Theme for Sept 13th Blog: QR codes: (you fill in this area after the colon)
This week’s Blog theme will focus on QR codes, their development, and their purpose within the scope of our project. We will be using QR codes for the following: your own person/professional technical Blog, Facebook, and LinkedIn; your client’s project, website, Facebook, Blog, LinkedIn, and/or directions to their place of business; and the poster session (on your poster) in order to lead our attendees directly to your project. Additionally, we will use a QR code for a QA survey for our poster expo attendees to complete.
We see QR codes popping up everywhere. However, does the public understand and recognize a QR code when they see one? In a consumer directed report (Oct 2011—not much has changed since then--amazing) 81% said, “Yes,” while 19% replied, “No.” Within that same survey 50% of Smartphone users have scanned a QR code at one time or another. When we delve deeper and look at the buying/purchasing of those who scan QR codes on a regular basis, we discover that 57% did nothing with the information, 21% shared the information with someone else (known as Viral Advertising—my favorite type of advertising), 18% made a purchase (either online or at the site—that would be me), and 7% were just undecided or could not remember what they did with the information (Really? People actually do this?).
So why do we scan a QR code in the first place? Of those questioned, 46% just said they were curious what this odd little jumbled cube could do (If they only knew the algorithm behind it!). Those who were aware of the technology said they wanted to get more information about a company, product, deal, or event; these techno know-hows comprised 41% of the users. 18% stated they wanted to take advantage of a free gift, coupon, and/or discount---now there’s a great reason to have a QR code on your business site. While 16% wanted to gain access to exclusive content, another 6% just wanted to buy something. The remaining 3% just didn’t have a direct reason for scanning a QR code (there they are again!).
You can’t open a brouser and not be aware that the online market is growing exponentially; I know that price comparison, value hunting, and time/gas/effort saving is a driving force for me to shop online and stay clear of the brick-and-mortar shopping experience. Honestly, it’s no wonder when you ask the non-scanning bunch what would motivate them to scan and use a QR code that gaining access to discounts, coupons, and free items topped their list at 43%. The next runner-up was to gain more information about a product or service (26%); followed by the desire to gain access to exclusive content (25%). The last three confessions on their list were: making a purchase (23%), obtaining more information about an event (22%), and gathering more information about a brand or company (18%).
When we continue to survey the population of Smartphone users, we discovered that men found QR codes more useful that women did, 44% men vs 36% women (What?! Really?!). Interesting information when it’s often assumed (okay so I’m using a nice word here) that women like to shop and browse more often than men. . .or is it browse, browse, browse, browse, then shop.
Still, users have mixed feelings when it comes to whether or not a QR code is useful. In the same survey 18% thought that QR codes weren’t useful (maybe they need a better Smartphone), while 42% had mixed feelings about the usefulness of a QR code, and, finally, 41% thought they were absolutely useful after scanning, viewing, and receiving the information they were looking for from the website, webpage, and/or both (I like these people!).
So where did our users find their QR codes? You won’t believe it. . .magazines and newspapers (35%). Others were packages (18%), a website (13%), direct mailing (11%), a billboard (how the heck did they get up there?!) or sign (11%), email (4%), while others scanned front store windows/displays (7%). Most users found QR codes easy to scan (70%), however, what was the challenge (and I agree) was finding a free app for their phone to scan the QR code.
Face it, barcodes have been around since the 1950s; they fully started being integrated into the market/retail arena in 1974 (we thought it was “Big Brother” technology back then). What corporate/retail once held complete control over, is now in the hands of every consumer: to scan, to purchase, to pass on. . .and, more importantly, to use for their own brand. . .the brand of YOU. With that said, this week you are required to create a QR code for your Blog. Directions for doing this task will be in the Google drive folder, along with peer reviewed research articles (if you care to read and use them). Feel free to find studies of your own, as we will be convincing our clients to use QR codes for promoting their brand. Have a balance of research (peer-reviewed, popular) and your opinion within your Blog.