When the QR (Quick Response) codes first became available for smartphones, it seemed to be the new big thing so companies went along with the trend by incorporating the 2D codes into their marketing strategies. The black and white squares quickly became ubiquitous. However, today people don’t seem to notice the codes anymore, and the QR interest and excitement seem to be fading away.
What happened to the QR code?
The reason to the rapidly decreasing user engagement is very likely connected to the fact that QR codes aren’t so ‘quick’ after all. Furthermore, the reward you get from scanning a QR code doesn’t measure up to the efforts of scanning the code or meet the expectations of where the code will take you. If going through the trouble of scanning a code merely leads you to a brand’s website, then there isn’t much in it for the user and the QR code doesn’t lead to any actual engagement. In my opinion, this is the most important reason why QR-codes are now regarded tedious to most users.
However, we might haven’t seen the end of QR codes yet. Many companies have recently tried to find new ways of using the QR codes to engage with their users and to arouse their curiosity yet again. Here are two examples of how companies have managed to create actual interaction with their users and thus succeeded in adding more value to the brand through the use of the QR codes.
Emart SunnySale Campaign
The Korean retail chain Emart launched a campaign to increase their sales during lunchtime between 12pm and 1pm, as their sales decreased drastically during this hour. Their solution to the problem was to build a sundial with the shape of a QR code. The code would only be readable during this exact hour, where the sun was in the right position for scanning the code. The event, called ‘SunnySale’, made it possible to create a unique shopping experience for the users, who also received special offers such as a $12 coupon to use on the company’s mobile webshop.
This resulted in a 25% increase in sales during the lunch hour, and the number of members increased by 58% in one month.
Spanish railway company offers download for their passengers
The Spanish railway company, Ferrocarrils de la Generalitat de Catalunya, gives away the first chapter of 40 novels to their passengers in collaboration with the book publisher Random House. The downloads are offered through posters with QR codes for each book with the aim to encourage the passengers to read in the train and thus promote literacy.
So, as a brand you might want to give the QR codes another chance – but in order to generate actual value for your users, you need to create new interactional initiatives like these to give users better rewards and user experience than just opening your company’s website.
Do you have any best practice examples of companies using QR codes?