More about Royal Mail 2D barcode labels

Following yesterday’s post on “Royal Mail Update on barcode labels“, it’s worth considering why Royal Mail are making this change, why they’re keen for you to upgrade to 2D barcoded labels and what the potential benefits are for you as an ecommerce retailer.

Royal Mail say that they already track more parcels than anyone else but that they also carry many parcels without a barcode. They think it’s time to change that.

They are making a huge investment in building the IT systems, introducing the most up to date, state of the art handheld technology and changing all of our processes to let them generate barcodes for all account customer parcels, scan them at key points in the Royal Mail network and then share that information with you and across their operation.

The immediate benefit of this is that all parcels (excluding items sent as letter post) will have a barcode and be scanned at the doorstep. For low value items, in the past you’ve had the choice of Signed For Recorded Delivery or , Tracked 24, Tacked 48, or Special Delivery. Once your parcels carry the 2D barcode and are scanned at the point of delivery this will probably be sufficient proof of delivery for most purposes, including in all likelihood PayPal and eBay.

The Timeline for Changes

By October 2015

Working with all of Royal Mail account customers they want to put new ‘smart’ 2D barcodes on all parcels.

Between October 2015 and Spring 2016

Royal Mail will start to scan these barcodes at key points in their network. They will run this process, in parallel to their current systems, to make sure everything is working as it should, that the track descriptions are easy to understand and Royal Mail operations and customer service teams have had plenty of practice in using them.

And then from Spring next year

Royal Mail will make this tracking information available to you and your customers.

Ongoing costs will be free for your business

Royal Mail say that as soon as possible and before October this year, you will need to switch to one of their convenient and easy to use Parcel Shipping Solutions that will start to add a barcode to all of your parcels. This means the way you produce labels will be changing and Royal Mail have negotiated a deal at £150 for a Zebra Printer but will moving forward supply all stock labels free of charge. As the supplied labels are thermal there will be no ongoing label or ink cartridge costs for your business to print Royal Mail labels.

When do you need to change by?

Ideally Royal Mail want as many people as possible to change to the new labels by October this year – in reality they need as large a number of retailers to use 2D barcodes as possible in order to fully test the solution before Spring when they make tracking available.

If you can’t change your labels by Spring, it will be more expensive for Royal Mail to process your parcels and they may decide to impose a higher price to reflect their costs.

What to do

The big benefits are that all your parcels will be scanned and tracking available. You may well see lower overall costs by not paying additional fees for products with tracking or signatures. You should see a reduction in lost or supposedly undelivered parcels.

If you’d like to ensure you’re ready for the new Royal Mail 2D barcode labels visit their website at or call 08456 564 423