What is a dynamic QR code?

Dynamic QR codes send users on to specific information or web pages, just like any other QR code. What makes them "dynamic" is that the URL encoded in them redirects to a second URL that can be changed on demand, even after a code is printed. Static QR codes can't be changed in that way.

What is a dynamic QR code?

Some projects benefit from a QR code that can have it’s link destination updated even after being printed or generated. Dynamic QR codes are preferred to static QR codes when that kind of flexibility to change the destination app or website is necessary. Sometimes the content accessed by a QR code needs an update but changing the original destination content is not practical or even possible. There are plenty of reasons for why that might happen but it could be as simple as a lack of administrative access to the original content. Another reason arises when QR codes are printed on packaging. In this case the need to split regional content can be managed more easily and quickly using serialized and dynamic QR codes. With a dynamic QR code, even after the QR code has been printed and put into circulation, the scan destinations are centrally managed and administered or they can be changed based on whatever program logic is helpful. Some people might be surprised to discover that there is technically no difference between a printed static QR code and a dynamic QR code. The function differences between them are made possible when a computer application manages what happens with the static URL embedded in the QR code. For dynamic QR codes, the system is setup to store a static URL that is always associated with the printed or otherwise displayed QR code. Then you have the possibility for an additional, dynamic and changeable forwarding URL. This makes all the difference between these two kinds of QR codes. Which version is best for a use case depends on what your expectations and needs are.

What is the difference between static and dynamic QR codes?

One way of looking at the difference between these QR code varieties is that dynamic QR codes and static QR codes are categorized based on how many levels of URLs are accessed once the the codes are scanned. A dynamic QR code depends on not just one URL being stored, but at least two URLs. The second URL is a redirect that follows the first address hard coded into the QR code. In fact for both dynamic and static QR codes, the first URL is hard coded, or stored, as static and unchanging text. For dynamic QR codes, this first URL can be thought of as the address of a simple software application. The main purpose of this storage application is to get the user to another URL that is set or changed at any time by an administrator. If the final destination URL in a QR code is one and the same as the hard coded URL, in other words it is stored in the QR code pattern, then you are dealing with a static QR code. In summary, any QR code with an editable final destination URL is a “dynamic” QR code.

Ferrara uses dynamic QR codes for thousands of stock keeping units (SKUs) to disclose GMO information as required by the U.S. bioengineered food disclosure standard.

Case Study: Dynamic QR codes for labeling on Ferrara candy

The problem with QR codes.

Although the minimum required setup for dynamic QR codes isn’t complicated beyond a two URL setup, the host that is reached by the first URL must be online and functioning properly. Anything less than that and the user experience of scanning the QR code will collapse spectacularly. The basic cause for dynamic QR code failure is almost always a problem with the app or server that the QR code points toward. Such problems might be caused by configuration errors, by the server being down for any reason, or in some cases when the server is no longer running at all. This problem is more common than you’d think. The best way around this is to have high confidence that the dynamic QR code generator you use has an uptime guarantee. A lack of reliability in your dynamic QR code service provider can easily lead to wasted time, loss of reputation, or even cost your company quite a lot of money in fines and market denial. The new EU wine label law that is effective as of December of 2023 is a good example of this. In that case, there are some label information requirements that the EU allows wine companies to leave off the label and provide via a QR code. If the required information is not accessible by the QR code on the label, without a fix the wine brand won’t be allowed to be sold in the E.U.

What is a dynamic QR code generator?

There are dozens of companies that offer QR code generation for free or at a low cost: they aren’t difficult to find online. Finding a provider that is reliable and provides certainty of uptime is not as easy though. It’s hard to be sure if a QR code generator site can protect you from broken QR codes that can lead to users reaching error pages (404 error). Near 100% uptime for static QR codes and dynamic QR codes is a minimum requirement for businesses using QR codes on their products.

In the best case scenario, a failed dynamic QR code can be annoying and require a fast fix. In the worst case, a link failure from a QR code can leave a company open to non-compliance fines, something that is become a bigger risk as more companies take advantage of the benefits of QR codes while sometimes cutting corners on implementation.

A dynamic QR code manager solution with enterprise-grade reliability and hosting is imperative for companies using dynamic QR codes. The software should also include a landing page editor and hosting with technical features suitable for regulatory compliance.

When choosing a dynamic QR code generator you’ll want to ensure that it has enterprise-grade reliability and hosting. You’ll want to also make sure that the benefits offered include landing page hosting suitable for regulatory compliance. If you aren’t sure which dynamic QR code solution best suits your project requirements, you can consult with a Scantrust expert, at no cost, and get your questions answered.

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