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We’re 20 years into the revolutionary step change in convenience the internet has brought into our lives. As with all revolutions, an old guard is finding it hard to adapt — in this case retailers, print businesses and all manner of physical-world businesses struggling to keep up with the pace of change and convenience offered online.

These businesses have been looking to offer similar levels of simplicity for years. …

It’s been an interesting week in the code-scanning world. Two of the world’s leading tech companies announced new initiatives in the space.

Firstly, Snapchat announced the expansion of their popular Snapcodes to support websites. Businesses will be able to configure a Snapcode with their website URL and Snapchat users will be able to scan it, from a shop window for example, to get to that business’ site.

This is nothing new in theory — it’s similar to QR codes. But, in the West at least, QR codes never excited the general public. Snapchat, and others like Quikkly, figured out that giving consumers a more obvious branded code acts as a more effective visual trigger to engagement. …

There was an exciting period around 2008 when developers figured out that smartphone cameras could scan QR codes and get people to web sites really quickly. It made a lot of sense as a proposition in many ways…inputting addresses on mobile is slow and error prone, searches can often highlight competitive offers, QR codes are easy to produce and best of all it was free and fast to generate a QR code.

But by 2011, interest in scanning had pretty much died outside of Asia. QR codes were resisted by marketing folks who didn’t appreciate the ugly, un-branded dots on their beautifully-shot artwork. Consumers were confused about what (if anything) would happen when they scanned these blobs and were unsure about what to scan them with. …

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