QR Codes: One in Five Consumers Can’t Be Wrong

You might call them ugly. But pretty or not, those little squares are nearly everywhere—on business cards, in magazine ads, on billboards, and even websites. And while only one in four people know what they are actually called, nearly everyone you ask has seen them.

The big questions have always been:

  • How effective are QR codes?
  • Are people using QR codes?
  • What are they looking for when they scan a QR code?

Well, I have some answers for you.

The majority (57 percent) of people did…absolutely nothing after they scanned a QR code. But that is only one interesting highlight from a recent “Consumer Pulse” study conducted by Chadwick Martin Bailey (CMB) and iModerate Research Technologies.

Here are three additional revealing stats from the more than 1,200 U.S. consumers who participated in the study:

  • 41 percent reported that the information they received was useful,
  • 21 percent shared the information with someone, and
  • 18 percent (yep, nearly one in five) made a purchase.

“Consumers are curious about QR codes and the information they can get,” notes Jeff McKenna, senior consultant at CMB. “But companies need to understand what consumers expect from a scan—whether it’s more information, a coupon, or an exclusive offer. Companies that use QR codes successfully to drive engagement or sales will be those that meet customer expectations and offer compelling reasons to scan.”

The Compelling Reason
If you want a person to scan your QR code, the key is to make clear “what’s in it for them.” Whether that’s a special offer, additional insider information, or something else, it has to be something they care about. And that shouldn’t come as a surprise to any savvy marketer. The QR code is no different than any call to action.

With nearly 20 percent of QR code scanners making a purchase, you have a very compelling reason to enhance your QR codes with the kinds of benefits that encourage clients to scan them.

Sabine Lenz is the founder of PaperSpecs.com, the first online paper database and community specifically designed for paper specifiers.

Growing up in Germany, Sabine started her design career in Frankfurt, before moving to Australia and then the United States. She has worked on design projects ranging from corporate identities to major road shows and product launches. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, her list of clients included Oracle, Sun Microsystems, Deutsche Bank, IBM and KPMG.

Seeing designers struggle worldwide to stay current with new papers and paper trends inspired Sabine to create PaperSpecs, an independent and comprehensive Web-based paper database and weekly e-newsletter. She is also a speaker on paper issues and the paper industry. Some refer to her lovingly as the "paper queen" who combines her passion for this wonderful substrate called paper with a hands-on approach to sharing her knowledge. 

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  • Cathlyn

    Those black and white squares are popping up everywhere, but a lot of business owners are still questioning the effectiveness of QR codes. Sure, they can easily capture people’s attention and communicate important details if used properly, but I think they should not be used as a standalone business strategy rather only as a tool to support a business strategy. Like you said, the key is to let your customers know “what’s in it for them”. Read this if you want to know more about how QR codes can increase customer interaction: http://blog.printplace.com/printed-media-qr-codes-increased-customer-interaction/