QR codes were developed in Japan and are already very popular in that country. They have also struck a cord with consumers in South Korea. However, both the European and U.S. markets have struggled to adopt the technology.
Initially, there don’t seem to be any clear reasons for that, but when you take a closer look at how we behave as consumers, then you can start to realise why QR codes perform differently in various countries.
Firstly, both the Japanese and South Korean markets are much more technologically advanced than their European or North American counterparts. Because QR codes require consumers to own a smartphone with a special app installed to read it, it does make sense
that a more tech-savvy society people will be more at ease with such developments. Unfortunately, apart from some pockets, neither the UK nor U.S. consumers seem to be on the same level of technological advancement at the moment.
When it comes to sales and marketing consumers need to be able to quickly and easily understand the message being communicated to them. If marketers use technology which people are not used to, then these messages will be lost. The novelty factor can often
help, but it seems right now that there is too little understanding and familiarity with QR codes in the western world, which is hampering their impact.
Another issue is the time it takes marketers and company decision makers to actually implement the codes. Unless several brands start adopting them on a large scale, the consumers will not get exposed to them and the idea will simply not reach its potential.
Retailers also have a big part to play in this. In the U.S. some of the biggest shopping chains are experimenting with the codes, which will surely be helpful to both their staff members as well as shoppers. But we are yet to see how much of an impact this
practice will have.
QR codes can be used for a variety of purposes. Some companies try to use them as a link between their physical stores and websites; others employ them to allow consumers to find out more details about individual products and promotions. They are also widely
utilized as carriers of people’s contact details, as replacements of or an addition to business cards.
It is also possible to customise each code by incorporating into it a brand logo or anything else that can make it look distinctive, which is yet another appealing feature.
The potential is clearly there for QR codes to become a powerful marketing weapon, but that is often not enough. It seems right now that unless a brand comes up with a campaign which uses the codes and becomes really successful, then the initial promise
may never materialise on our shores.