Would Mark Twain have scanned a QR code? - The Packer

Would Mark Twain have scanned a QR code?

08/12/2014 12:39:00 PM
Coral Beach

When smartphones evolved to the point where they could scan quick response codes, many produce companies were among early adopters of the two dimensional codes.

Now, four years into the trend, some in the industry are abandoning the black and white squares. Others, including HarvestMark founder Elliot Grant, say reports of the death of QR codes are like the proverbial premature obituary for Mark Twain — greatly exaggerated.

CMI imported Ambrosia apple bag with QR codeCourtesy CMIUsing redesigned bags for its imported Ambrosia apples this season, Columbia Marketing International is running a QR code test in conjunction with a consumer contest for upscale kitchen gadgets to determine how shoppers access their website.Not comfortable with either of those views, Columbia Marketing International, Wenatchee, Wash., decided to dig for data.

“We’re a little surprised with the initial data,” said Steve Lutz, vice president of Wenatchee, Wash.-based CMI. “Conventional wisdom is that QR codes are dead, but we are still getting a lot of traffic. The problem is we don’t know where the scans are being done, at home or in the store.”

Lutz said a test involving CMI’s Ambrosia apples in pouch bags should reveal what QR codes have done for the company lately.

“The basic motive is to understand how consumers find their way to our website,” Lutz said. “We’re using this test to document what catches shoppers’ attention and identify the methods used to connect to digital offers.”

The test includes new package designs and a consumer contest with “premium kitchen gadgets” as a motivator. Consumers can enter by scanning QR codes on the Ambrosia bags or visiting the CMI website.

Seventy-five days into the test, 46% of contest entries were from the QR codes and 54% were from the company’s Web address. The test is scheduled to conclude at the end of the Ambrosia import season.

Meanwhile, onion company strips QR codes from packages

As CMI assesses its QR codes, sweet onion grower-shipper Shuman Produce Inc., Reidsville, Ga., is killing the codes on its packaging.

Adam Brady, marketing coordinator for Shuman, said after reviewing research studies and scans of its codes, the company decided to phase them out. The company began using QR codes in spring 2011.

“Year to year, we’ve seen the number of interactions decline by nearly 80% over the last four years,” Brady said.

“I still think the mechanism itself is effective. Unfortunately, they’re now seen as too cumbersome to use or misunderstood by consumers who are still unaware of how they function.”

Shuman Produce is replacing QR codes on its packaging with its Web address, Brady said. The Shuman website has been mobile-optimized so it automatically reformats when consumers access it with mobile devices.

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