Everyone loves an underdog, and the QR Code is a prime candidate for 2020.
So how is it that the ridiculed marketing fad of the 2010s made a comeback? We’re on the case to explain why business owners should place as much importance on market research as the product itself.
The Evolution of the QR Code
More formally known as the Quick Response system, the scanning tool was invented in 1994 for the Japanese automotive industry to track vehicles during manufacturing. Following the global rollout of the smartphone, QR codes were adapted as a popular advertising tool in the early to mid-2000s, directing consumers to websites quicker than punching in a URL. But their time in the limelight didn’t last long, and the novelty quickly wore off, leaving the black and white barcode to fall by the wayside.
Why Didn’t QR Codes Work?
Trawling through the depths of Google produced articles from the 2010's, most were ridiculing QR Codes as a marketing fad best forgotten. A 2012 Forbes article pointed out that their failure to take off as an advertising tool was due to businesses not knowing how to use them - for example, many placed them in dubious places, such as on the side of a moving bus.
However, businesses weren’t entirely to blame – consumers also didn’t know how to use them, or their devices weren’t compatible at the time.
Why are they working now?
Enter a global pandemic. The unprecedented year that was 2020 saw many unexpected changes, including the resurrection of the QR code. Health officials needed a quick and easy way to collect data from businesses - and businesses required a smooth check-in process for customers upon arrival. QR codes provided the perfect solution – especially thanks to improved smartphone compatibility – for customers to quickly check-in (as we’ve all well and truly done by now).
Now that QR Codes have become common practice, and devices have improved compatibility, the barcode has more of a chance to survive as an advertising tool. We’ve already seen businesses adopt them to use at events for attendees to register for meetings, as well as displayed on restaurant tables for customers to order without leaving their seats.
Will they stick around once the dust settles?
We hope so! We see so many applicable uses for the scannable bar code, including:
- Cricket Australia recently used it during live broadcast of a match
- Replacing physical business cards with virtual ones
- Providing an efficient way for guests to access a Wi-Fi connection
- Offering an easy way to add an event to a calendar along with a reminder
- And many more ways you can view here
Regardless, the initial failure of the QR Code, followed by an unexpected comeback proves why market research before launching a product is integral to its success.
So how do business owners successfully carry out market research?
While you may be eager to get your product out into the world, take a moment to do your homework. Market research experts recommend gathering primary (asking potential customers their thoughts via surveys) and secondary data (exploring statistics, studies and other data from government agencies and business insiders). In other words, the internet is your friend. Google everything you can about the industry, and join online forums to ask potential customers how they could use your product - but be careful to avoid being spammy or you may get blocked. Once you've gathered your data, review the results and determine whether your product will make it.