How QR codes should work

Bus top with QR codeWhat is it with QR codes?

Has there ever been another technology that has been so misused and misunderstood?

QR codes should be the first step to seeing an advertisement in the ‘real world’ and buying it in one or two clicks. However their implementation has been completely misunderstood and that’s why they won’t be around for much longer.

How QR codes should work

Imagine this scenario. A customer is standing at a bus stop and sees a poster advert showing a piece of clothing. The customer wants to buy the item, so they point their smartphone at a QR code on the poster. The smartphone takes them to a simple screen asking for colour, size and so on, and then a payment process.

QR codes should be the technological vehicle to enable impulse purchases.

Ideally, the landing page will already know the following details about the customer:

  • Clothing size
  • Use the colour of the clothing on the poster
  • Payment details
  • Preferred delivery address

In the ideal situation, all the user needs to do is enter a security PIN number or a password, and the item will be dispatched to the customer straight away.

How QR codes do work

QR code at a bus stopI had to take my bicycle in for a service earlier this week, so I cycled there and caught a bus home. While waiting at the bus stop I saw an H&M advert for a dress, with a QR code next to it. I wondered how close the QR code would be to my ideal scenario.

I used my iPhone to look at the QR code and the results was the second worst scenario possible. The worst case scenario would have been a broken website.

What happened, was that the landing page was simply a link to Google, Bing and other Internet sites.

Playing devil’s advocate, perhaps the advertising company who owned the space for the bus stop poster may have been collecting the number of QR code clicks. However this isn’t a valid excuse because I shan’t be using their QR codes again.

If you are an e-commerce site, I recommend you take advantage of this poor implementations and advertising. Start offering single-click purchases from advert to confirmation. And let me know how you get on.

2 thoughts on “How QR codes should work

  1. The best way to use QR codes is to build an engine that capture the QR code and can redirect the user after capturing all of their details, we created thousands of QR codes to be placed in different locations over the country, then with the query string we captured their location and redirected them all to the same place, much better use.

    Would love to know what your feelings are on snap tags then, I personally don’t see any value in having to pay for a snap tag when if people still don’t understand how to use a QR code, will snap tags ever take off?

    1. I completely agree with how you are implementing QR codes. I don’t understand why other agencies use them incorrectly.

      I hadn’t seen Snap Tag before. It looks like a better proposition than QR codes mainly because it’s human readable. However I am concerned that because it’s a Trademark and proprietary system, it will be adopted more slowly. For example, my QR code reader on my iPhone doesn’t recognise Snap Tags (I’ve just tried a few).

      I’ve heard of a new scam where devious people place QR stickers on posters. The codes take unsuspecting people to a page which either downloads nasty stuff or tempts them into entering personal details (the consumer thinks it’s a relevant website to the poster).

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