After the derisory efforts of Waitrose to properly utilise QR codes, it's disheartening to see Debenhams make a brand new mistake.
At the bottom of tonight's Evening Standard is this advert from Debenhams.
The QR code immediately caught my eye and - being the saddo that I am - I immediatley whipped out ZXing and scanned it in.
What goodies would it net me? A URL to visit their mobile site? Contact details for a Christmas order line?
Let me repeat that...
Mean anything to you? Nope? Me neither. I even read it with another scanner to see if my phone was going bonkers. It was not.
"db::LIST::static-0011445" What on earth can that mean? It was then that I noticed the instructions next to the code.
What? Let me count the ways this is wrong...
- What on earth does "shop the ad" mean? Is it a typo for "scan the ad"?
- Roughly 5% of Debenhams customers have an iPhone - why is this restricted just to them?
- I don't know how many people have already downloaded the Debenhams app - but fewer than 500 people have rated it. With an average rating of 3* - it's unlikely many more will grab it.
The customer interaction is currently "Do I have an iPhone (probably no). Have I installed the app (probably no). Can I install this 6.4MB app while I'm on the train (probably no). Now let me scan the advert."
What kind of response rate is that likely to get?
How They Should Have Done It
Here's how the code should work - in my opinion.
- Point the code at http://m.debenhams.com/0011445 - that way, the 95% of phone which aren't iPhone will have somewhere to go. If there isn't a mobile Debenhams site - make it redirect to an advert hosted on YouTube.
- If an iPhone visits that URL, check to see if they have the application installed. If they don't, redirect them to the iTunes store.
Pretty damn simple.
Remember - most of your customers don't have the same phone as all the cool kids in your marketing department. Not all your customers live and breath your brand - don't expect them to have your application on their phone.