QR code powered by GS1: An Essential Marketing Tool

Starting from 2027, the well-known barcode will be replaced by the QR Code powered by GS1. A multifunctional code that can be scanned both at the checkout and with your mobile phone, retrieving the desired information. It combines the article code (GTIN) with the capabilities of a QR code and presents a significant opportunity for marketing to enhance the value of your brand and product. We explain how and why in this article.

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In 2021, GS1 introduced the QR code powered by GS1, the new standard set to replace the traditional barcode. The QR code powered by GS1 is a GS1 Digital Link that includes the article code (GTIN). As a result, this QR code can be scanned by both the supermarket checkout [starting from 2027] and, for example, a mobile phone camera, retrieving specific product information or a web page depending on the application used.

This means that the same code used for checkout can also be used by other users. For instance, by consumers to find more information about a product or participate in a promotion. Or by a warehouse manager who wants to look up relevant product information such as batch and lot numbers or expiration dates. The significant difference: the QR code powered by GS1 can be used throughout the entire chain.

The QR code powered by GS1 offers numerous opportunities, from traceability and security to sustainability and inventory management. But it doesn't stop at the benefits for the supply chain; the QR powered by GS1 also presents opportunities in marketing. And these opportunities extend beyond simply allowing more space on the product compared to the barcode.

Marketing Opportunities

It all starts with the opportunities for direct communication with the consumer. By scanning the QR code, consumers gain access to promotions, reviews, recipes, usage instructions, and brand and product information. These interactions are also measurable, enabling much more targeted measurement and adjustments, an important asset in an increasingly data-driven world.

All possibilities that increase the value of your brand and product, simply by offering your information according to the GS1 standard.

Additionally, the code also facilitates streamlining collaboration with partners and external parties further. By providing product information according to the GS1 standard, it becomes easier for application developers, for example, to use your product correctly in their application. Think of a recycling app that tells you how to reuse a certain product or a review app where, after scanning the code, you immediately find user stories and other information. All these possibilities increase the value of your brand and product simply by providing your information according to the GS1 standard.

Getting Started with QR code powered by GS1

In retail, the QR code powered by GS1 will be the standard from 2027 onwards. Jon Moeller, CEO of Procter & Gamble, is already urging industry leaders to switch to the QR code powered by to improve consumer experiences and supply chain efficiency. We expect that it's only a matter of time before the vast majority of manufacturers replace the barcode with the GS1 QR code and take advantage of the new opportunities.

Our advice for marketing is to ensure that your brand or product is ready to take the first step. This doesn't necessarily mean unlocking all the possibilities of the GS1 QR code immediately. For many companies, it's likely to be a gradual process.

Step 1: Resolver Choice

The link contained in the QR code is, of course, a URL. If a consumer or partner scans the QR code on a product without looking for the corresponding article code (GTIN), this will lead to the retrieval of this URL. What happens here is determined by the 'resolver,' and there are two options for this:

  1. Resolver by GS1
  2. Own website or resolver

It's important to determine early in the process what your starting point is. Do you want to keep the functioning of the QR code entirely in-house, or do you make use of the possibilities offered by the GS1 resolver?

With your website or resolver, more is, of course, possible. Simply because custom solutions can be realized while GS1's solution is the same for all users. We anticipate that this is the optimal solution for large companies with an extensive or diverse product range and/or various use cases.

For smaller companies, it's probably more efficient to use GS1's free resolver. With this, you can at least:

  • Change the standard link for a product without having to adjust the QR code
  • Manage links to different websites with just one number, the GTIN. For example, you can show different information to someone scanning with an app than to someone scanning with a smartphone camera.
  • Maintain control and share links that fit a product. This helps people looking for specific information, such as recipes or ingredients.

To avoid having to make adjustments later on, generate a QR code powered by GS1 only when the choice regarding the resolver is clear. The article code (GTIN) is directly linked to the QR code and can be placed on the label/product.

Step 2: Product or Landing Page

After taking the first step, there's a QR code powered by GS1 on the label of your product. Very nice, but if a consumer scans the code now, they don't see anything. Therefore, in this step, it's important to have a product or landing page where the user (consumer) can find the desired information. It's particularly important here to ensure that the basic information is in order. Adding promotional actions or other details later is possible.

Step 3: Partner Information

Within the open, global GS1 standard, it's determined what goes into the barcode and what you can do with it afterward. This allows one QR code to refer to any number of information sources. The information relevant for one application is retrieved while the rest of the information is redundant and therefore not used. This ensures that owners always maintain control over the quality and accuracy of product data.

"If you want to get started offering such information, it's important that you structure this data correctly. This goes beyond the scope of this article, but the specialists at GS1 are happy to assist you. We are pleased to tell you all about the GS1 standard and how you can use it for your product or brand," says Sarina Pielaat, Advisor at GS1 Netherlands.

The possibilities are endless. Is there a product change? By modifying the information at one location, it can be updated across all diet apps. Want to track your product from cradle-to-cradle? Adding a new source of information is easy.

Using QR Code powered by GS1: Control Over Your Product Information

Once the foundation is in place, the QR code powered by GS1 offers unparalleled flexibility and possibilities. Many of these have been mentioned in this article, but it's worth noting the dynamic nature of this solution, especially for marketing. Not only can product information and promotions be adjusted at any time, but there is complete control over all information surrounding products, even in the applications of partners or third parties. Especially with a large number of products, being 'in control' is essential, and the GS1 QR code plays a significant role in this.

The possibilities are endless. If the manufacturing process of the product changes, adjusting the information in one place can update it in all diet apps. Do you want to enable tracking of your product from cradle to cradle? Adding a new source of information is child's play.

It's a way to increase the perception and value of your product not only in the eyes of the consumer but also in the eyes of chain partners and even third parties. And the best part? There are no additional costs involved. The QR code powered by GS1 is linked to your article code (GTIN). Order an article code, and you can immediately create a QR code poweredf by GS1. You can also create a QR code powered by GS1 for existing article codes free of charge via MyGS1.

For more information about the QR code powered by GS1, visit:
2D barcodes for your Retail business | GS1