hopes the number of entries will be high. They have also used Facebook to promote this contest as well. Sun-Maid brand designed their packaging with these QR codes in hope the special contest will entice consumers to buy their raisins. The packaging design also gets consumers engaged in the Sun-Maid brand as well as provides consumers a way to interact with the brand.

QR Codes Helping Promote Tofu

Small Planet Organics is an organic tofu producer that was established in 1976. They produce some of the finest, fresh, certified-organic tofu and organic ready-to-eat products. They try to make their tofu unique by infusing extraordinary flavors into their tofu. Some of the flavors they offer include: Garlic & Herb, Curry, and Sun-Dried Tomato.

Small Planet Organics is trying something new in the design of their packaging. They have announced that they will be integrating QR codes on their product labels by the end of the first quarter. These codes will help Small Planet Organics to give their customers more options to learn more. They will use QR codes to offer recipes, video tour of how they produce tofu, and coupons on next purchases. The goal for these codes will allow them to tell their story, reward current customers, and potentially attract new ones. The idea is for the QR codes to help Small Planet Organics directly connect with people and create a circle where customers and supporters can meet and interact with the Small Planet Organics family.

The Creative Side of QR Codes

QR codes are springing up everywhere you look. They are becoming a simple way for marketers to engage consumers. All a consumer needs is a mobile device with a camera and the ability to download the code reader application. With the amount of people owning a mobile device, marketers have vast amounts of people to reach. QR codes also allow marketers to unleash their creative side. These codes can lead a person anywhere a marketer wants. Whether the destination is to their website, a contest page, or even a separate page solely created just for the code, the possibilities are endless and creativity can really shine.

Need some creative ideas for your QR code? Here are some ways to add some spark to the black and white code:

* Link your business card to your Facebook profile, Twitter stream, or Linkdin account
* If you have t-shirts for your business, link from your t-shirt to you blog
* Link to a contest
* Link to a Google map that shows your location and provides directions and contact information
* Use ads to connect to mobile shopping
* Link clues to a treasure hunt to engage customers to become interested in your business
* Use a coupon to link to a special discount or sample/freebie
* Link to a product demonstration
* Use codes to link to fan forums, inventory, surveys, or mail in rebates
* Link to homepage to increase traffic on that website
* Link to a newsletter, press release, or promotions page
* Use a code on a printed catalog to link to an online catalog or an online store
* If you have a product that requires installation, link to how to videos or online manuals
* Link from a product to the product’s commercial

There are many ways to use QR codes.  See how many QR codes you see in a day, week, or month and look for how businesses are being creative using these codes.

It’s Not an Optical Illusion, It’s Mobile Marketing

Mobile tags (also known as 2D barcodes) are stepping out into the spotlight as the new way to engage customers.  What looks like an optical illusion is actually a barcode that is designed to attract the attention of customers, inviting them to try, discover, share, save, and interact with brands. These tags are apart of a new concept in marketing called mobile marketing.

There are two types of mobile tags: QR codes and MS tags:

A QR (quick response) code is a matrix barcode that consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on white background. These codes were created in Japan and used for tracking vehicle manufacturing. Now these codes are used in applications such as commercial tracking and convenience-oriented functions aimed at mobile users. The intention of this code is to allow its contents to be decoded at a high speed.

A MS (Microsoft) tag was created by Microsoft and features small, brightly colored triangles in geometric patterns. These tags were designed to work with the capabilities of a typical camera phone. MS tags can connect almost anything in the real world such as information, entertainment, and interactive experiences using a mobile phone.

So how do these tags work you ask? These codes can be found on products, posters, ads, packages, boxes, the list is endless. Using a mobile phone, download the application to read tags. When you see a tag, using the read tags application, point your camera at the tag, and within seconds the information will be unveiled. The tags are filled with encoded information and links, that when scanned by a mobile device, it is revealed to the customer. Tags can be linked to whatever the business wants a customer to know. Whether its their homepage, other related links, or a site specifically made for the tag, the capabilities of what these tags can do is limitless.

Why use these tags? The usage of smartphones are growing exponentially. 285 million Americans are mobile subscribers, which is 91% of the population. By integrating mobile usage and marketing, mobile marketing is becoming a great way for marketers to increase brand engagement and meet customer needs and expectations. Tags are able to be fully customizable to fit the individual needs of businesses. They also provide the ability to:

  • integrate print advertising with mobile devices
  • manage customer experience
  • measure campaign effectiveness
  • maintain brand identity
  • maximize information delivered

These tags allow offline pieces to connect with online experiences. The ability for marketers to customize these tags result in personalized interactions with customers via a mobile device. Mobile marketing will continue to grow as mobile usage does. Keep your eyes peeled for these tags and remember its not an optical illusion.