retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Los Angeles Times has a piece about quick response codes, or QRs, described as “barcodes for the digital age ... that convey far more information, and which can be scanned by consumers with smartphones and tablet computers to open a Web page, play a video or even place a call.

“The technology has been around for years, but only recently has it been embraced by U.S. retailers and other companies looking for fresh ways to connect with customers. The number of QR scans recorded by the industry's leading code maker has soared to 2 million a month, nearly double the rate last year, and up from 80,000 a month in 2009 ... Their widespread adoption in the U.S. has paralleled the growth of smartphones and tablets with high-quality cameras and apps; Nielsen Co. projects that about half of all Americans will own smartphones by year's end.”
KC's View:
Now, some may be skeptical about this technology. Another paragraph from the Times story:

“Consumer awareness still lags behind. Only 5% of total smartphone owners in the U.S. have scanned a QR, according to Forrester Research. But it's on a sharp curve upward. About 25% of Android phone owners and 7% of iPhone users tried out a QR in the second quarter of 2010, and that number is expected to rise this year, Forrester said.”

The worst thing anyone can do is dismiss this sort of technology, or relegate it to back-burner position. Because this is the kind of thing that can mushroom overnight...

But this can be a good thing, because QRs can be a forum in which to provide the kind of transparency that we often talk about here on MNB - almost limitless amounts of nutritional and safety information, recipes, cooking tips, etc ...