E-labeling is a modern alternative to strictly physical labeling that provides web-based product information via electronic screens such as smartphones and computers. Industries are embracing e-labeling for several reasons, including to abide by law mandates, increase efficiency and provide enhanced and expanded product information.
As technology evolves throughout industries, manufacturers, legislators and regulatory bodies must embrace labels such as barcodes that enable access to online information. When transitioning to an e-labeling model, organizations may need to improve internal systems and operations to meet regulatory requirements. Modern labeling solutions allow for improved integration between internal systems and labeling systems, and by following labeling best practices, organizations can benefit from increased capabilities and consumer satisfaction.
What is e-labeling?
E-labeling stands for electronic labeling and is a barcode of any kind (QR, 1D, color) or RFID inlay that links to online information. The digital barcode provides access to more information than can be displayed directly on a product with a physical label. E-labeling is a way to share compliance information electronically on a screen. By scanning the product code with your smartphone or entering the URL into your web browser, you are taken directly to important, regulated product information.
What is GS1 Digital Link?
GS1 Digital Link is an e-labeling standard that enables the dissemination of product data on the web. GS1 Digital Link “web-enables” barcodes by providing a simple, standards-based structure for the data. Before GS1 Digital Link, there was no non-proprietary way for brands to seamlessly communicate with consumers using a barcode scan. Some products carried multiple barcodes which caused scanning issues and consumer confusion. GS1 Digital Link remedied these issues by providing apps, websites and POS scanners with rules they “can use to translate both old and new barcodes into connections, shopping experiences and interesting product content.”
GS1 Digital Link works by using a lookup tool called a “resolver” that functions as an information connector. Depending on the needs of the business and the desired results, resolvers can be developed to manage or connect information in the business-to-consumer context as well as the business-to-business realm. The GS1 Digital Link standard for web-enabled barcodes revolutionizes item-level identification by using a dynamic code that provides contextual data.
Consumers can access information with the simple scan of one code and without the need for a specific app. This single code can produce different results depending on what the point of access is. A consumer can use their smartphone to scan a food product’s QR code that contains a GS1 Digital Link URI and be directed to a brand-owned webpage with additional nutritional details, recipes, and other product information.
This same consumer could scan the exact same barcode using a retailer app and be connected to completely different experiences such as product ordering, brand loyalty points collection and social media product shares.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are tasked with generating patient information in multiple languages which makes the production of patient leaflets laborious. Instead, consumers could use an app that reads the pharmaceutical product’s GTIN encoded in the GS1 DataMatrix barcode on the package and directs them to an electronic patient information leaflet.
The information is delivered in their preferred language through a simple setting on their smartphone. The app uses the GS1 Digital Link known rules to use the barcode data to connect to an industry-agreed “resolver” service which routes it to the source of the leaflet.
Manufacturers, marketing agencies, logistics and other related parties can leverage GS1 Digital Link and resolver technology to streamline and connect relevant sources of data. Digital Link technology is the future of barcodes and labeling and delivers significant potential throughout global businesses.