Growing demand for more information about the products we buy could mean the end of the simple barcode – the blocks of black and white stripes that adorn most objects for sale and are scanned five billion times a day. First used on a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum in 1974 in a store in Ohio, barcodes have revolutionized the retail world, allowing cashiers to ring up products much faster and more accurately, while also streamlining logistics.
But shoppers are now demanding far greater transparency about products, and store owners need more information to help with stock taking, product recalls and to fight fakes. The basic barcode is just not up to the job.
That could mean a costly upheaval for retailers and brands to change packaging and invest in new systems and scanners. But it should also bring benefits as more data helps them manage the flow of goods better. “The barcode did a great job, but it is now time for succession,” said Capgemini consultant Kees Jacobs, who is working with the world’s top retailers and food manufacturers to try to agree new global standards for labels and product data. Could this growing demand for more data and information pave the way for the coming “Mark of the Beast” System mentioned in the Book of Revelation in Chapter 13? FULL REPORT