I was sitting at an airport café last week while waiting for my flight to board. I noticed that my drink had a QR code on its packaging. Then I thought, “Wow, they’re still doing that?” I hurriedly got my phone to scan it. Turns out I didn’t have a QR code reader on my phone. So, I had to go to the app store, download the app, launch it, and finally scan the code. It led me to a website that showed all the nutrition facts about my drink. This got me thinking, “Why did I have to go through all those steps to see that information?”
We see QR codes everywhere -- products, posters, business cards, etc. -- but have you ever stopped to wonder why people aren’t actually using them?
QR codes have a number of creative uses. Some restaurants put QR codes on their menus so that customers can scan to order. Businessmen place them on calling cards so that recipients can automatically call them by scanning the code. Big companies even use QR codes for their marketing campaigns. Case in point: Starbucks’ Scavenger hunt collaboration with Lady Gaga in 2011.
But despite their potential, QR codes never became as popular as they were pegged to be, which is quite puzzling because almost everyone in the world has a smartphone. In 2014 alone, smartphone sales reached 1.2 billion units per year (DazeInfo). With that statistic, you would think that more people would use their devices to scan every QR code that they see. But this simply isn’t the case. In fact, only 1 in 7 smartphone users scan QR codes with their devices (Visualead). And this might just be the reason why:
QR code scanners don't come