GS1 digital link examples and use cases for the win

GS1 digital link examples use cases
Are you looking for actionable examples of how the new GS1 digital link standard can be applied to improve your business? Do you need inspiration and robust use cases showing the many benefits that digital links will provide across the table, to all sectors, processes, and stakeholders? You are in the right place, then. On this page, we will walk you through the most promising and exciting applications of digital links. Giving some real-life GS1 digital link examples.

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GS1 digital link examples

GS1 digital link technology is set to change forever the way we interact with products: a single QR code that can be read by barcode scanners at stores and by any smartphone camera, providing different information and experiences depending on who’s reading it. We’re talking about a true revolution for supply chain management, retail, and marketing.

Yet, while the 2027 deadline set by global authorities for the transition from the old barcodes to digital links (looking at you, Sunrise 2027) is getting closer and closer, and companies are already implementing the new standard in their processes, actual examples of digital link in use are still hard to find online.

That’s why we have selected and collected here the best examples of digital link applications by businesses worldwide in different industries, as a source of inspiration for you to improve traceability, easily supply detailed product information, increase customer loyalty, guarantee item authenticity (counterfeit), and much more.

Let’s take a look at them.

FrieslandCampina digital link example

FrieslandCampina – one of the largest dairy companies in the world – has deployed digital links for the Asian market, using a QR code printed at the bottom of cans of Friso milk powder as a data carrier GS1 digital link technology.

By scanning the QR on the product, consumers end up on a website where the origin of the product is shown. Visitors can discover the origin of their Friso milk powder, see whether it really is Friso’s milk powder, and in the near future pay for the product directly.

“In this way,” FrieslandCampina’s Rob Van Stek has said, “we enable parents to make informed purchasing decisions based on transparent information.”

Datalink digital link example

Brazilian cable manufacturer Datalink improved their customers’ user experience by applying a digital link QR code to their products that, once scanned, redirects to that specific cable’s manuals and tutorials.

Datalink digital link example

This is the first commercial product augmented by a digital link in Brazil.

Sondia digital link example

The Sonderegger brothers founded their face mask manufacturing start-up Sondia in Switzerland at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to address the bottlenecks in mask production and delivery, and safety is still the main concern for the company.

Sondia has addressed this issue by attaching a unique digital link to every single pack of masks. Provided with an expiry date and serial number, each individual dispenser box of 50 pieces is now individually marked. This precise marking is used both for traceability and internal quality control.

Sondia digital link example

Digital links also help Sondia control the preparation of each order. Once the digital link is scanned, workers are provided with instructions related to that specific order – especially crucial since the company also operates as a private label provider for other brands.

And it doesn’t end here: when dedicated scanners read a digital link code at the end of the production line, the link is automatically switched to a customer view through a resolver.

Codigo Verde digital link example

Digital links can help automate environmental traceability, as the Codigo Verde (Green Code) project promoted by Legado das Águas in Brazil demonstrates.

Trees in the reserve of Atlantic Forest owned by Legado das Águas were tagged with labels containing a digital link QR code. The information available through the code included the exact location of each tree. Another green and beautiful GS1 digital link example.

Codigo Verde digital link example

The seeds from the trees are used to grow new plants. And a QR that traces them back to the original tree in the forest is attached to each plant before making them available to purchase.

This way, people who buy the plants can scan the QR to discover everything about their wild parent tree, including its geolocation. Amazing, isn’t it?

But this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are countless successful digital link use cases waiting to be unlocked. Here is a quick overview of some of them.

GS1 digital link for consumers

As most of the digital link examples above show very clearly, the benefits provided to consumers by the new standard are massive.

For instance, digital links can be used on product packaging to allow customers to scan items and access additional product info, nutrition labels, recipes, videos, reviews, and ratings, enabling much more informed – and happy – purchase decisions.

The granular item tracking allowed by digital links, in addition, helps consumers discover everything about the product they bought, increasing transparency and brands’ authority and trust. Also, safety warnings and product recalls can be easily managed through digital links, protecting people’s safety and health.

Quick access to rich content, dedicated promotions, and exclusive loyalty programs are, of course, further advantages for customers, that can be leveraged by marketers across all industries.

The flexibility ensured by digital links makes it possible to deliver different experiences to different audiences depending, for instance, on the tool they use to scan a digital link QR code: using the smartphone camera can bring visitors to an informational web page while reading the code with a dedicated mobile app can trigger an e-commerce platform.

GS1 digital link for brands

The biggest benefit of using digital links for brands is that it helps them recover full control over every single item in their stock, from the production line to the hands of the end user, and win back a direct relationship with their customers and brand lovers.

By adopting the GS1 digital link global standard, brand owners can ensure that all stakeholders are working from the same set of data. This makes it easier for them to track their products’ movement in real-time, improving efficiency and reducing costs associated with incorrect shipments or lost items.

Digital link for brands

Speaking of costs, a multi-function digital link means that a single QR code can replace all barcodes, 2D codes, and tags that brands have to add to cluttered labels and packages in order to serve different purposes.

Additionally, by automating processes such as order fulfillment through digital link integration, brands can reduce manual errors while gaining insights into customer behavior patterns.

The most relevant use cases of digital links for brands include:

  • enhanced content and user experiences
  • item traceability
  • certifications and sustainability
  • product authentication and warranty
  • digital tickets and receipts
  • coupon codes
  • loyalty programs
  • inventory management
  • product recalls
  • complaint tracking and return requests
  • direct-to-consumer e-commerce platforms

GS1 digital link for retailers

In an increasingly digital world, retailers are looking for ways to maximize their reach and optimize their processes. Digital links can help them achieve these goals and meet the ever-growing demand for an efficient and connected digital experience.

Implementing the GS1 digital link standard increases safety and efficiency within retailers’ operations:

  • recalled and expired products can be flagged at any point throughout the supply chain, up to the point of sale and beyond
  • dedicated discounts and promotions can be automagically triggered when the expiry date approaches
  • data sharing with partners and stakeholders is made easier and more reliable

And let’s not forget that digital links will reshape the checkout experience at physical stores, with the same QR code enabling both transactions at the cashier and all sorts of business-to-business and business-to-consumer experiences.

GS1 digital link examples, for retailers

GS1 digital link for solution providers

All kinds of solution providers, from business consultancies to marketing agencies, software developers, printing companies, and logistics management specialists, can support brands and retailers by supplying added-value digital link services.

Areas for intervention include:

  • designing and implementing the online consumer-facing experiences triggered by the digital link (from product pages to dedicated content, marketing programs, trace and track solutions, and much more)
  • developing mobile apps that give access to specific experiences and services
  • providing digital link-ready printing services for QR codes and Data Matrix for labels, packaging, and all printed materials
  • processing data generated by connected products and making available analytics dashboards, statistics, and reports to enrich business intelligence
  • developing secure API services that enable specific digital link features (i.e. technical data sheets or product recalls)
  • supplying hardware and software POS solutions in order to handle digital links at stores
  • managing and maintaining a digital link resolver

GS1 digital link for Healthcare

In a sensitive field such as healthcare digital links provide a wealth of benefits, with a single code on a medical product delivering different, relevant information when a doctor reads it with a mobile app or a patient scans it with his smartphone.

While a healthcare professional may access technical details or up-to-date clinical studies, the patient might be redirected to trusted information about the product, explanatory videos, instructions, etc.

Additionally, all info can be provided in the language spoken by the visitor, which is automatically detected through the digital link.

Digital link for Healthcare

Directions for safe item handling, transportation and disposal, storage conditions, and potential hazard can also be shared with stakeholders throughout the whole supply chain, increasing security for all actors involved and optimizing costs.

And, of course, transparency and traceability can be significantly improved by digital links in healthcare. Connecting every single medical product or device with digital data about manufacturing specifications, logistics, maintenance, expiration date, etc. makes it way easier to discover and analyze the whole lifecycle of any item.

GS1 digital link for supply chain

The impact of digital link on supply chain management is immense. The very concept of a web-enabled product identifier at item level, linking to information that can be updated in real time is revolutionary.

There are so many potential use cases for digital links in the supply chain field. For instance, it can be used to simplify product recall processes by quickly identifying affected batches or linking products with associated batch numbers for easy traceability.

Additionally, it can help with inventory management by providing real-time updates on product availability and delivery status throughout the entire process.

Other application examples include:

  • easier tracking of goods in transit
  • improved accuracy around order fulfillment processes
  • reduced costs related to manual data entry errors
  • better collaboration between trading partners

Furthermore, digital link can help companies meet sustainability goals by reducing waste due to inaccurate orders and eliminating redundant processes.

In summary, the GS1 digital link standard opens endless opportunities for companies and organizations to streamline and optimize operations, generate savings, and engage customers better.

Do you want to try it for yourself? Go to our home page and create your first digital link now!


Be a leader in the transition from barcodes to digital links

Be a leader in the transition from barcodes to digital links