At about the same time I posted this article about the use of QR codes on catalogs, I got a tweet from Trinity Road vice president of ecommerce Nicholas Cole. I’d asked merchants to send samples of their QR code work, and Cole responded.
Cole wanted to know what I thought about a QR code they used in the Catholic Company catalog. Cole asked in the tweet, “Do you like what you see?” I do, and here’s why.
- It tells the reader what that funny-looking box is. The first step to any QR code campaign: Tell your audience what a QR code is. While QR codes are huge in countries like Japan, they’re still a mystery to most U.S. consumers.
- It directs the reader to scan the code with a barcode reader. Yes, there are people who don’t know you need a barcode reader. Some people think you take a picture of it with their mobile device’s camera. Only thing I wish it had: A directive on how to get a barcode reader.
- It gives the reader an alternate way to access the information. The code could drive traffic to the wrong page, or it could contain a broken link. And the mobile Internet is not perfect – outages can happen. Without the alternate URL. The campaign could go ignored. Now there is a negative here: catholiccompany.com/cross leads to a non-web-optimized site. But the QR code brings you to Catholic Company’s mobile site.
- It leads to a mobile website. As mentioned in the above-mentioned article, many merchants had their QR codes drive mobile traffic to a site not optimized for mobile. If the user cannot navigate his or her way across the landing page easily because the site does not render on a three-inch screen, the user is going to dump out and may not want to come back.
It drives the user to a video. It can be tough to read about the fine details of a product on a tiny screen. This video doesn’t just show views of the cross, but tells the viewer about the product’s features and benefits, the dimensions of the cross, and what people who’ve purchased the product had to say about it.
All in all, Cole and his team at Catholic Company did QR codes correctly.