Lately, QR Codes have been all the rage in conversations online amongst real estate types. Just look here on ActiveRain for blog posts about QR Codes and you'll see what I mean. Then there's the tweets, the posts outside of the ActiveRain, the magazine articles, the conversations, the vendors, the classes and webinars...
(If you're asking, "What in the world is he talking about?," I'd recommend reading this simple explanation of QR Codes from Lani at AgentGenius - published way back in 2008.)
QR Codes are being talked about everywhere I look. So today, while reading an email that mentioned them I threw out the idea on Twitter that I just don't get all the hoopla. Although I think QR Codes are pretty cool stuff (I love new technology), I just couldn't seem to find (in my own head) a real justification for all the talk about them.
The Curious Response.
Within seconds of my tweet, people started to chime in. The results ranged from the I don't get it either variety to the thought that they are still an emerging technology. I even had one person reply that they had a showing on their listing thanks to a QR Code (they didn't go into any detail).
While I can see the case for QR Codes being somewhat new and interesting and I fully agree that as they become more pervasive we as an industry might need to revamp our entire way of doing things, I still struggle with what makes them any different than a trusted search engine. Perhaps we should first consider how we're using them before I make any judgments. As with any new technology, the possibilities are endless, but let's stick with the basics for now - adding QR Codes to real estate marketing materials.
Want more info? There's a QR Code waiting just for you.
So let's pretend I put a QR Code on my marketing materials for a new listing. The idea is to give people more information by using the QR Code. You put it on your flyers, your signs, and all promo materials. The QR Code is simply an encoded message to the QR Code Reader telling it to perform some action - in this case, to visit a website (let's say a single property website for my latest listing). A potential buyer pulls up out front of the listing, but the flyer box is empty...there's no info about the property without them calling me up and asking (and no one likes the phone these days...how 1980s of you!). Being savvy tech-types though, they notice the QR Code on my sign, whip out their latest Andro-App-Berry, and quickly take a snapshot of the QR Code. Whiz-bang, they are teleported to the website of my choosing to learn all about this fantastic property.
To me (and this is part of why I don't "get it"), it would make just as much sense to google the address or the agent's name and get the same info. Yes, perhaps a QR Code will get you to the information you're looking for quicker, but does the speed outweigh the quest for more information?
QR Codes go mainstream.
The most frequent response to my tweet was along the lines of they'll be useful when they're more mainstream. Of course, I have to agree with this - any technology is more useful as it approaches its peak of adopt-ability (laser discs weren't very useful until more people had...oh wait...just kidding). I'll definitely be curious to see how the mainstream adopts and makes use of the QR Code, but even then I have to admit I'm not that impressed (I'm interested and excited, just not impressed). I think I just need something more concrete than what I've seen so far.
Are you using QR Codes? Have you had an success with them? Any interesting stories? Give me a reason to love the QR Code...please.
photo courtesy of PSPorter
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Matt Stigliano, Realtor® Becker Properties | (210) 646-HOME | www.RErockstar.com
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