About 2D barcodes
2D codes are two-dimensional symbols on packaging in the versions QR codes, GS1 QR and GS1 Data Matrix. The codes are able to carry rich amounts of information about products scanned in stores.
Two-dimensional codes enable both traditional scanning at the checkout and mobile scanning with the consumer’s smartphone. As an information carrier, the code offers effective communication throughout the supply chain and directly with the end user of the product.
With a simple mobile scan, the consumer can get detailed product information. In combination with GS1 Digital Link, you can also offer an unlimited menu of web links that can help mobile shoppers engage with your brand.
Why 2D in Retail?
Consumers today need more information about products than ever before. Regulators, the UN, the EU, organisations and industries are pushing towards sustainability, traceability and visibility in the supply chain. One of the effects are new demands for more information.
The classic barcode only contains the product’s Trade Item Number (GTIN), but is no longer enough to meet tomorrow’s requirements and business needs.
Brand owners can meet new demands by encoding more data on the packaging with data carriers that have high information capacity. And retailers will be able to read the information by customizing their systems.
2D codes will be globally implemented and readable in stores’ systems by 2027.
Maintain FIFO, improve inventory accuracy availability and location insight, avoid waste and ensure freshness
Product authentication, share ingredient sourcing info, get supply chain visibility and win consumer trust
Strengthen brand integrity, prevent sale of expired or recalled product and fight counterfeiting
Share information on recycling, enable circular economy, prevent waste and access farm to fork data.
Get access to brand authorised information, view promotions, recipes and win brand engagement.
Marketing goals on-pack, better ability for regulatory compliance and enhanced consumer experience.
A global 2D program
A global transformation is taking place where brand owners and retailers collaborate towards packaging with a barcode and 2D code. The initiative to go from striped to checkered comes from industry-leading global players and covers all product categories in retail and CPG, including variable weight products.
Get involved in the 2D implementation
Join our working group
2D in Retail is a working group where you work together with your international industry colleagues. The collaboration aims to globally implement 2D codes and future-proof scanning in retail.
Other working groups
GS1 has formed several working groups and teams to enable industry leaders to collaborate.
Read about industry initiatives, ongoing work and case studies from the Retail and CPG industry.
Standards and guidelines
Here you will find shortcuts to standards, specifications and open source code for implementation.
GS1 and 2D barcodes
Questions and answers
Here are frequently asked questions and answers about 2D barcodes and other things you may want to know about GS1.
Go to FAQ