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The only acceptable use for QR Codes

Fri, 07/13/2012 - 9:01am
Kasey Panetta, Associate Editor

 As you may have noticed, I’m not a fan of QR Codes, particularly by government entities, but mostly in any situation.

I find the QR Code located on a real estate "For Sale" sign on the winding, mostly uninhabited (population: 6), country road where my house is particularly annoying. Is anyone pulling over to scan that?

 At best they’re ineffective. At worst they’re a useless, eyesore that most people ignore. Only 14 million people per month have scanned a QR code, which is less than five percent of the total mobile user base, according to a study by ComScore.

 All that being said, I don’t begrudge a private entity from giving the codes a whirl, provided they do so in a creative, subtle way like the Moore Brothers Wine Company, a wine company working directly with growers in Germany, France, and Italy to obtain artisan wines, with stores located in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Recently, Moore Brothers began adding QR codes to their wine labels, which can direct consumers to the tasting notes available online. The tasting notes include a general description about the specific wine, suggestion for several food pairings, availability at the three stores, some background notes about the region from which the wine was sent, and some traditional foods of the region. Plus, some wines offer interviews with the grape growers.


For more experienced wine buyers, it's a way to learn more about the wine without leaving the store or trying to talk to the guy stocking the shelves. It's an efficient (finally) way to convey information that you need to know at the time of purchase, like if it will go well with the fish/steak/family reunion.

This is a useful tool for amateur wine buyers looking to try something new, but it’s also a smart way to appeal to a younger audience who might be intimidated by all the various choices on the wine rack.

I should note that, even though QR codes generally haven’t caught on, most people who use them are in a younger age bracket. People between 18 and 24 at least know what a QR code is, with 23 percent having used one for information as compared to 15 percent in overall users, according to research by comScoreMobiLens. Obviously, it’s not incredibly effective, but they’re hitting a demographic of future tech-savvy wine-buyers.

It’s just like adding a QR code to a ketchup bottle, except people are actually interested in the information the QR code connects to.

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