Phy-gital Roundtable: Breakfast Roundup from Germany and Netherlands

02 May '15 | Debjyoti Paul

German Shoppers: Meet Them in the Fast Lane to Phy-gital

15 January '15 | Ralf Reich

Shoppers Will Share Personal Information (But They Don’t Want to be “Friends”)

15 January '15 | Anil Venkat

Modernize or Perish: Property and Casualty Insurers and IT Solutions

14 January '15 | Manesh Rajendran

Benelux Reaches the Phy-gital Tipping Point: Omnichannel Readiness is Crucial

13 January '15 | Anil Gandharve

The New Omnichannel Dynamic: Finding Core Principles Across Industries

13 January '15 | Debjyoti Paul

Technology does not disrupt business – CIO day 2014 Roundup

02 December '14 | Anshuman Singh

Apple Pay – The Best Is Yet To Come

02 December '14 | Indy Sawhney

Digital transformation is a business transformation enabled by technology

01 December '14 | Amit Varma

3 Stages of FATCA Testing and Quality Assurance

06 October '14 | Raman Suprajarama

3 Reasons why Apple Pay could dominate the payments space

18 September '14 | Gaurav Johri

Beacon of Hope: Serving Growth and Customer Satisfaction

05 August '14 | Debjyoti Paul

The Dos and Don’ts of Emerging Technologies Like iBeacon

30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

What You Sold Us On – eCommerce Award Finalist Selections

17 July '14 | Anshuman Singh

3 Steps to Getting Started with Microsoft Azure Cloud Services

04 June '14 | Koushik Ramani

8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

Innovation outsourced – a myth or a mirage or a truth staring at us?

13 January '14 | Ramesh Hosahalli

What does a mobile user want?

03 January '14 | Gopikrishna Aravindan

How to use QR Codes, or rather, how not to use QR codes!

Posted on: 23 June '11

A survey marking the number of smartphone users in the United States alone showed an astonishing figure of 69.5 million users by the end of February 2011! This number is going to increase exponentially and the proof is visible all around us. We find at least a couple of Smartphone users within our own friend circles and the others who don’t own one yet, always have an eye for the newer smartphones.

Along with smartphones, came in smarter things like QR codes. A QR Code is a 2 dimensional matrix code created by the Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The term ‘QR’ is derived from “Quick Response”. The creator’s intention was to create a code whose content could be read at high speeds.

QR code is in the limelight now and there is no denying the fact. In a horde to use this somehow or the other companies are breaking their head, day and night. QR codes are seen everywhere from outdoor hoardings to magazine covers. An example of how the importance of QR codes is growing:

Along with HTML5, QR codes will become a far more important part of the travel experience. These barcodes may soon be providing TV channel listings in hotels, in flight entertainment instructions on airplanes and itineraries on cruise ships.” – Ayan Banerjee, Senior Consultant, MindTree Ltd. Read the full article!

Locations in which US Smartphone Users have seen QR Codes, Feb 2011

The tool is quite simple to use – Point the camera towards the QR code and a built-in application will de-code the QR code to some form of data. This simplicity of the technology poses a lot of potential and appeals to the growing smartphone user segment.

Some of the direct uses of a QR code:

  • To initiate a browser session – This is the most abused one!
  • To display text
  • To initiate email transaction – An email can be initiated and even the message body can be populated
  • To initiate SMS transaction
  • To initiate audio/video streaming

A prevalent use by digital marketing companies is to replace the sexy looking advertisements with pale looking black-and-white QR codes. QR codes are designed to enhance the Mobile Experience of a user, but this should not be at the expense of ruining the physical appearances and experiences of the advertisement.

So, what could possibly happen if QR codes are used to replace advertisements? Most of the users who still don’t have a smartphone would struggle to understand what it is all about. Smartphone users without knowledge about QR codes would struggle to understand how to use it. Smartphone users who had enough of it, passed on the technology when they didn’t find it amusing anymore. As a result, marketing companies lost customers, who looked at that advertisement, and could have read on about it but moved on, since it was either not understandable or too boring! We can also observe that most of the marketing companies end up using the QR code as an alternative for people to click links leading to a common perception that QR codes are just a link to the main advertising page of a company.
Is this what the advertisers/marketers were looking for? I believe not.

Some golden rules to keep in mind when devising campaigns using QR codes:

  • Not everybody has a Smartphone
  • Every Smartphone user does not know how to use a QR code
  • Smartphone user who knows about QR code may be fed up of seeing them everywhere

Another key lesson for any marketer is to realize that QR code is not an alternative to a link. This has been over used and abused in all senses. It’s time that we think beyond this. Innovative use of these codes is the need of the hour which will enhance the mobile experience as a whole!



Mindtree Blog Archives

Mindtree blog Archives are a collection of blogs by various authors who have independently contributed as thought leaders in the past. We may or may not be in a position to get the authors to respond to your comments.

  • ramesh

    A very informative article.
    Thanks , its very useful for me. 🙂

  • Destiny

    Thank God! Someone with brains speaks!

  • Lavigne

    These topics are so confusing but this hlpeed me get the job done.