Not too long ago, experts were looking at QR codes as the next big thing in marketing. Brands responded accordingly by stamping them all over print media, while trying to find more creative uses for the trend that first got its start in Japan. But these days, it seems as if the QR code has lost steam. And while there is still a chance that it reaches wide spread usage, there are also quite a few reasons why it may never truly take off the ground.

  1.  Compatibility issue

Although many of the newer smartphones are more than capable of the processing them, not all phones are compatible with QR codes. Believe it or not, but there are still many people who are using older feature phones that make it difficult or impossible to read the complex images on these two-dimensional bar codes. Users of older smartphones could also run into problems due to their low-resolution cameras. At the most, older phones may only be able to process codes on larger items, which essentially limits the type of media a marketer can use.

  1.  They’re a security risk

QR codes have a lot to offer, but unfortunately, they are being abused for malicious purposes. Seeing how it is so easy to use them in cyber attacks, it was only a matter of time before this happened. The code a user scans may take them to a website, but that site could be harboring Trojans, viruses, and all sorts of harmful applications. Even a site that looks legitimate might be a part of a phishing scam designed to steal the user’s hard earned money or worse – their identity. It is the user’s responsibility to exercise caution, but when dealing with QR codes, there is only so much security one can apply.

  1.  Better options exist

And finally, the main reason the QR code could be destined to fail as a marketing mechanism is because there are simply better options out there. Mobile visual search or MVS, is proving to be a great alternative, particularly for mobile marketing purposes. MVS allows the consumer to interact with an image that is actually familiar, rather than the strange looking bar code etched on a QR code. With a simple snap of the camera on their mobile phone, a user can be instantly connected with information associated with that image. If it is a product, they can actually buy it right there on the spot. Aside from being faster and more efficient, MVS technology is also more secure than QR technology, which definitely matters to the often skeptical user.


Once hyped as the key to bridging the gap between the real and digital worlds, the future is all of a sudden looking bleak for QR codes. Do they have a use in the marketing landscape? Of course they do, but with technologies such as MVS emerging, they could prove to be a total bust sooner than later.