QR Decoded

Posted by on Mar 9, 2011 in ComLead, Integrated Marketing Communication

I started my inquiry into the QR code when I started to see it on the doors of the Communication Studies Dept. at Canisius, then one at the mall, and now I have made one for this blog. With an app on your iPhone or Blackberry, you can scan this barcode and it connects the user to information, websites, assists with point-of-sale transactions and more. Really, the sky is the limit. The implications for what this code means for marketers is exciting, and relatively new.

qrcode

ComLead QR code

The QR code was created in Japan, where widespread adoption has occurred since it was developed by Denso Wave in 1994.  It can carry significantly more data than a regular bar code and it is readable in any direction. The ease in which it grants access to information will allow instantaneous engagement with a consumer.  What does the customer need in order to use it? An app and an incentive.

QR readers such as Bakodo and RedLaser are free to download and easy to use. The adoption of the technology will be driven by the desire for instant access to discounts or content. It has been extremely successful in Japan and use in the United States has exploded in the past few months.  According to i-nigma, in the US the usage of barcode technology grew by 126.1% in the past two months.

Companies are using this technology in a myriad of ways. In January, Starbucks introduced an app in which the customer can scan the barcode on the counter and use their smartphone to make their purchase.  Another example is the annual SXSW music and interactive film festival. SXSW uses QR codes on the badges of conference attendees for quick exchanges of information and networking. Although the uses are vast, it has taken the United States more time to adopt this technology than other parts of the world. Many are claiming that 2011 will be the breakout year for the QR code. As for now, early adopters have the advantage of learning and refining their use of this extremely cool device.

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