Many marketers argue that QR codes are still alive and prospering in 2020 and lately I’ve found myself thinking…can that even be possible?
Personally, I’ve never gotten out my phone to scan a piece of physical marketing — postcard, billboard, or other, and neither have any of my friends.
Many marketers believe QR codes are the primary way to connect the physical with the digital. In other words, the only reliable way to see how well your traditional marketing is working is track how many scans happened on your QR Code.
So when I walked around the trade show floor at #CES2020 and #NRF2020 I was shocked to see how many retailers are still using QR codes as a way for consumers to interact with their brand. As time goes on, retailers are doing more and more of a disservice to their customers when they use QR codes as a way to transfer information.
We’ve seen this tech ebb and flow for the past 10 years, but when is it officially going to the grave?
Here are six reasons why QR codes must die.
1. They are an added obstacle to every transaction.
By embedding QR codes in your tech, you make consumers perform an unnecessary action…taking out their phone, opening their camera, and finally scanning. Every good retailer knows that the more obstacles you place in front of the transaction, the less likely it is to happen. Many retailers use QR codes to authenticate their shoppers’ devices or use them to verify transactions. Rather than force a buyer to perform the action of scanning the code or pulling out their phone to allow the retailer to scan it, instead create a virtual space where that consumer is trusted and understood. This will allow you to recognize consumers and ask them to verify transactions when it’s convenient for them.
2. QR code interactions aren’t personal.
When you ask your customers to scan a QR code, what you’re really saying is, “I don’t know you.” Wouldn’t it be easier to know which customers are in your store in advance of greeting them? This would allow you to analyze their buying preferences and predict which transactions they are most likely to make before they interact with your sales team. Retailers have so much data at their disposal, yet 60% of marketers struggle to personalize content in real time. (CMO.com) QR codes are a direct reason why that struggle is real.
3. They offer no insight to in-the-moment opportunities.
Marketers have gotten pretty good at analyzing data after the transaction and using that to predict future purchases, but most are not capitalizing on opportunities to wow customers in the moment. According to Edelman, 80% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a company that offers personalized experiences. Serving personalized offers in the exact moment will increase brand loyalty and capture additional revenue from increased transactions.
4. It’s difficult to integrate them with loyalty programs.
If a customer comes into your store today and doesn’t buy anything, do you know they were there? Wouldn’t you want that visit to be included in your loyalty program? Unfortunately for many retailers, these visits are not tracked and therefore a loyal customer’s profile isn’t representative of their entire engagement with your brand. More than 70% of millennials and gen Z belong to a loyalty program and loyal customers are 4 times more likely to refer brands. Store visits should count toward how you view a customer’s journey, even without a purchase.
5. Nothing says “Sales push dead ahead” more than a QR code.
I’m all about the silent sell. So when marketers ask me to scan a QR code for a discount or premium offer, I can’t help but wonder what kind of baggage it comes with. Then I start weighing the offer with how badly I’d like to avoid the 20 irrelevant pop-up ads and months of being retargeted. No thanks.
6. They take up space.
In retail, nothing is more critical than space management. Well organized retail environments reduce operating costs, enhance the shopping experience, and increase financial performance of the store. When QR codes are necessary as part of the shopping experience, they impact that space. The truth is, retailers can save space by eliminating the QR code technology and offer a better experience without it.
QR codes go against all the basic principles of a good customer experience. Think twice before you embed this old tech in your company in 2020. Try investing instead in a technology that allows you to get a true and seamless view of your customers and their interaction with your brand…without requiring them to proactively scan a code and wait for a website to load.
Your customers will thank you. And so will your bottom line.
See How Simpello Is Changing the Game for Customer Interaction
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ben Robertson is the founder and CEO of Simpello, creating smart, seamless tracking and transactions for retail, hospitality, quick service restaurants, and other industries. When not working with brands on innovative tech, he enjoys piloting airplanes, taking adventures through the world, understanding the state of the world and of course, being with family!