How Not to Display a QR Code

The other day, I walked past a retail store here in New York called NY Cake. See anything interesting in the store’s front window? Did you find the QR Code? If it weren’t that I’m always searching for mobile barcodes chances are I would have walked right past this one (look to the right of the sign in the center).

Not only is the code somewhat hidden against a busy backdrop of colors, shapes and patterns, but there is also no call-to-action, no incentive, no descriptive copy associated with the code, nothing. So, even if I spotted the code, why would I, or anyone else for that matter, bother to scan it?

Out of curiosity, I scanned the code and was brought to the desktop version of the company’s website, gee, big surprise there. But, why? Why, if I am standing right outside of the company’s store, am I being linked (pushed) to the company’s website? Doesn’t NY Cake realize my proximity to the store based on my interaction with the code in the window? Certainly they should. Instead of linking to the company’s website, why not provide me with an offer or incentive to walk into the store and do some shopping right then and there?

In situations like this, it is clear that companies are using mobile barcodes with no thought, strategy or objectives involved. All they want to do is use 2D technology to appear hip and cool. Can there be any other explanation?

To use mobile barcodes effectively, companies must take into consideration the proximity of the consumer and view the campaign from the consumer’s perspective, not their own. Also, a campaign objective would go a long way to ensure that the mobile experience is one that makes sense, is relevant and offers some value or benefit for the consumer. Pretty simple, isn’t it?

2D Barcode Litmus Test: FAIL


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