Date of Award

Spring 2012

Document Type

Distinction Paper


Business, Accounting, & Economics


Dr. Michael A. Levin, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Dr. Bruce C. Bailey, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Jennifer Merkowitz, D.M.A.


consumer behavior, QR codes, retail, Technology Acceptance Model, TAM

Subject Categories

Advertising and Promotion Management | Business | Marketing


Corresponding with the increased use of smartphones and other mobile devices equipped with a camera, quick response (QR) codes have been introduced. QR codes allow large amounts of data (e.g., product information, discounts, usage suggestions) to be compressed into a small, printed square. To access the information, consumers must scan the QR code with a smart device (smartphone, tablet, etc). Korean and Japanese consumers appear more willing to scan QR codes in retail settings compared to their American counterparts. This reluctance is explored through the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM).

Furthermore, consumers’ motivation toward QR code use is made explicit and explained by extending TAM to include apathetic motivation. The evidence suggests that extrinsic motivation exists through apathetic motivation, which influences consumers’ likelihood of using a QR code. If retail or brand managers want to encourage consumers to scan QR codes, then retail or brand managers will have to provide greater forms of extrinsic motivation to overcome consumers’ higher levels of apathetic motivation. Examples of motivators include discounts only available through a QR code and making QR codes more visible to consumers.

The larger implications of this model’s explanation of QR code adoption by consumers extend to enabling retailers to create more efficient marketing campaigns, and to better predict what later technological trends might best succeed with consumers. Consumers reap the benefits of increased convenience, savings on products (via promotional offers), and better-directed marketing campaigns. Simultaneously, retailers increase the perception of their brand as being technologically up-to-date and gain new utilities to track consumer interest in ongoing campaigns, resulting in a win-win situation for both retailers and consumers.