A Quick Response Code (commonly referred to as a QR code) is a black-and-white square barcode readable by smartphones that often links to a website. The benefits are obvious: rather than make a potential customer type a long URL into their mobile web browser, all it takes is aiming a camera at a barcode to be instantly transported to the exact web address. Plus, since basic QR codes can be generated easily and often for free, the costs of giving them a try are low.
In our increasingly touchless world, the QR code has soared in popularity. You’ve probably used one to view the menu at a restaurant recently, or seen them popping up on billboards. This increase in visibility, combined with full integration in most smartphone cameras, means more customers of all ages and levels of tech-savvy are becoming comfortable using QR codes.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways QR codes can be useful for your craft business, as well as highlight a few of the best free and paid options for generating QR codes.
QR Codes Uses
There are many useful ways you can integrate a QR code into your product packaging. Since a code can link to anything, you can tailor the link to be way more specific than just your homepage. For example, consumable goods like soaps or lotions can include a QR code link to that exact product listing, making it easy for a customer to reorder their favorite products. Crafting kits can include links to instructional videos or crafting suggestions. You can even encourage your customers to leave a review or submit feedback with a QR code.
An obvious place for a QR code is on your business cards. Link to your website or social media for easy, in-the-moment follows.
You may have noticed several cashless payment options, such as Venmo, which will generate a QR code you can print out for customers to scan at the point of sale. You can also use a QR code in your displays to provide more information about a product, or to display similar options on your website that you weren’t able to display in person (for example, linking to prints in different sizes, or jewelry in different colors.) Finally, a QR code can make it easy for customers to follow you on social media or sign-up for your newsletter.
In your craft
QR codes don’t have to be just selling tools! Story Patches is a business that prints QR code labels for quilts that link to an audio message, adding history and a personal touch to a finished quilt. QR codes are a unique way to add an audio or video component to your craft. Since QR codes can link to nearly anything, the only limit is your creativity.
Best QR Code Generators
If you’re looking for a no-frills, free QR code generator, Shopify offers an easy-to-use resource from a website that many business owners already know and trust. While it lacks some of the customization options that other free QR code generators offer, it’s fast and simple. If you’re new to QR codes or don’t want to get bogged down with features, this is a good place to start.
Beaconstac offers both free and paid QR code generators. The free option offers a little more customization than Shopify’s QR code generator. You can change the color of the QR code, or choose from various social media logos for a center image–both particularly useful features if you plan to display multiple QR codes at a table display, for example.
Beaconstac’s paid service has four different levels, the cheapest of which is The Starter plan ($5 a month when billed annually). The Starter plan includes unlimited code generation, 25,000 annual QR code scans, and up to three dynamic QR codes, which enable you to change the URL linked to a QR code without updating the code itself. If that’s not enough, the Lite plan, at $15 a month billed annually, includes 50 dynamic QR codes and 75,000 annual scans. Both plans offer a 14-day free trial.
With Beaconstac’s paid service, you’ll also have access to analytics to keep track of how well your QR codes are performing, including data like what times of day are producing the most scans. The paid option also allows for more customization of QR codes, including adding a custom logo.
Like Beaconstac, QR Code Generator has both free and paid options for QR code generation. QR Code Generator mainly uses templates for QR code generation. For example, their social media QR code generator will link to a link tree that links to all your social media pages. This is nice if you want something a little more than a basic link to a website, but makes QR Code Generator slightly more complicated to use than Beaconstac.
QR Code Generator is also a little pricier than Beaconstac, but it also offers a 14-day free trial so you can try all the features for free. The cheapest option, the Starter plan, is $9.99 a month when billed annually. All levels include unlimited static QR code and full QR code customization, as well as analytics that details the location, date, time, and device operating system of each scan. The Starter plan includes 2 dynamic QR codes and up to 10,000 scans. The next level, the Advanced plan, is $15.99 a month when billed annually and includes 50 dynamic codes, unlimited scans, and a bulk code creation feature.
If you want free dynamic QR codes, the QR Code Generator is a solid option. The free dynamic QR codes will display an ad when scanned, but for $5 a month billed annually you can upgrade to an ad-free option. QR Code Generator also allows for free static QR codes and even provides some analytics with their free account option.
QR codes are versatile, easy to use and make, and often free to generate. With QR codes becoming more and more popular, there’s never been a better time to give one a try.
Sarah James is a freelance writer who has covered creativity, culture, and tech for Creative Bloq, Submittable Content for Creatives, TechRadar, and more. Her debut historical fiction novel, The Woman With Two Shadows, will be released in 2022 from Sourcebooks. Find her online at thesarahjames.com