QR codes – don’t believe the hype

Growing up it was Pokemon cards, in my early teens it was the constant use of MySpace and now, the latest trend to be hyped into oblivion, is QR codes.

QR codes or quick response codes are the square barcodes that can be read by QR code scanners and smart phone cameras. They have been plastered on everything from billboards and magazines to business cards and t-shirts.

On the tube you can often see confused tech nerds hovering their smartphones over them for ages while elder businessman barge past scratching their heads. These ugly black and white codes are a thing of the past and here are five reasons why.

No one understands them

The majority of consumers simply don't know what a QR code is; they aren't even sure what app they need to be able to read one. Even if you do search for 'QR code scanner' in the app store, you're greeted by a never-ending list of options, there's no clear app to use and all this just confuses people more.

They are too much effort

QR codes require engagement from a potential customer. If they see a QR code on a product or an advert, they have to download and install an app, take a picture of the code then scroll through the website to find out more. In today's world people want speed and clever technologies to save them the most valuable commodity, time. Unfortunately, QR codes leave you standing still waiting for a screen to load for too long.

No one wants to read loads of information on
a tiny screen

QR codes are meant to help you find more information about a product or service. However, if you want to delve deeper into something before purchasing it - if you really want to know the details - then you're more likely to research at home, on you computer. Not when you're out an about and having to thumb around on your smartphone.

QR codes rely on a good Wi-Fi or 3G connection

For a QR code to take you from the maze of black and white squares to a website promoting a product, it needs a good internet connection. This is a problem because there are times when the mobile internet is really slow, doesn't work or makes a website look bad if it isn't mobile friendly. There's also the problem of QR codes being displayed in places where there's no internet - I refer back to the confused people wondering why their QR code scanner isn't working on the tube.

One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch

In the marketing rush to have a QR code promoting products there were a lot of poor codes slapped around. Some of them didn't scan properly and of the ones that did, some took the customer through to a bad website or linked to something they weren't interested in. These bad experiences have put people off and left the QR code redundant.

For more articles by Michael Ruffles, click here.

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