QR Code Deployment and Apple’s Passbook: Game-Changing Innovation?

Aug 07, 2012

Vya Staff

Despite press criticism, QR codes have arguably emerged from Gartner’s Trough of 104439560_thumbDisillusionment and could reach a broader audience with the release of Apple’s iOS 6, according to Business Week:

Smartphone ticketing will get a boost from Apple (AAPL) this fall when the next version of its iPhone operating system is released. The new software includes a feature called Passbook, a digital wallet to store boarding passes, coupons, movie tickets, and gift cards—many of which rely on QR codes. Passbook “will raise awareness” for QR codes, says Jessica Yi, Fandango’s product chief.

The article also reports that:

- 13 percent of Fandango movie theater partners have already installed QR-code readers to scan smartphone tickets, while Fandango expects adoption of QR-code readers to reach 25 percent by the end of the year

- QR codes can hold 100 times more information than a barcode

The QR-Mobile Marriage

A recent study conducted by Ecoconsultancy/Responsys found that QR codes have become the most popular channel used by corporate marketers to encourage mobile customer interaction – even over apps and mobile commerce. The study also found that 1 in 2 company marketers are using QR codes to encourage mobile engagement and interaction with their brand.

Cause for Criticism?

Responsibility for QR codes’ failure to proliferate beyond 5% of the U.S. mobile population thus far may fall more on the shoulders of marketers who have not effectively integrated QR codes into their marketing promotions mix than on the technology itself.

Common pitfalls in QR code usage include:

1. Not providing a compelling benefit in exchange for the QR code scan (information, value, or convenience)

2. Not clearly stating what will be provided with the scan in terms of the benefit to the consumer (incorporating an attention-grabbing call to action)

3. Not linking to a mobile-optimized website if the objective is to share information

QR codes are an effective medium to transfer information to consumer’s smartphones, especially in the following applications:

1. Loyalty programs

2. Customer acquisition/pre-purchase research

3. Customer experience/support

4. Mobile payment portals


Depending on the objective or application, some channels lend themselves better than others to QR code use. However, our research has uncovered numerous innovative examples of QR codes used effectively in a multichannel mobile marketing strategy. So perhaps a more appropriate question to ask is not whether or not to use QR codes, but rather, have I effectively integrated QR codes into my marketing promotions mix with a compelling benefit – providing information, value or convenience with the scan?

For an interactive demonstration of Apple’s potentially game-changing digital wallet, Passbook, view snapshots at engadget’s photo gallery.

What do you think: Are QR codes still a nascent technology? What QR code applications have been most successful for your organization?

*For more information on how to use QR codes effectively, sign-up for QR Code Tips and Tricks.*

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Tags: QR Codes, marketing campaign