The QR code is dead, long live the QR code

QR Code Ring

QR Code Ring

We have all heard the famous quote, or indeed misquote attributed to Mark Twain, “reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated!” Well if QR Codes could speak they would be pretty much feeling the same way at the moment.

Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, the humble QR code simply refuses to drift into obscurity. Granted, they are quirky by design and oft times difficult to register; they have been used in some seriously innovative ways! I wrote about a few examples of this innovation back in 2011 that highlights how Southern Koreans are exposed to QR codes on a daily basis.

As has been written about on countless occasions; QR codes have far too high a barrier to entry because there are no handset manufacturers who have a built in piece of software designed specifically for reading them. This will forever remain true until one of the major manufacturers makes their camera automatically check to see if it should be scanning for a QR code without having to install a piece of aftermarket software on your phone.

With that being said; I recently saw what must be one of the most innovative uses of the medium in a long time. It was so good that it made me look past the fact that I had to go and fetch a QR code scanner from the Google Play Store.

By the way, if you click on that link – you will see another reason why there is an issue with QR Code adoption. There are 240 QR Code readers in the Play Store – I was just too frightened of pushing the “more” button in case there were page after page of well, “more” readers.

Anyway back to the point. At the restaurant we were at; there was a A-Frame advert on the table. Initially I thought it was the special of the day of something, but when I looked closer I realized it was an advert for a QR Code application that the restaurant was using.

The app was called “Zapper” and it is essentially a payment gateway app. I was super intrigued so obviously being a bit of a geek I had to try it! When the bill arrives there is a unique QR code on the slip that corresponds to your bill.

Once you have registered it pops up your bill amount; allows you to add a tip and as quickly and easily as that – your bill is paid within a few deft clicks!

I must say I was a little skeptical at first. There are no real security settings on the app (apart from a pre-transaction password) and no visible security protocol logos etc. I basically went on the recommendations that we re on the App Store and the fact that both Visa and MasterCard.

If I were to give Zapper a bit of advice — I would say that you need to negotiate with the merchants that you have integrated with. There needs to be a benefit to make me go through the effort of registering for Zapper and then giving it my personal details. Convenience is really only a “after the fact” benefit.

In other words, only after the fact that you have registered is it easier to pay your bill. I mean initial benefits like: cheaper prices; preferential checkout queues; unique in-store specials and so on.

Make it worth my while otherwise this is going to go the way of every other QR Code invention. It is going to be a forgotten relic that was a really good idea once upon a time!

Image: Individual Design via Flickr.

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