Print & Mobile Phones: QR Codes, NFC Square Off
Currently, the primary differences in how QR codes and NFC match up are manufacturing, cost, capabilities and public perception. Aside from the technical aspects and logic behind a QR code campaign, QR code generators are quite accessible and free. There are hundreds of free QR code generators in the public domain that anyone can use. These codes can easily be copied or saved to your computer and incorporated into some sort of print collateral.
Programming NFC tags is currently not as commonplace. Anyone who buys an NFC-enabled mobile device can create NFC tags—the problem is the availability of smart phones that currently support NFC. You can purchase turnkey solutions from Nokia, Tagstand, et al., which are pre-programmed (the most basic programming resolves to a URL). Or, as more NFC phones become available, you will be able to program your own with any NFC device, some tags and a tag-writer app.
The odds are you already have a computer, access to the Internet and a means to produce print collateral. In which case, creating QR codes will add only a nominal cost or will be free. Similarly, the odds also are you do not have an NFC- capable smart phone, a tag-writer app or a supply of tags. At a minimum, you will need to purchase some tags, and you will most likely need to pay someone to program them for you. The cost is roughly 1-2 cents per tag, but is also dependent on quantity, memory size and complexity.
There are emerging companies and platforms coming weekly to the NFC market. NFC tags continue to become cheaper and easier to create. Advancements are occurring at such a rapid pace that much of this will change (for the better) shortly. Until there's a massive shift in the way the chips are produced, NFC is cost-prohibitive because a person can generate a QR code for free online, and print it on just about anything.