So why did QR codes never really take off?

You’ve probably seen these little things all over the place.  From advertising posters (usually tucked in the bottom corner somewhere), the fashion industry have jumped on them and other industries use them for automation (airline industry etc).

In a consumer now driven world though I still don’t think they ever took off.  The main issue I see is two fold, firstly they require action but QR codes are not a decent call to action.  They require effort to scan and that leads on to the second problem…

You usually have to download an app in advance of scanning the barcode*.  

The downloading of an app is really where the problem starts. The iPhone never came with QR scanner as standard, it took effort.  With the original cameras the scanning was really hit and miss (on the 3G it still is).  

Advertising is built on the brain’s emotional switch on, “I want more information on *that* dress/guitar/gadget”.  QR codes do a good job of getting your brain to shift focus on a menial task and possibly putting you off the advertiser of said dress/guitar/gadget that you were looking at in t the first place.

Got something to say about these peksy codes? Feel free to leave a comment below.


2 responses to “So why did QR codes never really take off?”

  1. Depends if you think of QR Codes as marketing gimmick or as a way to exchange structured data. If I have a choice between entering a long URL against a relatively quick scan of a QR code then I will always choose the latter.

  2. Too true – whether we like it or not innovation needs to be as simple as ‘one click and you are done’ for busy / lazy people.A timely reminder of the importance of time.Peter

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