The use of QR codes in advertisements continues unabated. We came across three of them on a single day recently. As you can see below, there’s one from the leading Indian retailer SHOPPERS STOP, another from THE BODY SHOP, the UK-headquartered multinational that is the global leader in ethically produced beauty products, and the third one from the leading IT magazine DATAQUEST.
Our own experience mirrors the growing trend of QR code usage. We’re currently developing a SmartResponse QR code product called QR360. Although it’s still in the pre-launch stage, we’re receiving a lot of inquiries for QR360.
Having said that, the awareness of QR codes among consumers still has a long way to go. As a matter of fact, we’ve noticed that even the adoption of smartphones – which are required to scan QR codes – has a lot of ground to cover before we can consider them mainstream.
At the same time, we’ve seen a distinct trend in smartphone ownership during the course of community-testing QR360: Almost one in three people below the age of 30 has a smartphone, whereas the corresponding figure among 30+ is less than 10%. We’re not sure if these are representative numbers but, until the demographic pattern of smartphone penetration become clearer, it might make sense for advertisers to treat GenY as the sweetspot for QR code based advertising and restrict their use to this age group.
Advertisers using QR codes in their ads might also want to give a strong reason to consumers for scanning them. Taking the above three examples, the Shoppers Stop ad provides a place of prominence to the QR code and promises “delightfully low prices” by scanning it; the QR code was snuck in a corner of the ad by The Body Shop and contained no explanatory text to incent the reader to scan it; not only is the QR code in the DATAQUEST ad prominently located but it also serves as a mobile coupon by offering 5% discount on the already-discounted subscription rates. We won’t be surprised if DQ and Shopper’s Stop achieve far greater consumer engagement with their QR codes.