Does AR Need to Replace QR Code Use? Not Always

By | August 8, 2016

I have run across another great implementation of QR Codes, and while AR is advancing in leaps and bounds, I’m not sure there is a reason for it to replace QR Codes for every application. This is a good example of why.

QR Code 1The QR Code was on a catalog, inviting shoppers to scan to shop. When I scanned the code, I was immediately taken to a page that invited me to sign up for email alerts for discounts and sales. Nicely done. Once I made a decision on that, I could move on to the mobile shopping site.

This implementation was simple. It worked. It didn’t need to be complicated, and it wasn’t. Unless the catalog is going to have AR components, I don’t see any reason for AR to replace it. Plus, this QR Code implementation is free.

QR Code 2Catalogs arrive at home, so why would someone scan a QR Code as opposed to going to their computer? Two reasons.

First, human beings are inherently lazy.  We do everything else on our phones. Why would I want to walk all the way across the room to my laptop and type in the URL when I could just open my QR Code reader and scan the code without going anywhere?

Second, I’ve come to prefer mobile shopping in many cases. I like the simple interface without all the options. I like the way the information is laid out. It simplifies things, and when it’s a retailer I don’t know well and I’m not looking for something specific, this works for me.

Plus, once I scan that code, the pathway remains in my phone to refer back to later. All I have to do is go into the history inside the reader and I can re-access any of the information from codes I’ve scanned. I’ve done it. I may not want something right then and there, but later on I realize there was something I want to refer back to, and it’s right at my fingertips. It’s not a reason to scan a code at the outset, but it’s a nice bonus once I’ve done it.

I get the move to AR, and there is a critical role for AR going forward that the printing industry needs to understand. It will replace QR Codes for many applications, but it’s not necessary to replace all of them. Not all marketing applications need AR. Sometimes marketers just need a really good bridge from print to mobile, and QR Codes provide that.

It’s important for our industry to remember that AR isn’t just a better version of QR Codes. It’s a fundamentally different technology and provides a different experience. QR Codes are simply a bridge from print to mobile. That’s it. They are like clicking a hyperlink in an email, and sometimes, that’s all you need.

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