How to Make It Easy for People to Scan Your QR Code - dummies

How to Make It Easy for People to Scan Your QR Code

By Joe Waters

You have to make scanning and using QR Codes just as easy as possible. This is especially true given that a study in 2011 reported that three of ten consumers don’t understand QR Codes.

The following are some of the reasons why people may say no to QR Codes and what you can do to turn that no into a yes.

They don’t know what a QR Code is

People are asking what that funny-looking, black-and-white square is a lot because they’re seeing them everywhere, usually with little or no explanation of what to do with them. Here’s how you can introduce QR Codes to people who aren’t familiar with them:

  • Share some details. Include text near the code that tells people what the QR Code can deliver when they scan it.

    People are more likely to try QR codes — or anything for that matter — when they’re instructed on how to do it and are clear on what they’ll get in return.


  • Think about placement. Large QR Codes on billboards get people thinking, “Where will it take me if I scan it?” But if surprise isn’t your angle, put QR Codes in places where people can connect the dots on what they link to.

    A QR Code on a takeout menu will probably link to an online menu or app. It makes sense, right? There’s a good case to be made for putting QR Codes in predictable spots where people will connect the dots — literally and figuratively — and use them.

  • Address performance anxiety head-on. People like to try new things, but not when they may come off looking like a fool. Put QR Codes in a practical place and not somewhere where bystanders will question a person’s sanity.

    QR Codes on register signs may seem like a good idea, but not when people have to put on a show for everyone behind them to download the reader, scan the code, and so on. People don’t want to look foolish if they can’t figure it out, so instead they don’t try.

    You can still have QR Codes in the checkout line, but how about toward the back of the line so shoppers can try it while they’re waiting?


  • Give people another option. The important thing about any kind of marketing is that it accomplishes your goals. The QR Code is just a tool, and sometimes it may not be the right one or you may need to use it with something else to get the job done.

    That’s why many good QR Code marketing campaigns give users an alternative to scanning, such as a URL or text code. A wise man once said that people don’t want a drill, they want a hole. Give people what they want.

They don’t know how to scan QR Codes

Many people are curious about QR Codes and want to use them, but they just don’t know how. Here’s how you can change that.

  • Direct people to a reader. Most QR Codes have a short message underneath them, like this one: “Visit your app store to download a QR reader.” Until QR Codes become well known and native to mobile devices, you’ll need to tell people how to unlock the content.

  • Educate frontline staff. If someone asks, your staff needs to know what a QR Code is, what its value to the user, and how to scan it. If employees can’t tell people why and how they should scan a QR Code, you’re missing a powerful opportunity to woo potential adopters.