Upgrading Old Tech
For nearly 50 years, the humble barcode has been a staple on packages that has helped make global commerce possible. The series of vertical black and white lines helps businesses track inventory as it travels from supplier, to shelf, to consumer.
This fairly simple technology is finally set to get an upgrade that will enable it to share significantly more information about the product it characterizes.
What’s a 2D Barcode?
The traditional barcode offers information about the product’s type, size, color, unit number, and more. But, these barcodes are limited to only text-based information.
New-and-improved “2D” barcodes will be able to include information on the product’s price, quantity, and, in some cases, even a product image. You can think of this upgrade like the transition from the original flip phone to the smartphone. Both devices let you call and text, but the traditional flip phone can’t compete with the expanded functionality of the smartphone.
What Does This Mean?
The barcode revolution is officially underway. By 2027, only 2D barcodes will be accepted at registers. When this happens, businesses will be better equipped to manage their inventory, automatically issue discounts for expiring food, and immediately announce product recalls.
Consumers will benefit from the ability to scan a product’s 2D barcode for a treasure trove of information. This may include data like where a product was made, the sustainability practices followed, and instructions for using it.
Ultimately, 2D barcodes are all about helping information flow more smoothly between suppliers, retailers, and customers — offering an enhanced product experience for all.
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