There is a huge amount of conversation about Quick Response (QR) codes, and their application to the real estate industry. You know what they are, those squiggly little boxes that can be scanned by your smart phone to access a website or perform a series of actions. The idea was created by Toyota as an inventory control program. Now we are using them to send consumers to our websites, our online business cards, to single property websites, and a variety of other uses.
But is the technology really beneficial or is its biggest benefit showing the consumer that you are technologically forward thinking? Here are a couple of things to think about;
- Not all smart phones or tablets have the native ability to read QR codes. Therefore you need to assume that either the consumer already has downloaded a QR reading app or is willing to do so to scan your QR code.
- Using the QR codes requires the consumer to take a number of steps – wake their phone, load the app they’re using, then get close enough to get a good accurate scan (see below), scan the QR code, and then wait while their phone executes the QR code commands.
- QR codes are limited by at 10:1 ratio. That means that the QR code needs to be 1″ square for every 10 inches away from the code that the phone is held. So while a QR code for a business card or flyer might get away with being 1 inch square, any QR application that is on a sign will probably need to be a little larger.
- If a buyer was in a car, and you wanted them to scan a QR code on a real estate sign, you probably want to allow at least 10 feet for the scanning distance. That would require a QR code that was 12 inches on each side – a lot of space to take up on a normal yard sign. As far as using them on sign riders, most sign riders are too narrow to allow the consumer to be very far from the sign.
- If the site you are sending the consumer to is not a mobile site, or has not been set up to be “mobile friendly” there may be a long load time, and a poor consumer experience.
- If the sign is behind a cyclone fence or in the middle of a large lawn, above or below the grade of the road, the problem is increases
- The longer the URL or the more complex the information contained in the QR code, the denser the code is, and the more difficulty the scanner faces in reading the code. Though you can use URL shorteners to make a long URL easier to handle, these programs sometimes create broken links, making the consumer experience more of a challenge.
In the interest of full disclosure, I use QR codes in my company’s marketing in several ways, and have even been interviewed about them and spoke positively about their use, because at the very least, the use of QR codes demonstrates to the consumer that you are technologically proficient and in tune with the latest trends. But, that having been said, as with any tool or new piece of technology, you need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of using it and what its integration to your business plan will mean to you. I love new and being at the bleeding edge, but they call it the bleeding edge for a reason.
By the way, just to be fair – my next post will tell you a few good uses for QR codes – Do you have any you would like to share here?