Royal Mail adds unique barcodes to all traditional stamps

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Royal Mail has announced that it is adding unique barcodes to all its ‘definitive stamps’ following a successful national trial.

The move is part of the company’s modernization drive. It is hoped that the unique barcodes will facilitate operational efficiencies, enable the introduction of added security features and pave the way for innovative services for customers.

Recipients of mail featuring a barcoded stamp can watch an exclusive video by scanning the stamps in the Royal Mail app. The video features Shaun the Sheep, created exclusively for Royal Mail by the British animation studio, Aardman.

Each barcoded stamp will have a digital twin and the two will be connected by the Royal Mail app. The barcodes match the stamp color and sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.

Definitive stamps are the regular stamps featuring the profile of HM The Queen created by the sculptor Arnold Machin. The design has changed very little since it was introduced in June 1967. The image has become one of the most iconic pieces of artwork in the world and has been reproduced more than 175 billion times.

Non-barcoded definitive and Christmas stamps will remain valid until January 31, 2023. Customers are encouraged to use their non-barcoded stamps before this date. Alternatively, non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded versions through Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme, which will open on March 31, 2022.

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, said, “Introducing unique barcodes on our postage stamps allows us to connect the physical letter with the digital world and opens up possibilities for a range of new innovative services in future.”

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Dan originally joined Parcel and Postal Technology International in 2014 having spent the early years of his career in the recruitment industry. As online editor, he now produces daily content for the website and supports the editor with the publication of each exciting new issue. When he’s not reporting on the latest technological developments, Dan can be found on the golf course or apprehensively planning his next DIY project.

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