The Global Language of Business
  1. Home
  2. Industries
  3. Retail
  4. 2D Barcodes
 2D barcodes: A New Dimension in Retail

The future of product identification in retail

To better enable the digital consumer, the retail industry is embarking on one of the biggest changes since the original introduction of the barcode: the adoption of 2D barcodes. 2D barcodes, like QR codes for example, can include more data than the current EAN/UPC linear barcode (like GTIN, expiry date, lot number or serial number, and also internet links to ingredients and allergen information, product pics and videos, consumer reviews…). This journey will dramatically enhance the experiences of consumers, brands, retailers and everyone in between. GS1 is supporting industry around the world to harness the power of these barcodes and symbols to enable new business solutions for today... and into the future.

Information about the 2D Programme at GS1

2D barcode scanning Tier 1 final results

2D Barcodes at Retail Point-of-Sale Getting Started Guide (Feb 2022)

2D in Retail: A New Dimension in barcodes position paper (Sept 2021)

The Barcode (r)Evolution position paper (2020)

2D in Retail FAQs

2D barcode scanning test plan: Executive Summary (Sept 2021)

2D barcode scanning Tier 1 preliminary results (Feb 2022)

Ways to get involved in the 2D Programme at GS1

Contact us to register your interest in joining the 2D Collateral Working Group or the Brand Marketing Discovery Group

GS1 has formed multiple Community Engagement workgroups and teams to enable industry leads to collaborate. The first is the 2D Collateral Working Group, which is focused on developing and revising collateral, checklists and getting-started guides needed by all to initiate pilots and drive implementation. The second is the Brand Marketing Discovery Group, which will explore what is needed to enable industry supply chain practitioners to engage their brand marketing colleagues in a cohesive supply chain/POS/Consumer Engagement strategy.

Join the Solution Provider 2D Focus Group

The Solution Provider 2D Focus Group is a group of experts that work together to help industry users migrate towards data rich barcodes. This group is designed for solution providers and other stakeholders (e.g., retailers) across all markets that support on-pack coding solutions.

Join the 2D in Retail Working Group

The 2D in Retail Working Group will provide a standardised industry agreement on how 2D barcodes will function in open global supply chains alongside today’s 1D barcodes (EAN/UPC and GS1 DataBar).
Any company using GS1 standards to barcode their products and any company that scans barcodes on products can join the 2D in Retail Working Group.

Implementation guidance

GS1 AIDC Fresh Foods Sold at Point-of-Sale Implementation Guideline

This updated Fresh Foods implementation guide includes information for using GS1 DataMatrix 2D symbols for variable measure fresh foods (such as fruits, vegetables, meats, seafood, etc.).

GS1 Digital Link factsheet

The GS1 Digital Link Standard enables GS1 identifiers (such as the GTIN) to be incorporated into 2D QR codes that can enable both consumer engagement AND product scan at POS. In addition to the short factsheet above, see also the GS1 Digital Link webpage, which includes more information on the standard.

Additional resources

2D in Retail FAQs

The GS1 GitHub includes barcode and GS1 Digital Link open source code to support 2D pilots and implementations

Get involved

Collaborate with industry leaders to develop collateral and explore ways to connect Brand Marketing goals with supply chain goals.

Get involved

The Solution Provider 2D Focus Group is a group of experts that work together to help industry users migrate towards data rich barcodes.

Any questions?

We can help you get started or show you how to leverage GS1 standards in the Fresh Foods sector.

The 50th anniversary of the GTIN