The Death of the QR Code & What It Means for Your Small Business

Sad news out of marketing world today: The QR code is dead after a long battle with functionality, obsoleteness and terminal over saturation.

QR codes were once thought to be the wave of the future. The black-and-white squares, designed to unlock everything from website content to special offers when scanned with a smartphone, appeared everywhere. It was the next big thing, and small businesses everywhere jumped on the bandwagon.

However, it was a novelty that quickly became a nuisance. To scan the code, smartphone users had to download an after-market app, since Androids and iPhones didn’t include a QR reader. Some codes, once scanned, would take a user to broken links, or sites that weren’t properly optimized for mobile. A 2013 study found that less than 20% of people had scanned a code, making it a waste of time and effort, particularly for small businesses with small budgets.

Although the QR code suffered nobly, it simply couldn’t be saved. Yet there are some innovative new mobile marketing technology that’s taking its place.

Clickable Paper

With QR codes, you had to be close enough to scan the designated square – tough to do on a busy city street. Clickable paper, the latest technology from Ricoh, fixes that problem by allowing you “click” on an image without zooming in on a specific part.

Where QR codes took you to a single landing spot (generally the company website), clickable paper can provide that and more – things like Amazon links, YouTube videos and even the ability to share straight to Facebook.

Near Field Communication

Near field communication (NFC) is exactly what it sounds like – mobile devices in close proximity communicating with each other. It’s quicker and easier than QR codes, since it only requires a user to wave their device over the enabled material to unlock the information.

The potential for NFC in mobile marketing technology is nearly unlimited. A customer could like your small business on Facebook, get operating hours or even make a purchase with a simple wave of their smartphone.


Location-based marketing isn’t new, but iBeacons are set to improve the playing field in small business owners’ favor. iBeacons are sensors that can detect where someone is within inches, helping you better understand where customers are in your store and providing the necessary tools to make a sale.

The mobile marketing technology could be used to deliver information as a customer walks through your front door or send mobile coupons in real time as a patron browses a specific aisle.

The QR code may be dead, but its legacy will live on through its successors. As technology grows and smartphones get … smarter, we’re sure to see marketing trends become more mobile.

Is all this technical talk giving you tremors? Drop Mischa Communications a line, and we’ll you figure out the best way to market your small business for the future.