GS1 digital link 2D barcode Sunrise 2027

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What is GS1 Digital Link and Why is it Important for Consumer Brands?

What is GS1 Digital Link and Why is it Important for Consumer Brands?

GS1 Digital Links are becoming a big priority for consumer brands, as the 2027 deadline for adoption nears. Here’s a quick breakdown on what Digital Links are and why they’re becoming an urgent concern. 

What is GS1? What are GS1 Digital Links (2D barcodes)? 

GS1 is a global, not-for-profit organization that develops and maintains standards for business communication. Best known for the barcode, GS1 standards are used to improve the efficiency, safety, and visibility of supply chains across the retail, healthcare, foodservice, and logistics industries. GS1 standards include barcodes, RFID, and electronic data interchange (EDI) protocols, plus unique identifiers such as the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which is used to identify products. These identifiers ensure that products and services can be accurately tracked and traced throughout the supply chain.

In 2020, GS1 established the Sunrise 2027 initiative, which aims to transition from traditional 1D barcodes to 2D barcodes like QR codes and data matrix codes, globally, by 2027. The 2D barcode is called GS1 Digital Link. This initiative will enable the barcodes to carry more information and interact more dynamically with digital systems, enhancing consumer engagement and improving supply chain efficiency​. 

GS1 Digital Link is an innovative standard that transforms traditional barcodes and other data carriers into powerful web links. By integrating GS1 identifiers, such as the Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®), with the internet, GS1 Digital Link allows products to connect directly to online sources of real-time information controlled by brands. This connection enhances the consumer experience by providing instant access to vital information like allergen details, recall notices, and sourcing data, thereby strengthening brand loyalty.

The Future of Digital Product Information

GS1 Digital Link takes these traditional identifiers and embeds them into a URL format, transforming them into dynamic web links. This means that a single 2D barcode or QR code can now provide access to a wealth of real-time, brand-controlled information. Instead of just scanning a product to retrieve a number, consumers and supply chain partners can scan to access detailed product information, promotional content, recall alerts, and more, all via a web interface.

The GS1 Digital Link standard extends the functionality of GS1 identifiers beyond their conventional use in supply chains. It converts these identifiers into gateways for enriched consumer interactions and improved traceability. 

For example, scanning a product’s barcode with a smartphone can redirect consumers to a web page that offers detailed product information, promotional content, or customer service support. This real-time access to data not only empowers consumers with the information they need but also allows brands to deliver a more personalized and engaging experience.

Moreover, GS1 Digital Link enhances supply chain operations by providing improved traceability and interoperability between business partners. The standardized format ensures that data is consistent and easily interpretable across different systems and platforms. This facilitates more efficient and transparent supply chains, reducing errors and improving overall efficiency.

How do GS1 Digital Links Benefit Brands? 

Enhanced Consumer Engagement

By turning barcodes into interactive web links, brands can offer consumers instant access to detailed product information, usage instructions, promotional offers, and personalized content. This enhances the shopping experience and strengthens brand loyalty.

Improved Traceability and Transparency

GS1 Digital Link allows for better traceability throughout the supply chain. Brands can provide consumers with information about product origins, manufacturing processes, and quality controls, fostering trust and transparency.

Streamlined Data Management

The standardized format ensures consistent and accurate data across all platforms and systems, reducing errors and improving supply chain efficiency. This is particularly beneficial for managing recalls or addressing safety concerns quickly and effectively.


As the digital landscape evolves, GS1 Digital Links/2D barcodes provide a flexible and scalable solution that can adapt to new technologies and consumer expectations. It enables brands to stay ahead of the curve and leverage digital advancements to their advantage.

By adopting this standard, consumer product brands can enhance their market presence and build stronger, more transparent relationships with their customers.

For more information about GS1 Digital Link and 2D barcodes, you can visit the following websites:

How BL.INK Supports 2D Barcodes/GS1 Digital Links

As a GS1 US Solution Partner, BL.INK is positioned to help brands make the most of GS1 Digital Links. We offer tailored services to assist brands in transitioning from traditional UPC barcodes to 2D barcodes/QR codes in preparation for GS1 Sunrise 2027. Here’s why brands should choose BL.INK:

Specialized Expertise

BL.INK’s partnership with GS1 US demonstrates our deep understanding and commitment to GS1 standards, ensuring brands receive top-notch guidance and support. In addition, BL.INK has worked with some of the world’s largest brands on packaging and identification initiatives and is considered a trusted partner by these institutions. 

Two-Way Data Integration

BL.INK’s QR codes connect with short URLs that are templatized to accommodate GS1 digital links. Brands can build links and store this data in the BL.INK platform, or pull data from their existing tools. BL.INK can also integrate with most processes and technologies to accommodate data from multiple sources. For more than 15 years, BL.INK has specialized in working with large organizations with complex data needs. 

Unmatched Security and Compliance

BL.INK’s GS1 Digital Link offering includes link validation, to help ensure every link carries the exactly right data in the proper order. BL.INK encrypts data in transit and at rest, offers international data residency, and conducts ongoing security compliance reviews. We’re  HIPAA compliant, SOC2 Type 2 accredited, and participate in business associate agreements to ensure complete protection of PHI. 

In summary, GS1 Digital Link is a groundbreaking standard that integrates GS1 identifiers with the web, transforming barcodes into dynamic tools for consumer engagement and supply chain optimization. By leveraging this technology, brands can provide real-time information, enhance traceability, and build stronger connections with consumers. With BL.INK's expertise and tailored services, brands can seamlessly transition to GS1 Digital Links and maximize the benefits of this innovative technology.

Ready to Learn More about GS1 Digital Links?

The new guidelines can be confusing, but BL.INK is here to help

Count on BL.INK to keep you informed about the latest exciting GS1 Digital Link/2D barcode developments. 


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