More about Royal Mail 2D barcode labels

No primary category set

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

26 Responses

  1. I have no interest in tracking what so ever so Is a massive hassle for no benefit, other than Royal Mails. They did send someone out to assist but I had to stop her when she said I had to type every customers name and address to produce a label

    Current plan is to switch to Myhermes for parcels and DHL post for international and ditch large letters which fortunately dont do many of anyway

  2. They left out saying:

    ‘The real reason we are doing this is to stop fraud from business sending more than they state’

    Also I have been told that on one location has the scanning equipment planned to be installed currently!

  3. >> (excluding items sent as letter post)

    To clarify, I just spoke to my rep. Large Letters are included, so I guess regular letters must still go via the usual OBA method (I didn’t ask that).

    >> ‘The real reason we are doing this is to stop fraud from business sending more than they state’

    Can you blame them? In theory at least, less fraud should enable them to be more competitive, and the benefits that bring. As long as the execution of the switchover is smooth, then I also see this as win-win.

    I’ve got everything I need to start using DMO from Monday (took around a week from start to finish) – perhaps my optimism will diminish at that point, but I remain hopeful for now!

    I’m surprised at the level of negativity. I’m looking forward to being able to provide additional tracking at no extra cost to me. Good for me and my buyers – less claims, reduced enquiries, etc

    Admittedly, didn’t enjoy the £150 printer outlay, but at least future labels are paid for, saving me some costs.


  4. ‘The real reason we are doing this is to stop fraud from business sending more than they state’

    “anyone ever heard of stamps”

  5. You don’t have to input manually, you have the option of batch import, on demand and API. I use batch import and my Royal Mail rep set this up for me.

    You don’t need a thermal printer, this is optional but recommended.

    Any move to Hermes and dhl will require the same processes.

    DMO is a good system once you get used to it.

  6. We just got the letter from Royal Mail with all their fancy cut out cards and other bits of C*&P that ends up in the shredder for composting. They tell us that they will be able to scan the barcodes at various points.
    Why have they never done this for Recorded signed for items.
    At least when the posty can’t be bothered to wait for a signature it would show up on the “TRACKING” and there is some evidence to fight with. With OBA PPI you have no information until there is an attempted delivery or delivery, IF the posty scans it.

  7. Hi all
    There is an authorised Royal Mail alternative to DMO. NetDespatch is an official third party supplier for the Royal Mail 2D barcoded label on all Royal Mail services, both domestic and international, and is provided free-of-charge, as Royal Mail pay us to provide leading edge consultancy and cloud based solutions.

    You can choose just to book your parcels online, and get the label you need, or we can work with you to automate your order to despatch process and eliminate the need for you to manually enter any customer data at all. Another advantage is that you can then just click once to produce your Sales Order Summary online, and that does all your posting to OBA.

    We also work with many different ecommerce platforms, such as Channel Advisor and ZenStores, to integrate the whole process. If you’re interested to find out more, take a look at and contact our Retail Solutions Team to hear how we can help you.

  8. I use PPI with codes crl and oz1. Do I continue as normal or does this mean I’ll need change to another service? Or will I need to add 2D barcodes to my current PPI?

  9. .
    Eggs or chicken that is the question…..

    I had a 5 minute conversation with a RM collect driver this afternoon and when asked about scanners in local sorting offices & change of labels, he just looked at me with that look, ie: what are you talking about??????.

    Seems RM staff have not even been briefed about this yet….

  10. Hi Everyone

    Royal Mail 2D Barcoding from October. Having read all 40 plus 24 of the posts, you are ALL CORRECT ….

    For some, the new 2D Barcode will work, and for others, it won’t and for those it won’t work for, itwill be a complete nightmare to switch over!

    We’ve had several conversations with RM, a few emails and literally hundreds of conversations with RM Customers (which are our Customers too), and here are some points made to us which could be worth reading :-

    – Exemption to Switching to DMO has been granted to several users of OBA already by RM
    – DMO does take far longer to operate than OBA
    – Your Order Processing Times will increase by using DMO
    – Customers have reported they may have to employ extra
    Staff on a Part Time Basis purely to help with the DMO Input
    – Automation is available to minimise DMO input time
    – Batch Auto Input to DMO, means then trying to match the Output Labels to your Orders. By the time you batch input
    10 Addresses. and then print and match them up, you may as well input the addresses manually – but there is no time saving.
    – Scope for Error – matching the DMO Label to the wrong order (you all know this WILL happen at some point!)
    – Processing Orders quickly and efficiently is paramount to keeping Customers – OBA helps to do this better than DMO
    – A few Customers are looking to switch to a 3d Party Postal Provider – already cheaper and more efficient
    – And what happens in March/April every year – PRICE HIKES

    We use a combination of Postal Providers, RM, APC and the occasional Hermes – all are great in their given fields. However, anything over 2kg doesn’t get sent via RM, its simply not a cost effective service and RM24 doesn’t actually mean 24 Hour Service (as many of you already know and have experienced).

    I’m sure the RM24/48 via DMO with the new 2D Barcode, will show us all exactly how long it takes for the Parcels to arrive at their destinations after posting …. Will RM24 arrive 24 Hours later? Will RM48 arrive 48 Hours later ? We already know the answers …….

  11. Hi

    We post on average 40 parcels a week, currently use OBA / PPI . Not keen on DMO due to lots of negative feedback from users of it.

    Please can anyone advise of an alternative provider/software package that will create these new 2D barcodes that meet RM criteria….. would need to be cost effective solution to be worthwhile?

    Much appreciated…..


Royal Mail Bladed Items; Sharp Objects and Weapons update

Royal Mail Bladed Items; Sharp Objects and Weapons update

Are reputable shops selling fake stamps

Are reputable shops (and Royal Mail!) supplying fake stamps?

Royal Mail announces nationwide locker service with Quadient

Royal Mail announces nationwide locker service with Quadient

Royal Mail 2020 - 2024 Stamp Prices

Royal Mail 2024 Stamp Prices

Royal Mail green surcharge doubles in 2024 price rises

Royal Mail green surcharge doubles in 2024 price rises

ChannelX Guide...

Featured in this article from the ChannelX Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


Take a look through a selection of the latest articles on ChannelX

Register for Newsletter

Receive 5 newsletters per week

Gain access to all research

Be notified of upcoming events and webinars