How Not to Use QR Codes for Print


9 Week Holiday Planner

QR Codes are quickly gaining popularity. Because of this many companeis are putting them everywhere, often without thought as to what they want to accomplish.

How to have a Bad Customer Experinece with QR Codes

In a recent Sunday newspaper (yes, I do still get a paper) ad section, a large local retailer had QR Codes on almost half the products in their circular. All touted the refrain, “Get a Lower Price”, leading you to believe that if you used the QR code, you’d be rewarded with a lower price on that product. Very cool. Three problems;


  1. Many of the QR codes would not scan because they were too small to be read
  2.  Once scanned, they took me to a non-mobile ready web page
  3. The pages were also very generic with multiple products on the page, I could not find the one I wanted!

 At least not easily. I simply gave up and went on to the sports section.

This was a total waste of effort for this retailer.

A Better QR User Experience

What should have happened once the I took the shot of the QR Code?

  1. Above all, make sure the QR codes are big enough to be scanable.
  2. The user should always be taken to a mobile friendly web site. With a big chance they are coming from a mobile device this is your best alternative.
  3. You should always take the user to the product they were interested in. If they have to search for it you’ll loose them quickly

What other things could you do?

  • The QR Code could have been a game. Randomly generated pages with different discount code. This would prompt use of the QR and get more folks into the store.
  • The landing page should be highly sharable

QR Codes are a great new asset for off-line retailers if used properly. If not, they are a waste of time and will create customer frustration.



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