If you are into the whole QR code thing, you probably have noticed that everyone you have seen is static. Red Bee Media has created an animated QR Code for “The Fades” showing on BBC 3 in the UK. The QR code allows for both live action footage and animation before closing on the final image. What is cool is you can scan the code at anytime the animation is playing and be taken directly to a microsite promoting the show.
QR Codes are nothing new. The things have been around since 1994, but in the last year they seem to have exploded with the proliferation of smartphones with cameras. These days you can’t go a day without seeing one it seems like, but the cold hard fact is six out of ten Americans don’t know what they are, and the number is about the same for people who will actually scan them. None the less marketers and advertisers continue to develop and roll out QR codes right and left. In the graphic below there were three things that reinforced my opinion about QR codes, their use, and their possible future.
- 6 out of 10 don’t know what they are.
- Almost 60% are found in retail locations and or magazines
- 87% of the people who do scan them expect a coupon when the associated site launches.
if you put this together it’s not what I would call a winning formula. It basically means that you are expecting 29% of your target audience to take a phone out while shopping, pick up an item, launch the QR reader on their phone, point it at the code, then save a digital coupon. You are also expecting the cashier to know what to do with the coupon when it is presented. The same thing is true with people seeing these in a magazine. You are expecting the reader to stop reading, get their phone, fire up the software, scan the code, and execute on what ever your QR code serves up. That is provided your audience isn’t one of the six out of ten that have no clue about what your QR code is.
Right now there are to many steps, and too much confusion about what QR codes are and how to effectively use them. This is why I keep thinking that they are short lived and will be eclipsed by better technology in the near future. Smartphone adoption has helped generate buzz about them, and I know QR codes are here to stay. I’m just not all that convinced they are going to give you any ROI that is worth your time.
The infographic below is from SystemID. if you scan the QR code at the bottom of the image you will be taken to their mobile site where there is even more info on QR codes and what you can do with them.
I came across this video on YouTube today and was blown away by the figures at the end of it. This is a great example of integrating an online shopping experience with a traditional bricks and mortar brand.
Tesco, the second largest supermarket chain in South Korea wanted to move to the number one slot without adding any additional stores. Knowing that the Koreans are the 2nd most hard-working country in the world and where grocery shopping once a week is a dreaded task.
Cheil in Seoul, Korea. Tesco did two things, they changed their name to the much more inviting “Homeplus”, and developed a life like shopping experience for busy commuters with virtual stores located in areas like subway terminals. The result was a much more convenient way to shop for busy people, always on the go. The virtual stores blend a mobile based shopping experience into people’s everyday lives at common locations.
The virtual store displays are exactly the same as actual stores using life sized images designed to mirror the familiar setting of the Homeplus store itself.The one thing that was added to the images, were QR codes for each product on the shelf. Users simply scanned a QR code with their phone, and the product automatically loads to their online shopping cart. When the online purchase is complete the products are then boxed and delivered to the customer’s door the same day.
In the four months that followed after this campaign launched in November of 2010, online sales increased dramatically with 10,287 consumers visited the online Homeplus mall using smartphones. The number of new registered members rose by 76%, and on-line sales increased 130%. Currently, Homeplus has become No.1 in online market and is a very close 2nd offline.