GS1 Digital Link Standard to Help Brands Connect Consumers with Product Information

GS1 Digital Link Standard to Help Brands Connect Consumers with Product Information

Mobile-ready Hero Images guideline also introduced to streamline the display of mobile-optimized product images.

August 16, 2018

GS1, the global information standards organization, has ratified a new global Web standard and guideline to help industry optimize the online shopping experience. As businesses begin to deploy solutions leveraging the new GS1 Digital Link standard, brands and retailers can web-enable barcodes and provide consumers with a direct link to brand-authorized product information and content including product images, expiration dates, nutritional data, warranty registration, troubleshooting instructions, discount offers, and more. Additionally, the GS1 Mobile Ready Hero Images guideline standardizes the combination of product images and information viewed on mobile devices. 

Developed by an international working group of retailers, brand owners, solution providers, and technology experts, GS1 Digital Link is a digitally enabled, globally unique identifier resembling a URL web address. It leverages the ubiquity of the Internet and data carriers, including barcodes or QR codes, to enable solutions that help consumers connect directly to brand-authorized product information instantly via product packaging. 

“Accurate product data and information transparency are critical to informing today’s purchase decisions,” said Carrie Wilkie, senior vice president, standards development, GS1 US. “By leveraging GS1 Digital Link, any product can now be automatically connected to the web and represented in a clear, accurate consistent format that promotes brand, retailer and consumer interaction, including robust product engagement opportunities.” 

For supply chains, GS1 Digital Link can provide important safety information regarding the transport or disposal of product as well as photographic evidence of a product’s chain of custody to help prove authenticity, GS1 said. Pilot projects are underway, as solution providers and brand owners are already collaborating to upgrade their platforms to support this new standard. 

Recognizing the importance of images and clear communication of product information for the mobile shopping experience, the Mobile Ready Hero Images guideline helps brands provide a consistent image experience by specifying best practices for displaying four critical pieces of product information in a standardized format: brand, format, variant, and size. The guideline also provides specifications and recommendations for featuring images on mobile devices.   

“With online shopping growing exponentially, it is essential for industry to collaborate to make product information accessible, accurate and easy to understand. With the ratification of GS1 Digital Link and the GS1 Mobile Ready Hero Images guideline, businesses around the globe will be better-equipped to meet the demands of information hungry consumers,” said Robert Beideman, senior vice president, solutions and innovation, GS1. 

GS1 Digital Link and the GS1 Mobile Ready Hero Images guideline were developed through the Global Standards Management Process (GSMP), the community-based forum, facilitated by GS1, where businesses facing common problems work together and develop standards-based solutions. For more information about GS1 US, visit; for GS1, visit