3 stupid reasons why QR Codes fail
It is the year 2015, more than 20 years since the first QR Codes showed up, and 10 years since Kaywa brought them to the West and we still have the same issues.
It looks weird that mobile phones advanced so much during the last several years, but, on the other hand, there is not so much progress on the mobile web. It is hard for me to still see the same old mistakes (Mashable, Forbes) with non-optimized content, wrong placement and without any hint why should I scan it.
Here is a list of the most common mistakes and tips how to avoid them.
#1 Non-scannable QR Codes
The first action that you want from your customer is to scan your QR Code. That is the first point of interaction. If he can’t scan it, it is useless. There are various reasons why this could happen but from my experience the most common is QR Code placement.
I saw so many times QR Codes on a billboard near the highway, which you can scan only if you stop your car and approach really close, so it isn’t the best position, right?
Some stores would like to be “modern” so they add QR codes, but they place them near the floor. So you would have to lay down on the floor to scan. Would you do that? Neither would I.
It can also happen that because of the shape of the product, and glossy material on which the QR Code is printed, there is no way to scan it. This is especially common with bottles and cans.
Use common sense, I know you have it. 😉 Would you be able to scan your QR Code? So, always test your QR Codes before you publish them to the market. If you want to have a QR Code in the store, then the height should be at a level which is easy for an average customer to scan it with his device. If you want to put a QR Code on the billboard near highway… please just don’t do that.
#2 Why should I scan it
So you managed to put the QR Code on the right place, congrats! But why should I scan it? If you don’t tell me what is behind QR Code I have no reason to use it. It is not enough just to place a QR Code on the print material and hope that someone will use it. The truth is, the most of the people won’t!
A simple explanation would be enough. If that QR Code leads to your Facebook page, then tell it e.g. “Scan to like our Facebook page”. If it leads to your video guide, please tell me and I will scan it if I need it e.g. “Scan to get short video guide”. It isn’t hard, but it means a lot to your users.
#3 Non-optimized mobile content
You have a scannable QR Code with the short explanation. Awesome! Now everyone knows why they should scan it. But it leads to a heavy desktop web page. Really? If I need two minutes to load your page I will go to another place. I don’t want to waste my time. Would you wait for the content? Would you scan another QR Code from the same brand? I don’t think so.
Always link QR Code to the mobile optimized content. If your web page can’t be displayed correctly on the mobile phone, use free services to build your mobile optimized mobile page. Customer experience is critical, and if your customer thinks that you don’t value them enough to offer them a good experience with something simple as a mobile optimized content, then it undermine your brand value. It really shows how much you care about them.
#Bonus What about learnings?
You accomplished previous 3 tasks without a problem. Congrats! You are on the right track. So you have many happy customers who you saw scanning your QR Codes. So your manager ask you “Can you please give me some insights about our QR Code campaign, should we do it again?” And you have no idea what to tell him, you don’t have any data. You know there was many people scanning QR Codes in the store, but you made simple Static QR Codes, and you can’t tell in your Google Analytics account who came to your great mobile page through the email campaign, who scanned the QR Code… You see the problem?
Without tracking data, you can’t get any insights. It is crucial that you use some kind of tracking platform. Here is one great QR code tracking solution. But even if you use another one, prepare your questions, so you know what data you need. Is it just a number of scans? Maybe it is important for you also to know the exact location of each scan? Device? Just maybe.
What would you add?
Is there something you would like to add? Great! Let’s discuss it!