Next Generation Barcodes

For Tapping into Online Opportunities

Bridges O2O shopping experience


Product barcodes have demonstrated their critical role in retail and supply chain – facilitate physical retail’s checkout process, enhance supply chain transparency & efficiency, connect online & physical commerce etc. With consumers’ growing demand for greater product information transparency, traceability & authentication in the digital era, barcodes also evolve over time. Smart Barcodes can help businesses to bridge online and offline shopping experience. Simply by scanning product barcodes, consumers can search for product information, or even buy at e-shops / e-marketplaces.

GS1 barcode

There is also a transition from 1D barcodes to 2D barcodes (i.e QR codes).  2D barcodes can hold more data than 1D barcodes while still appearing physically smaller.

GS1 is  also moving toward two-dimensional (2D) barcodes. Known as “Sunrise 2027” plan, the industry has set a date to make the transition to accepting 2D barcodes at point-of-sale by 2027. By doing so, businesses no longer require multiple QR codes to provide essential information to stakeholders, and fit all purposes with ONE QR code:  

GS1 QR codes

To support the transition, GS1 will focus on the following 2 aspects: 

  • Upgrade the traditional 1D barcode to a 2D QR code, so every individual product has a URL or web address
  • Enables a single code to perform multiple functions

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2D Barcodes


Built based on GS1 Digital Link, GS1 HK’s 2D QR code works the same way a web address (URL), which enables consumers/ business partners to be directed to all types of digital information after scanning the data carrier. 

GS1’s QR code can hold a significant amount of information, empowering consumers to scan a single barcode to access a diverse product information, including product specifications, ingredients, instructions, loyalty programme, offers, certificates etc. Stakeholders (e.g., consumers / business partners) can scan the same QR code to obtain varied product information.



Industry Adoption


Industries have also accelerated their transition to 2D barcodes. They can now use the same global standard to fulfill the needs of supply chain & consumers:

GS1 Retail


  • Connect online & offline with 2D barcodes and enhance consumer trust. Consumers can scan Smart QR (link to smart QR page) to obtain product information or even discounts. 

  • Use the same QR code to offer different discounts at different times. 

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GS1 Healthcare


  • Healthcare providers can leverage 2D barcodes to enhance supply chain transparency, secure trust among stakeholders and patient safety. With GS1 2D barcode label (GS1 DataMatrix), healthcare stakeholders can uniquely identify medical devices/ vaccines for improved traceability. 

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