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Weigh It Out: QR Code Pros and Cons (Part 2)

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We have talked about how public opinion regarding QR codes is divided.  There are people who love QR codes, and there are those who cannot be bothered by them.  In order to educate people more about QR codes, and to help them look at the codes more objectively, we have listed down the pros and cons.  In the first part, we gave you the benefits of QR codes. 

Now, let’s take a look at some of the negative points.

Cons:

1. For you to scan a QR code, you need a reader.

This is one reason why there’s a rather limited audience for QR codes.  First, you need a smartphone, and then you need to download a QR code reader app.  While most reader apps are free, there are still many smartphone users who think that downloading one is not worth the effort.

However, seeing how QR codes have gained ground and are becoming more and more popular, don’t be surprised if smartphone manufacturers will be installing a built-in reader in every mobile unit in the near future.  Soon, a QR code reader will be as basic as your smartphone’s built-in camera.

2. QR code scanning takes a while.

Successfully scanning a code is not something you do at a snap of your fingers.  You see a QR code and you still have to take your smartphone out of your pocket, make sure you position your phone’s camera correctly, fire up the QR code reader app, and wait for the code to take you to its online content.  And when you are already there, you will have to spend time watching it if it’s a video, or reading it, or browsing through, or just checking it out.  Not to mention if you have slow or intermittent mobile internet connection and if pages load rather slowly.

But if you look at it, spending several seconds scanning the code is really nothing compared to the time you spend typing out a URL one letter at a time. 

3. Not everyone is familiar with QR codes.

A lot of people still see a QR code and don’t think much of it.  They think it’s nothing more than just a pixilated box.  If a QR code is on a product packaging, they will have to read the text in order to know what to do with the code.  And worse, some people just don’t notice the code at all.

True, comScore reported that 14 million Americans have scanned QR codes in June alone, but this number represents only a small percentage of mobile users, and even a smaller percentage of consumers in the U.S.

4. What if the novelty wears off?

People scan QR codes out of curiosity.  But what if QR codes cease to be a novel idea, and people just think it tiresome to hold up their mobile phones to see an online content that’s obviously created for marketing content?

Whether you see using QR codes an advantage or a disadvantage when it comes to your marketing efforts, or whether you see it as beneficial to you or not as a consumer, there’s no denying that QR codes are here and they come at a time when an increasing number of people are going mobile.

Whether you are a business owner or a consumer, think about the pros and cons and see which, in the end, weigh more to you.  Do you get more value out of the benefits of QR codes than the hassle you get from scanning them?  Will your business gain more from launching a QR code campaign than it would if you stick to traditional marketing?  

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