The Barcode (R)evolution

2D in Retail

Retail is moving towards a global evolution from classic barcodes to two-dimensional QR and DataMatrix. Commerce simply gets a new dimension and more benefits for consumers and businesses.

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.

About the barcode revolution

The benefits of 2D

2d-koder-inom-retail rätt information
Inventory Management
Maintain FIFO, improve inventory accuracy availability and location insight, avoid waste and ensure freshness
2d codes in retail - provides better traceability
Product authentication, share ingredient sourcing info, get supply chain visibility and win consumer trust
2d-koder-inom-retail säkerhet
Strengthen brand integrity, prevent sale of expired or recalled product and fight counterfeiting
2d-koder-inom-retail hållbarhet
Share information on recycling, enable circular economy, prevent waste and access farm to fork data.
2d-koder-inom-retail ger bättre konsumentupplevelse
Consumer Engagement
Get access to brand authorised information, view promotions, recipes and win brand engagement.
2d-koder-inom-retail ger bättre förpackningar
Improved Packaging
Marketing goals on-pack, better ability for regulatory compliance and enhanced consumer experience.
2D codes-in-retail is a global program

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.

2D codes in retail - join the working group
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.
Submit interest
Coop in Switzerland implements 2D
Phil Archer of GS1 explains what is a QR Code.
2D implementation at Woolworths
Belgilux, 2D Codes for variable weight

Standards and guidelines

Here you will find shortcuts to standards, specifications and open source code for implementation.

Kläder i butik
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

    Curious about 2D barcodes?

    GS1 Sweden continuously invites to information meetings where we will tell you more details about what applies and how you can start an implementation journey. By filling out the contact form, you will receive an invitation later.

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