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Marketing and Branding Blog | SilkCards

Are QR Codes on Business Cards Out of Style?

[fa icon="calendar"] Jan 17, 2017 1:25:00 PM / by Henry Fan

are qr codes on business cards out of style?

Do you remember the QR code craze? Its seems that not too long ago QR codes on business cards, signs, and marketing pieces were all the rage, yet the trend has all but disappeared just as fast. So the question is, is a QR code right for your business card, or will it make you seem out of touch with current trends?

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When QR Codes Are Used

The first thing to consider is when QR codes are still actually used. While the momentum of QR codes has died off and many industries are looking for the next big trend, there are still places that utilize QR codes on their business cards. Tech people, We Chat users, and industries in Japan are all still big users of QR codes and enjoy the ability to have their customers quickly scan their card to get their contact information.

Related: Can a Business Card Give You Confidence?

Business Card Design With QR Code

...But QR Codes Aren't Often Used Anymore

As with any new technological advancement, there was a lot of excitement when QR codes first came out. Many companies saw an opportunity to market to the tech generation and were excited to see results. Unfortunately the return was just not there. The scanning average was only about 4 to 5% and many marketers felt that their money could be better spent elsewhere.

Reasons Why QR Codes Died Despite Smart Phone Popularity

While there are many reasons that there has been a decline in QR code use on business cards, some of the main reasons include:

  • Many People Do Not Have QR Scanners - While it is as simple as downloading a free app, many users don't have one readily on their phone, and when they begin to run out of phone memory, the first things to go are applications that are not used that often. Additionally the code scanners can take some time to scan and require certain positioning to get the right angle. This can be frustrating to a user and can take more time than simply typing in the information.
  • The Codes Can Take Up Valuable Real Estate on Marketing Materials - While QR codes were not meant to be a big part of the design on a business card or other promotional item, they often can draw the focus and not always in a positive way. Due to the size required to get a good scan, they can take up precious space on your card that can be used for brand messaging or more important imagery.
  • The Data Transfer is a One Way Street - Unfortunately the data from the QR code simply goes from the code into the user’s device. There is no information gained from the customer scanning or even any way to determine how many users are actually scanning the code. This makes logistics from a marketing perspective not worth the effort.
  • Not Everyone Knows What it is - While many tech savvy consumers know what QR codes are used for, there are many people who see it and don't understand what they are supposed to do with it. Often times things that are not easily understood or apparent are ignored by consumers.

With little return rates and difficulty of use, QR codes are ultimately becoming a trend of the past. However, if you are in one of the niches that still actively uses them, it is still a good idea to include them on your business card. Otherwise, it may just be taking up too much space on your business card. 

Related: 11 Great Designs for Business Card Layout Inspiration

As a business card company, we still see quite a large number of clients utilizing the QR code, so it's far from being completely dead. But is it right for you? When you're making these kinds of decisions on the design of your business card, SILKCARDS wants to be your partner and make the process easier with better results. To see what we can do, request a FREE sample pack!

Topics: business cards

Henry Fan

Written by Henry Fan

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