It was a year ago to the day that I wrote The QR Code Hype Cycle and suggested that that QR Codes in the USA and Europe were in the ‘frenzy of publicity’ phase which is typified by over enthusiasm and unrealistic expectations. The positive hype continued throughout 2011 and early 2012 and I now believe that we are at the peak or very slightly over the peak of the cycle. This does not mean that the number of users of the technology will decline, quite the contrary first time usage will continue to rise as consumer smartphone adoption increases. What it does mean is that there will be a slow realization that enterprises’ and the media’s overinflated expectations are not being met. Negative press will increase and media interest will wane.
If you are a marketer there are two things said in the post a year ago that are worth repeating. Firstly in Japan QR Codes are ubiquitous but the Japanese scanning consumer will scan a QR Code less than five times a month – think about it. Secondly QR Codes that provide deep discounts, free samples, exclusive content etc., may increase sales but the number of scans and conversions will depend on the value of the offering.
Design your QR Code campaign carefully, provide as big a reward to the consumer as possible and even then be prepared to be underwhelmed by the response. Not everyone with a pair of scissors cuts coupons.