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Get to know 2D Codes – The Next Generation of Barcodes

Consumers, brand owners, retailers and regulatory agencies all want to know more about product information. The amount of information provided by traditional one-dimensional barcodes is very limited. The emergence of 2D codes will gradually replace barcodes and become a new generation of coding. It is smaller than one-dimensional barcodes and can carry more information. It has also become the direction of future development.

The International Organization GS1, proposed “Global Migration to 2D”, aiming to promote product identification from traditional one-dimensional barcodes to multi-purpose 2D codes, and plans to use 2D codes at retail points-of-sale by 2027, in parallel with one-dimensional barcode dual tracks.

Connect customers with products and brands

As technology evolves, so do customer expectations. 2D codes allow customers to connect directly to the brand by using their smartphones, making it easier to obtain brand-authorized content, such as product information, promotions, customer reviews, etc., so that their engagement could be enhanced.

  • 2D codes store more information, such as batch, production date and production location;
  • 2D codes enhance consumer experience, and can be combined with mobile application solutions to enhance purchasing experience;
  • 2D codes improve the efficiency of logistics and inventory management, allowing administrators to quickly and accurately identify and track products, reducing human errors. These features will help improve the accuracy and efficiency of commodity traceability.

Types of GS1 2D barcodes in Retail Industry

2D barcodes – What is Digital Link?

The 2D barcodes of GS1 Macao, China are based on GS1 Digital Link, which have certain standards. Each 2D barcode corresponds to a URL:


  1. After 01: GTIN (Note that the GTIN in GS1 Digital Link is 14 digits)
  2. After 10: Patch Number
  3. After 21: Serial Number
  4. After 17: Valid Date YYMMDD

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