What is GS1 Sunrise 2027?

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GS1, the international barcode standards organization, is updating its standards for barcodes in a new program called Sunrise 2027. Starting in 2027, GS1 and retail industry members will make the transition to accepting 2D barcodes at point-of-sale locations.

Making the transition to 2D barcodes is a big change for sellers, workers, and consumers. This is a very important change and you’ll need to update your barcodes over the next few years if you plan on selling your products in retail locations. As technology develops and the consumer's need for information increases, barcodes need to improve. The goal of 2D barcodes is to increase the amount of information barcodes contain, allowing for much more transparency in retail environments. 

At Barcode Producer, we are actively working on software updates to make sure that our 2D Data Matrix and QR Code generators  are up-to-date, useful, and in compliance with the new Sunrise 2027 barcode standards. Many retailers are planning on allowing manufacturers to transition to Sunrise 2027 standards early. Making sure your barcode generator software is up to date on the newest standards will keep your barcodes compliant as we get closer to the 2027 deadline.

What’s the Difference Between Current Barcodes and 2D Barcodes?

Retail barcodes in the United States currently use traditional UPC or EAN barcodes. UPC and EAN barcodes are one-dimensional barcodes, which means that they only store data horizontally. These barcodes encode each product’s Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN), and because they’re one-dimensional, this is really all the information they can hold.

Sample EAN Barcode

The phrase 2D barcodes usually refers to Data Matrix barcodes and QR Codes. These barcodes are two-dimensional, meaning they can encode data horizontally and vertically. Using a two-dimensional barcode allows you to store a lot more information. With a data matrix or QR code, instead of just storing the GTIN, you could also have information like expiration dates or URLs stored in the barcode. 

Why Are 2D Barcodes a Big Deal?

Using 2D barcodes in place of traditional UPC or EAN barcodes is a big deal in retail because these barcodes can still serve the traditional role of a barcode for product identification and traceability, but they can also store a lot more information. 

Transitioning to 2D barcodes will allow more data to be encoded and easily accessed by anyone. Unlike traditional barcodes, 2D barcodes, (like QR Codes) are easily scannable by most cellphone cameras. This means that without having a barcode scanner, anyone would be able to access the information included in a barcode.

Looking at the future of barcodes, we can imagine all kinds of new innovations that could help consumers, retailers, and suppliers benefit from access to more information.

Consumer Benefits

With a 2D barcode, you can include information that’s valuable to your consumers in your barcode. Consumers can easily scan the barcode with their smartphone, just as they would for a QR code in other use cases. With the rising consumer familiarity and use of QR codes, consumers already understand the benefits of encoded information and how to use 2D barcodes.  

You can encode things like user guides with information on how to use or set up your product. This allows the information to always be available without worrying about misplacing an important informational packet. 

With the additional room for encoded data, you can also provide sustainability and production information about your product, like where and how your products were made. As consumers take a more active role in sustainability, this kind of information can be very beneficial to help your products stand out on the market and demonstrate your company’s values in action. 

Product Management Benefits

Including additional information in the barcodes can also benefit workers who will interact with your packaged product and improve product management to reduce waste. With 2D barcodes, you can embed information that helps workers do their jobs more efficiently and reduce wasted products by communicating more information for inventory.

The amount of information that can be stored in a 2D barcode could eliminate the need for manual record-keeping, making inventory easier to manage. Instead of needing to look up information in a separate database and try to track delivery dates and expirations, a simple scan of the item can tell a worker everything they need to know.

2D barcodes allow workers to have faster and better access to product information. For inventory and stocking purposes, they’ll be more efficient and informed more quickly about things like product recalls and sell-by-dates.

How Will the Transition Work?

Manufacturers can start the transition at any time by including both the traditional UPC or EAN barcode and the 2D barcode with additional information on their packaging.

In 2027, point-of-sale counters will start accepting 2D barcodes. At this point, manufacturers can completely replace traditional barcodes in favor of 2D barcodes.

Start Transitioning to 2D Barcodes

With Barcode Producer, you can create any type of barcode that you need, including 2D barcodes. You can start experimenting with these barcodes today to get ahead of Sunrise 2027 and learn more about how they can benefit you and your business.

Download Barcode Producer today, or try out our software with a free trial.

Barcode Producer for Mac/PC creates perfect barcodes for retail packages, labels, books, packages, and everything else.

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