I’m not going to go into a long history of where QR codes have been used and why. There’s plenty of that stuff all over the web at the end of your choice of search engine query.
No, this is a fairly specific quest, driven by an ongoing conversation with a well-known retail client of ours about a proposal we put to them a while ago. A proposal to put QR codes on the packaging of various items and linking it to something that provides some real customer value: a recipe guide, for example, and perhaps one that highlights the locations in-store (in the store you happen to be inside right now, when scanning that code) of all the ingredients necessary?
And what we have now begin to notice, is that while they’ve umm-ed and ahh-ed, other retailers have bitten the bullet and started to do exactly this – add a barcode to packs of products.
Have these competitors done it well?
Example 1: Sainsbury’s own label
The idea is there – the QR code invites users to discover recipe ideas using the product in question.
But the call-to-action is not powerful, emotive.. or even very visible, tucked away in a small font at the bottom and to the side of the packaging.
And the destination site (www. sainsburysrecipes.co.uk) is not optimised for mobile; it takes forever to load and then doesn’t actually work.
Which is a shame, because the content on the site, when viewed on a desktop PC – i.e. not the device that was used to do the scanning – is good.
This is frustrating because it’s so easy to fix and without doing so makes the whole campaign such a waste of time and effort (and budget).
Example 2: Green’s Baking
Hello Kitty! Cup cakes… fantastic!
Oooh! A QR code on the box… and it promises “FUN TIME”… yay!
Let’s scan the code…
Lessons for marketers..
Exam results are out and Uni starts again in a few week’s time, so let’s go back to that first ever freshman marketing class and remember the role of marketing in an organisation:
Let’s think like a customer for a minute before we jump onto a tech bandwagon, shall we?
Punter: I see a QR code. What does it do, I wonder?
Marketer: OK, let’s tell people what to
expect – loudly and clearly. And, assuming I actually want people to look at this thing, let’s make that description and explanation prominent on the packaging, perhaps?
Punter:Great, looks interesting. Let’s have a look. [takes phone out, opens scanning app]
Marketer: [realisation dawning] Oh yeah.. you scan these things on your phone don’t you? OK, let’s make sure we optimise the website for mobile phones.