QR codes are making a comeback, and I've been on high alert for them in my daily life. Which is why I decided to do a little experiment: when I updated my iPhone's software to iOS 11 (which includes QR scanning capabilities in the native camera), I set out to scan every QR code I came across. Here's what I found, and my thoughts on the good, the bad, and my suggestions for ways brand can improve the content they put behind those scannable squares:
Out for Lunch
I decided to grab a quick bite to eat at Noodles & Co. and found myself face to face with my first QR code of the day.
The Good: The code worked! It took me to an online ordering page on the Noodles & Co. website.
The Bad: Why would I ned to access the online ordering page if I'm already in the store? I'm left feeling a little upset that I didn't know about the "skip the line" feature...before I was in line.
My Suggestion: Using QR codes to engage people in-store is a phenomenal way to engage customers while they wait for food or service, however in order for content to be engaging to people in-store, it should probably focus on their in-store experience, not a later experience (in this case, ordering food ahead of time.)
"Have You Listened to This Playlist?"
Later at the office, I was chatting with one of our Customer Success Managers, Lauren, and she mentioned that she found an amazing Spotify playlist that was helping her power through some of her afternoon tasks. I asked her what the name of the playlist was, ready to search for it on my own, when she said, "Wait! Just scan here..."
Wait...is this a QR code?, I thought to myself. Let's go through the checklist: scannable? Check! Directs the user to a landing page? Got it! Although taking on a different form, yes, this is an example of QR code technology.
The Good: Pretty much everything about it. When sharing functionalities are integrated into mobile platforms via QR codes, there's inherently going to be an increase in adoption because users are already pulling out their phones to use the platform in the first place. And in this case, the simple scan is saving me multiple steps (searching for the playlist by name, finding the correct playlist among the multiple playlists that the search pulls up, adding it to my library, etc.). Dare I say, this is a nearly perfect example of seamlessly integration QR codes into daily tasks!
A Trip to the Store
After running a couple of 5K races this summer (most of which were with some Lumavate coworkers!), I quickly realized that I was in desperate need of a running shoe replacement., so I took some time after work to visit a local running shoe store and shop around. I picked out a new pair of shoes and socks and sure enough, right there on the sock's packaging...
The Good: The code worked! And it brought me to a mobile-friendly webpage–a must since QR codes are always scanned on mobile.
The Bad: The code led me to a "Shop" page on the brand's website, which would usually be helpful...except that I just bought this pair of socks, and the odds of me re-upping for another pair before I've even tried this one out are pretty slim.
My Suggestion: I would have been so much more likely to engage with this brand and consider repurchase if this QR code led me to a relevant post-purchase experience. For example, what if it led me to a mobile-friendly experience that allowed me to explore running trails based on my location? Or what if the QR code prompted a video about a brand initiative that would compel me to sign up for their email updates? There are numerous ways for brands to promote repurchase without ever having to direct people to the "Shop" page (especially those who just purchased!).
All in all, I learned a few things in my day of leaving no QR code unscanned. Here are my three takeaways for brands that are thinking about implementing this scannable tech:
Be aware of where QR codes will be displayed, and tailor content to that moment
Integrating scan-to-share capabilities into mobile platforms (think: Spotify, Snapchat) is a sure fire way to increase adoption
QR codes are always scanned on mobile, which means your landing page should not only work on mobile, but be tailored for mobile
Create digital experiences for every touchpoint in the customer journey from product packaging to product registration to onboarding to customer support and so much more. What do you want to create first?