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Do QR codes work?


By Seth Kaplan
RISMEDIA, July 6, 2011

Over the past six months, QR Codes - those funny looking square bar codes - have become all the rage. They started popping up in retail stores, magazines, and every real estate tradeshow in this hemisphere. Real estate agents were anxious to use them and vendors were anxious to incorporate them as part of their product (Why not? They're free.) as "added value".

The problem this created is that very few took the time to truly understand QR codes and introduced them in fundamentally flawed ways; linking QR codes to traditional websites, for example. Fast forward six months to today and what you hear is frustration when it comes to QR codes. Statements such as "I tried them and they don't work," or "people aren't really using them" are common place.

QR Codes are a phenomenal emerging (in this country at least) technology that when used correctly can work to your advantage. However, they are not the end-all-be-all and there must be a strategy in place when utilizing them; best practice is to have them accompany your mobile web strategy.

One particular firm that not only took the time to understand them, but create a sound strategy around them is Patterson-Schwartz Real Estate (PSRE), Delaware, members of RISMedia’s Real Estate Information Network® (RREIN). Having built a robust mobile website to meet the demands of the increased mobile traffic to their URL, QR Codes seemed like a great fit to accompany that as well as the existing text-for-info solution they have mastered in their market place. Keeping it simple, PSRE began rolling out QR Codes on their For Sale signs at the end of March. The QR Code they implemented drove scanners right to the mobile website, in particular the GPS search option, which allows them to see not only the house they are scanning about, but other nearby listings as well.

The QR Code was printed on all new signs - so as new listings were won by PSRE the QR Codes on those signs quickly hit the market. With a fair amount of signs in the marketing by April 1, the number of scans started to pick up and rise quickly. There were a total of 204 scans in April, which increased nearly 20% in both May and June. To date, over 700 mobile users have scanned the QR code on their signs - that's almost eight scans a day!

As mentioned, QR drives traffic to the company's mobile website, where consumers can have an experience tailored specifically to them as a mobile user and get quick and efficient access to the real estate information they are looking for. More importantly, these scanners will now recognize PSRE as a reliable mobile destination for real estate information that they can return to over and over again.

The strategy employed by PSRE was simple and effective and garnered clear and measurable results. QR Codes do work in real estate for real estate consumers. Don't give up on them just yet!

For more information on how to create a sound QR Code strategy visit

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