Our Blog

The official Motribe blog, written by the founders

June 28

As a mobile solution, QR codes are attractive but possibly the biggest waste of time right now for you and your brand, considering a 10-15% smartphone penetration across the country. And of that 10-15%, perhaps only 1% at most will actually use them. So what are the factors that stand in the way of QR codes being more widely used?

Factor 1: The device

Most devices that can access the QR codes simply aren’t pervasive in the emerging markets yet. So while iPhone, Android and BlackBerry will have no problem processing QR codes, these devices aren’t pervasive enough to make QR codes a viable mass-market solution.

Factor 2: Convenience

‘QR’ stands for ‘quick response’. But consider the process you need to follow in order to use a QR code:

1. You need to download the technology – the QR code scanning app or software that operates via the camera on your mobile phone.
2. Then you need to open the app.
3. Next, you’ll need to take a photo of the QR code.
4. The next step is waiting to receive the message from the app that gives you a link to the content.
5. You then need to click on the link and wait while your phone’s browser opens the link and directs you to a website or destination embedded in the QR code.
6. Finally, one the website has loaded, you will be able to see what content is waiting for you.

All of this while assuming that you are standing still and can actually take a steady and clear enough shot of the code, never mind the strangulation of choice that occurs when deciding which QR app/reader to download in the first place.

Factor 3: Software

Most QR codes come with a website address that tells you where to go to download the software you’ll need to read the code. Most people simply don’t, and so you lose an opportunity to engage with that person. Of course, this won’t be a problem when – sometime in the future – all devices come with inherent built-in software that will eliminate the time-consuming process of having to download the app. Although this is a great idea, nobody’s doing it yet.

Factor 4: Bandwidth

If you don’t have bandwidth, if you’re not on data, or if you have no reception, then you won’t be able to download the software or click on the link to access the content.

Factor 5: The QR code itself

Another issue is where the QR code is in relation to the user. Putting it on the back of a vehicle and expecting your user to process the code – which includes taking a clear, complete shot of a moving target – makes little sense. Neither does putting it on a street poster, which requires the user to stand still for long enough and then zoom in to snap and process the code. There are examples of entire buildings being used to display a QR code. This means you can stand anywhere within a large distance of the code and be able to snap it; this makes sense.

Ironically, ‘QR’ stands for ‘quick response’. Obviously, until the devices can support them, the software is inherent, the bandwidth is freely available and the QR codes are accessible, QR codes will remain neither quick nor responsive in the perception of the emerging markets end user.