QR Codes Being Mistaken for Tracking Codes?

By | February 1, 2014

I’ve put the question out there for awhile: Has there been sufficient adoption of QR Codes that we should start removing the explanatory text around them?  The answer has been a resounding “No!” Feedback is that the explanations are still necessary.

The other day, a friend mine, knowing that I write about QR Codes frequently, pointed out a “QR Code” on a label that might be of interest to me. It was, in fact, a Datamatrix used for tracking.

That made me wonder. Have consumers become so used to seeing the square black-and-white tracking codes (such as those used for inventory management) that, when they see QR Codes, they think they are just larger versions? Could this by why some consumers still don’t recognize QR Codes as marketing response mechanisms?

If so, then it makes sense why some sort of explanatory text is necessary. Perhaps that explanation doesn’t have to be how to scan, how to download a reader, or that level of detail. Perhaps it can be something more subtle, such as making it part of the call to action: “Scan this code to get a 10% discount!” Or, “Scan this code for a chance to win free tickets!”

Such calls to action should be used anyway. The point is just that perhaps it’s less critical to tell people how to use the codes than it is simply to draw the distinction between codes for tracking and inventory management (which consumers ignore) and codes for marketing response (which they shouldn’t). What do you think?

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One thought on “QR Codes Being Mistaken for Tracking Codes?

  1. michael jahn

    QR Codes are not ‘just for consumers to scan’ – so, yes, you are correct. One can take the approach of telling folks why they should scan one, or, like on a business card, it might be obvious that is contact details. We have a product – SmartSoft Mails Spotter – where the QR Code scan serves two different and separate purposes – it delivers the person scanning to a destination and also reports back to the Mail Spotter application that the piece has arrived and been “seen”


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