Royal Mail truck crossing Southwark Bridge in London

Royal Mail unveils barcode stamps

Image credit: Eric Flamant/Dreamstime

Royal Mail Group has announced it will add special barcodes to stamps that make it possible for customers to watch videos, view messages and access other information.

The move from Tuesday (1 February) follows a successful trial and aims to connect letters with the digital world.

Customers can scan the barcodes in the Royal Mail app and will eventually be able to watch videos, information about services, or even birthday messages and other greetings from senders.

App users can currently view a video featuring Shaun the Sheep, created exclusively for Royal Mail by animation studio Aardman. It is the first in a series of planned videos to be released during 2022 that will allow customers sending stamped mail to choose which one the recipient can see when they receive an item of mail.

First class stamp with barcode

Image credit: Royal Mail/PA Media

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

According to Royal Mail, the new barcoded stamps will have a ‘digital twin’ and the two will be connected by the app.

The barcodes match the stamp colour and sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.

Second class stamp with barcode

Image credit: Royal Mail

Barcodes will be available on so-called ‘definitive’ stamps – the regular everyday stamps featuring the profile of the Queen.

Non-barcoded definitive and Christmas stamps will remain valid until January 2023.


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