The future of retail 

The need for data and the precision with which the flows of goods are handled today are constantly increasing. This development does not stop at the retail sector. One solution for the future is 2D data carriers, with which you can encode significantly more data than with the EAN/UPC barcode commonly used today.

2D codes supported by GS1 such as the GS1 DataMatrix, can include information, for example the expiry date, batch or serial numbers, in addition to the GS1 article number (GTIN), while you can only encode the GTIN in an EAN/UPC barcode. Thanks to GS1 Digital Link, it is also possible to make Internet links to ingredients and allergens, product images and videos and much more accessible to consumers. Another advantage: the 2D data carriers require only one third of the space of a barcode.

This GS1 Data Matrix contains the GS1 article number (GTIN), the net weight, the price, the best-before date, and the batch number. The EAN-13 barcode only contains the GS1 article number. 


GS1 DataMatrix

QR Code with GS1 Digital Link
Encoded GTIN

Low space requirement  
Additional data can be encoded    ✔  ✔
BBD control at the checkout  
Enables the use of the GTIN for variable-measure consumer units    ✔
Additional information on allergens, ingredients, product videos, etc.    

The advantages of 2D codes at a glance

Verschlüsselung GTIN

Encoded GTIN

Geringer Platzbedarf

Low space requirement

Korrekte Daten

Additional data can be encoded


BBD control at the checkout


Enables the use of the GTIN for variable-measure consumer units


Additional information

GS1 Global is aiming for a switch to GS1 2D data carriers by 2027.

From then on, the following principles will apply:

For the industrial sector
Products can be identified with the same GTIN in three variants: 
GS1-approved 1D barcodes, 2D codes or 1D + 2D codes 

For the retail trade
The retail checkout can correctly process all three variants of product identification for the industry.

For the solution provider
Suppliers will make sure that solutions are available for industry and trade to ensure interoperability of approaches.

Our recommendations to you

Make clarifications early on
We recommend that you clarify with your partners in the coming months how and when a change could be made for your products. For the implementation in the fresh product category, you can use the user recommendation "2D Data Carriers for Fresh Products" as a guideline, which was created in 2021 by the working group "2D Data Carriers in Sales and Logistics" together with representatives from the field. This is a version of the global guide tailored to our market.

Avoid double identification
We also recommend that you avoid double identification. If possible, we advise you to replace the current barcode with the GS1 DataMatrix. 

Join the discussions
The topic of 2D barcodes is being discussed in various committees of GS1 Switzerland, including the Consumer Goods Industry Advisory Board. Use cases and details of pilot projects can be reported to the Standards specialist group. If you would like to get involved in a committee, please feel free to contact us."

Pilot projects in Switzerland

Coop is piloting GS1 DataMatrix throughout Switzerland
After initial regional trials, Coop has extended the tests with GS1 DataMatrix to branches throughout Switzerland. With the pilot project, Coop wants to determine which points still need to be clarified with regard to a nationwide introduction of the GS1 DataMatrix. 

For the current status and the latest developments on 2D at a global level, please visit the website of GS1 Global Office regarding the topic of 2D.

Implementation with Digital Link

2D codes supported by GS1 can include information such as the expiry date, batch or serial numbers in addition to the GS1 article number (GTIN). Thanks to GS1 Digital Link, you can now also make Internet links to ingredients and allergens, product images and videos and much more accessible to your customers.

As an example, the GTIN of one of the sample products in our trustbox® was encoded in a GS1 Digital Link in this QR Code. In the GS1 Resolver of GS1 Switzerland, the link to the trustbox was registered for this GTIN. Thanks to the GS1 Digital Link, the information registered for this GTIN can now be adjusted at any time without having to change the QR Code on the product. 

These new opportunities can significantly improve the experience of consumers and up to the retailers as well as the perception of brands and products. They hold great potential, but also require a closer look at current processes, which can be highly dependent on the type of product involved.