Director of Marketing
As part of Widgetbox's new staff series—we'll be bringing you occasional guest posts from members of the Widgetbox team.
Sure QR (quick response) codes have been around for years, but they are only now starting to gain traction. Forget the old way of sharing your URL or web app with customers. The rapid expansion of smartphones in the US is creating new ways of distributing information. While QR codes and scanners have been used in Japan and other countries for years, QR code scanner software (which act similar to UPC scanner apps on mobile phones) is finally making it possible for US smartphone users to view a QR code via their camera.
Scan this QR code to see Widgetbox’s mobile site in action!
So why use a QR code in the first place? Instead of showcasing a website, web app, video, or micro site with a URL and making customer’s type in the address, they can now just scan a code and be taken there in seconds. This could put a product demo in a customer’s hand instantaneously. Other QR codes allow for customers to automatically “like” or become a “fan” of a product on Facebook by simply scanning the code (either by downloading a QR scanner or using the camera on some mobile phones). Your customer engagement rates have the potential to instantly skyrocket as customers can now review or demo your product or website, retrieve coupons, or write reviews with an easy scan.
Sounds great right? Well there are a few cons of using QR codes. Some people believe that vanity URLs or URL shorteners are less clunky than using and installing a QR code reader. Also, QR codes need to be generated using an external service (although many of these services are free). Google recently announced their URL shorteners also contain QR code features, which allow companies to easily generate a QR for their site at the same time as they create a shortner. While many notable companies and events have begun to use QR codes as part of their marketing campaigns, critical mass customer adoption has yet to catch on due to the smartphone requirement.
Given the increasing adoption of mobile phones combined with the need for marketers to reach customers in new and innovative ways, it is only a matter of time before the QR code finally crosses the chasm. Here are a few examples of interesting ways to use a QR code in marketing: The Pet Shop Boys used a QR for artwork on their new single, SXSW Issued QR codes on badges to uniquely identify customers, Tim Burton used a QR as promotional materials for his film 9.
Do you think QR codes will achieve mainstream adoption?
—When Kelly isn’t pondering the future of QR codes, she enjoys reading about technology, playing tennis, and planning her next travel adventure.