Invented 2 decades ago, QR codes never really took off in the way that businesses and marketers had hoped. We all thought they would revolutionize advertising—I mean, how awesome that you could put this little barcode on a piece of paper for people to scan to get all the information you wanted them to have (I even used to see them on billboards … now someone, PLEASE explain to me how that was supposed to work driving 55 mph down the highway from 100 yards away?!)
QR code failure wasn’t only due to improper or ineffective use. Back in 2010, when QR codes were emerging, not too many people had smartphones, and those that did often had to download a specific QR code reader app to read the codes. Opening your browser and “googling” something or “asking Siri” was just as efficient, and more natural of a pattern for users. At the time, QR codes forced customers to have to do something hard: learn. All in an effort to make it easier for them. Fast forward to 2021, and 81% of U.S. adults have smartphones, and every smartphone has a built-in camera that can automatically read QR codes. (Thank you, Apple for that genius iOS 11 update in 2017!)
At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, when touch-free solutions were not only popular, but necessary, QR codes came to the rescue. Restaurants, if they were open, stopped printing menus and only had QR codes to scan, often on the tables. Deliveries required QR codes to scan for payment and signature. Hospitals required scanning QR codes to complete forms and check in for appointments. Governments have implemented them for contact tracing purposes.
In short, QR codes, once believed to be a long-dead relic of the early 2000s, have found a new life in the wake of the pandemic, and people have learned how to use them, first by necessity, and now by preference. Given the demand for a safe way to keep audiences engaged, the QR code has virtually become the new “Easy” button.
As marketers and fundraisers, we are exploring new and inventive ways to incorporate this “vintage” marketing tool to help our clients reach their goals. Are QR codes here for a minute or here to stay? Only time will tell!
Let Infinity Concepts help you with all your fundraising needs.
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