Love them or loathe them QR Codes are being noticed and, according to new research from Chadwick Martin Bailey, curious consumers are increasingly bothering to interact with them. The challenge to marketers is to provide a compelling reason to do so.

by Helen Leggatt

chadwick_martin_bailey_logo.gifAccording to Chadwick Martin Bailey’s recent Consumer Pulse Study, QR Codes are being noticed by consumers in the U.S. Their survey of over 1,200 consumers found that while the term “QR Code” isn’t familiar to most (79%) nearly all knew one when they saw one (81%) and 1 in 5 knew what to do.

Retailers who are yet to be convinced that the barcodes aren’t just a fad might want to take note that half of those who spotted one interacted with it. Furthermore, while 57% did nothing after scanning 21% shared the information and 18% went on to make a purchase afterwards.

Despite studies that have suggested consumers are confused by the whole idea of scanning a QR Code, Chadwick Martin Bailey’s research found that most (70%) respondents found scanning to be an easy process. In fact, finding an app to allow scanning was more difficult for some.

With that hurdle overcome the key, says Jeff McKenna, senior consultant at Boston-based research firm, is to provide consumers with a compelling reason to scan. Consumers cited curiosity and information-gathering as the two main reasons they interact with the codes while 43% would be interested in scanning if promised discounts and offers.

“We found smartphone owners and non-smartphone owners alike are curious about QR codes for information and for discounts, free gifts and exclusive deals, and they find the process of scanning to be really easy,” said Kristen Garvey, VP of Marketing at Chadwick Martin Bailey. “But as more and more consumers get smartphones and the ability to scan, marketers must go beyond the novelty of the application if they expect customers to scan again and make it a regular part of the purchase process.”

Newspapers and magazines are where most QR Codes are being found and scanned (35%) followed by on packages (18%) and on websites (13%). Surprisingly few were scanned from billboards (11%) or a piece of direct mail (11%).

The complete report findings can be acquired online.

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