QR codes, or quick response codes, are the dominant form of two dimensional codes that allow anyone with an appropriately equipped camera phone to scan or “read” data and media available in or through the code. They initially made their big splash in Japan in the mid-1990′s and have since been embraced there as a key means for marketers to inform and engage the throngs of mobile consumers in the market.
The codes do bring benefits. For instance, instead of having to input the 20-character URL of a mobile website on a super small, not-too-convenient cell phone keypad, a consumer who sees a QR code in an ad can quickly “scan” it and be taken to websites, videos or even a digital coupon in an instant. Despite QR codes’ value proposition, the success that Japan enjoyed with these codes hasn’t necessarily transferred to other markets, including the United States, for a variety of reasons.
However, America is now undeniably on the cusp of a new mobile age, which is the result of a confluence of smartphone innovation, advanced mobile infrastructure and consumer-centered application development . This raises the prospects for the uptake of QR and 2D codes in the near future in the American market. Marketers have already begun to take notice and experiment with the technology in earnest to capture the attention (and wallets) of the increasingly mobile American consumer.
In the Digital Lab white paper below, we take a look at the origins, mechanics, applications and prospects for QR/2D code technology and share our take on whether it will have a place in the American marketing landscape for years to come.