How can researchers best take advantage of the rise in mobile devices for collecting data? Here are the five most important findings gleaned from studies comparing data collected using mobile devices compared to traditional online methods
Linking QR Codes with Market Research.
I heard a rumour, not too long ago, that the young adults in Japan are getting QR codes tattooed on their bodies. “It’s a crazy urban myth!” I hear you cry. Curiosity got the better of me and before I knew it I was Googling ‘Tattoos of QR codes’ to uncover the truth. Unfortunately, it seems that it’s not just the Japanese who are in-tune with new technology and body-art, the trend has gone worldwide. You only need to look at the images to see that QR codes are on arms, backs, faces and even animated tattoos are beginning to exist for the first time ever. We’ve also seen QR code graffiti, encompassing entire buildings, created with sand, used as part of massive advertising campaigns and even part of gravestones.
Moving away from tattoos and back to the question, who cares about QR codes anyway? Well you do of course; else you wouldn’t be sat there reading this. People in touch with technology and marketing care about QR codes too and are probably thinking that anyone who doesn’t care what they are, aren’t worth talking to.
QR codes stand for ‘quick response’ codes, and have actually been in existence since 1994, before the internet was widely used and iPhones didn’t even exist. Designed to be read by smartphones, they started life created by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 and now the QR code is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. The QR code was designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.
Kantar recently tweeted an Econsultancy blog discussing the survey results of research they conducted about QR codes. According to them, 64% of consumers don’t know what a QR code is and 47% said they found them useful and would like to see them more often.
Wikipedia has a QR code specific website, QRpedia, a mobile web based system which uses QR codes to deliver Wikipedia articles to those in their preferred language and was only unveiled April this year.
But what part do QR Codes play in research? So far, the only relation of QR codes in research I have personally seen are in the select few business cards (including my own-yes I’m so in touch with new technology) from other research folk at conferences, but that’s about it!
In a lovely blog by Lab42.com, they created a great infographic showing statistics around QR code usage which is where the link to research gets interesting.
For instance, 42% of people surveyed used a QR code as a ticket and 62% of those people used them for tickets for concerts. Other activities included tickets for flights, buses and trains. Personally, I have only used QR codes from magazine advertisements, in Museums and my Groupon vouchers. Earlier this year I was in Hong Kong and visited the Honk Kong Heritage Museum. In the ‘British Artists Exhibition’ the room was littered with Art, video projectors and…QR Codes. Instead of finding out about the Artists by reading, QR codes where placed under their surname to allow viewers to find out more. In some malls, mirrored QR codes were used as wall decoration.
But anyway, back to the statistics: More than 65% of the people surveyed who are familiar with QR codes saw them mostly in magazines and retail stores. Is the link becoming clearer?
What do these statistics tell us? That as soon as we begin to change how we market our products to consumers, and allow them to access entertainment and points of sale, there will need to be research for that. And I don’t mean like this:
Not that interesting huh? We don’t want to be sat there researching the appearance of QR codes all day do we? Well, let’s get creative!
Betty’s Bright Ideas for Research
Call me crazy; call me wild, but WHAT IF we could get surveys, applicable to our location, directly on our mobiles via QR codes? We can call this company ‘Research Through QR Coding or R.T.Q’ J
SCENARIO 1: Using ‘Single Scan QR Code Surveys’ or SSQRCS’s.
You’re at a bus stop checking your mobile to see if anyone has texted you lately and you notice an advert on the side of the shelter. The advert shows a pretty Scandinavian lady in a minimalistically decorated room. The advert, of course, is for IKEA. But what is this black and white square on the advert? It’s a QR Code! Intrigued, you download the ‘i-nigma’ App and take a scan of it. Lo and behold, you have now opened a sexily designed survey specifically for the IKEA in your location! If completed, you may get extra phone credit or even an IKEA store discount for your local store. Or, you can go in and show them your QR code and receive a free meatball meal!
But hold on a minute, this survey is asking you questions about the IKEA store down the road from here, how does it know it’s my local IKEA? Oh yes, that’s right, each QR code can be encoded uniquely and the GPS function on my phone has confirmed my location to the QR code location. Now you’ve completed the survey at the bus stop but what it is this? You’ve automatically received the IKEA App on your phone?! Uncanny!
This, readers, is a use for QR codes never seen before and definitely links QR codes to market research.
SCENARIO 2: Using ‘Multiple Scan QR Code Questions’ or MSQRCQ’s.
You’ve just entered a shopping mall and are dying for some retail therapy and hoping there’s a sale or some freebies on offer.
At each concession there is a QR Code painted on the wall, or embedded in the carpet. You take a picture of food-counter QR code and a question pops up on your phone ‘Hi there, thanks for coming over to the food counter! How are we doing?’
You answer: ‘Great, I love the sandwiches here’ and then the data goes back to the server used.
You then walk on to the cosmetics counter for Chanel and would love a discount. No problem, just scan the Chanel concession QR code, answer the question and get 5% off any purchase.
- Answer 5 QR Code questions around the mall and you get a discount from say, McDonalds.
- Answer 10 QR code questions and you can get a further 10% off any sale item.
- Answer 20 QR codes and you get 50% off dinner for two in a choice of the mall eateries.
Do you see what I’m doing here? I’m gamifying the research experience for respondents, increasing engagement AND driving further sales around the mall. Simple.
I really hope someone out there will begin to utalise QR codes for research in these ways. It’s not the future, it’s now.
Betty Adamou is CEO and Founder – Research Through Gaming Ltd and runs the gamification blog GameAccess