Free QR Code Generators for Ecommerce Business Owners

Smartphones and tablets are boosting the popularity of these small 2D barcodes. Here are 5 free online services to create your own QR Codes for ecommerce marketing.

As the number of consumers wielding a camera-enabled smartphone increases, so do the number of QR Codes in online and print advertising. A QR Code (quick response code) is a type of 2D barcode that can be read using special barcode readers or a camera-enabled smartphone loaded with QR reader software.

QR Codes: A Bit of History

QR codes are not a new technology. They actually date back to the 1990's but have only become a popular marketing tool recently, due to the explosion of smartphone use. If you didn't know, QR Code is actually a registered trademark of Denso Wave Incorporated, and it's an ISO standard. The company has made the specification for QR Code available for use by any person or organization, so you can use the QR codes without a license or paying a fee.

QR Codes for Online Marketing

For marketing, the big deal about a QR Code is that it can be embedded with information such as a URL, SMS message, email or plain text. Businesses can code these to do any number of different things when a customer scans it -- like display text, provide contact data or even open a Web page in the browser on the smartphone.  Small business ecommerce site owners can use QR codes to let customers quickly opt-in to an email marketing list or to open a special product page with a discount offer.

If you're thinking about incorporating QR Codes in to your online marketing strategy, here are five free online services to help you create a QR code.

Five Free QR Code Generators

1.  QR Stuff is free to use and you have unlimited use of the QR codes. With this service you can have a "Free User" account and generate as many QR codes as you like. Subscribers (those with a paid subscription fee, starting at $3.95/month) get analytics and dynamic QR code editing when using the QR Stuff URL shortener, along with other features not available in Free User mode.  

QR Stuff supports the following data types: Website URLs (including YouTube Video, Google Maps Location, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, FourSquare and iTunes Link), plain text, telephone number, SMS message, email address, email message, contact details, calendar event and a PayPal Buy Now link.

2.  The ZXing (short for zebra crossing) Project offers a quick and easy online QR Code generator. The project is an open-source, multi-format 1D/2D barcode image processing library implemented in Java, with ports to other languages.  The ZXing Project QR Code generator supports contact information, calendar event, email address, phone number, SMS message, plain text, URL or Wi-Fi network and Geo location data type.

3.  The QR Code Generator by Delivr lets you create QR Codes and download them in PNG, EPS, or SVG formats. You can also register on the site to access editing features, location via device GPS and QR Code tracking. Delivr's QR Code Generator supports URLs, tweets, Foursquare check-ins, iPhone App Store downloads, Android Market downloads, Google Analytics campaigns, Coremetrics campaigns, and more.

4. The Quikqr free QR Code generator lets you create, save, print, email or share the QR Code. The free service does not require you to create an account to use Quikqr. Quikqr has partnered with Moo and Zazzle so you can easily create QR Code t-shirts and Moo cards. Quikqr supports URL and plain text data.

5.  Another option for URL data is to create and share QR Codes with Google's URL Shortener service (goo.gl). If you often use a URL shortener, then you can try Google's goo.gl service, which automatically generates a QR Code. Simply enter a URL to shorten, then view "details" to the right of your new short URL link. This will provide you with a QR Code to the URL you just shortened. You can right-click on the QR Code image to save and share it with others.

More Ecommerce Business Marketing Tips

Are you looking to get a better handle on integrating online marketing into your ecommerce marketing plan? Try these tips and guides for small business ecommerce sites:

Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Vangie Beal has spent the last decade contributing featured articles and reviews to more than 20 technology-focused publications, including Webopedia and Ecommerce-Guide. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.

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