QR Codes – Myth or Reality?

The world in 2012 is a multi-channel marketplace. Brands that fail to engage effectively with their audiences at point of need, across their chosen media, are missing out on a large commercial opportunity. There are a wealth of statistics to back up the story.

  • Customers who purchase from a store through multiple channels spend 14% more annually on average than their single-channel counterparts (JupiterResearch)
  • In some sectors these multi-channel customers are 25% to 50% more profitable than their single-channel equivalents (McKinsey & Company).

However, offering multiple channels for audience interaction doesn’t guarantee success. A 2010 report by NCR Corporation found that:

  • The vast majority of consumers prefer a seamless experience across channels

Without a consistent experience across all touch points the value of multi-channel is greatly diminished. More importantly, each touch a user has with a brand must add value.

Unfortunately it seems that brands are still struggling with how to implement these strategies effectively.

The big issue is that whilst the number of brands that offer the full suite of media is increasing, these media remain isolated from each other. This is partly because creating a single view of the customer presents hurdles, both in terms of cost and technology integration. However, there are lower-cost techniques and tools, which can help to transfer the user across channels and bind that experience together.

An example of this is QR codes. In theory they are simple to implement and to use and can be used across the full range of media. However it would appear QR codes are struggling to find their place in consumers’ hearts.

  • In the three months ending July 2011 only 5% of Americans who own mobile phones actually used QR codes (Forrester Research).

With 6.8% of all European web sales estimated to come from mobile phones in 2017 (Forrester Research), we wanted to see whether, if properly implemented, QR codes could be the magic bullet that brands should be using to help drive multi-channel sales.

Conversely are they being employed by marketers with no real thought beyond new technology and destined to be consigned as a fad, replaced as the next big thing?

In order to do this we undertook an online survey in summer ’12, as to individuals’ use of QR codes and mobile. This was followed up with a series of qualitative 1to1 interviews to tease out more detailed opinion based on a specific set of QR code campaigns.

Read the full report on Scribd


About the authors

Chris is an experienced User Experience Consultant with a focus on mobile, e-commerce and B2B applications. Working with clients such as HSBC, eBay, Vodafone and Aviva he has created user experiences that span multiple channels and help brands and users come together.

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Andy is an e-business strategist with over 20 years’ experience in the digital world, successfully developing the online offers of clients including New Look, Mothercare, Jaeger, Tesco, TUI, Royal Mail, Hobbs & Odeon. Andy’s expertise covers the planning, launch and management of new ecommerce ventures, online user experience development, site optimisation and web analytics consultancy.

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