How 2D Barcodes Save

This afternoon, I saw a billboard in the New York City subway for Capital One Bank, and it got me thinking.

The billboard was promoting the bank’s checking account double rewards  program and, at the bottom of the billboard, there was listed three ways to contact the bank about the program: a URL address (, a 1-888 telephone number and copy that read “visit your local branch.” There was no 2D barcode included, but there should have been, and here’s why.

To type the URL address into my mobile phone took about 30 keystrokes. To type in and dial the 1-888 telephone number took about 12 keystrokes. To type in a search for a local bank branch took about…well…let’s quit while we’re ahead. It almost goes without saying, the more keystrokes that a consumer needs to enter into his or her mobile phone, or even PC, laptop, iPad, etc., the more room for error and with that comes a greater probability for a less than optimal customer experience. What could the bank have done to lessen the amount of keystrokes? They could have used 2D technology and displayed codes in the billboard. If a 2D barcode resolved to a micro site for this particular rewards program then I, or any other reader of the billboard, could get to the website or search for a local branch in a matter of a half dozen keystrokes or less. And, if a separate 2D barcode stored the 1-888 telephone number then once the code was scanned the phone number could have been automatically dialed (note: not all reader apps provide this functionality.)

From a 2D barcode best practice perspective, there would still be text in the advertisement to describe how a consumer without the capability to read a 2D barcode can get in contact with the bank and learn about the rewards program.

When used in an application such as this, it is plain to see how 2D technology can easily enhance the customer experience. Additionally, a 2D code could help differentiate the bank from competitors and show them as an early adopter of technology, a technology which serves to put the needs of the customer first.


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