Barcodes trialled on stamps


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18 March 2021
Royal Mail has issued new 2nd class stamps with unique barcodes as part of its modernisation drive, with the stamps to be sold to business customers in sheets.

The UK’s first barcoded stamps (issued on 23 March, with an initial supply of 20 million 2nd Class stamps) are to be sold to business customers on sheets via office supply and stationary specialist Viking Direct and the Royal Mail online shop.

According to Royal Mail, the barcodes will ensure that the stamps in question can be uniquely identified, in a move that could pave the way for innovative customer services in future. The barcodes, which will match the colour of the stamp, will sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line. 

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Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said:

‘This initiative will see Royal Mail become one of the first postal authorities in the world to add unique barcodes to stamps. By doing this, we are looking to transform the humble stamp so that we can offer our customers even more convenient, new services in the future.

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'Royal Mail has a long and proud history for creating innovative and intuitive postal solutions. This goes all the way back to the Penny Black which established the principle of the one-price-goes-anywhere universal service - to the recent launch of Parcel Collect – where we pick up our customers’ parcels from the doorstep.

'The pilot of barcoded stamps reflects our commitment to constantly evolve our products and services in line with the ever-changing needs of our customers.’

Royal Mail has used barcode technology printed directly on to envelopes and labels for some time. For many years, business customers have used franking machines to print a pre-paid franking mark onto an envelope or a label for parcels, as well as printing a Mailmark barcode onto letters.