The need for contactless technology during the pandemic breathed life back into the QR code. With a dramatic increase in consumer awareness of the QR code, we as marketers have been given an opportunity to turn traditional marketing digital.

A New Lease on Life

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It’s 2021 - we're still experiencing a global pandemic. Your mates decide to go out for a few socially distanced bevvies. You arrive at the venue and one of those funny looking barcodes from the early 2010s is staring you in the face - “scan in”. Oh, that’s right, we now have a code scanner built into our mobiles… or do we? Your not so technologically advanced friend pulls out their budget smartphone and can’t scan in without downloading the app. *facepalm*

The COVID-19 Pandemic has been a godsend for QR codes, throwing the contactless technology in every direction, providing them with a new lease on life. The black and white collection of squares in a random pattern has become a way of combating the virus, aiding in contact tracing and implementing contactless alternatives to surfaces that are likely to spread the virus. 

The QR code has particularly made its presence known in the hospitality industry. They provide a hygienic and contactless way of signing into venues, collecting customer details, enabling the ability to contact trace the virus. Restaurants have also attached their menus to QR codes, further promoting a touch-free experience and eliminating the need for disposable menus. 

An increase in consumer awareness has led to the adoption of QR codes by social media giants. Instagram users now have the ability to follow accounts by scanning a code. Nike has also adopted the functionality of the codes in their ‘House of Innovation OOO’ - a flagship store designed for the smartphone generation. Customers can scan a QR code on a mannequin from the Nike app, instantly displaying the entire outfit on their device. The customer can continue by selecting their size and have the items sent to a fitting room. 

The shift away from traditional marketing, to digital marketing, was down to one determining factor: the ability to track metrics. As QR codes have taken out a new lease on life, they have breathed air into traditional marketing, providing marketers with the ability to track the performance of traditional marketing campaigns through the number of scans. The future for QR codes looks promising. According to Juniper Research, the number of codes scanned will reach 5.3 billion by 2022. 

The pandemic has brought about a rapid increase in consumer awareness of QR codes, so much so that... A couple of months later, it’s time for another catch up. You’re standing in line waiting to check in to the venue. You’re greeted by a QR code… “oh no not this again”... your friend replies “it’s okay I have an app now!” 

After more than a decade, the humble QR code has finally found its place in the world. It’s now our duty as marketers to apply it wisely, avoiding the countless misuse the QR code has already endured - including but not limited to; no value to scanning, directing to broken links or landing pages not optimised for mobile, or displaying in subway stations with no internet connection. This regenerated second nature has enabled an exciting tactic for executing your marketing campaigns - use it wisely!