GS1 Digital Link: Why Brands Need It (and How Tappr Helps)

How GS1 standards prevent vendor lock-in and fosters a more sustainable supply chain. Discover how Tappr supports GS1 for a seamless DPP experience.

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As digital product passports continue to gain traction in the business world, there's a growing need for a standardized system to ensure their widespread adoption and effectiveness. GS1, a global organization that develops and maintains supply chain standards, provides a powerful solution. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of GS1 standards, why brands should care, and how Tappr supports these standards to unlock the full potential of digital product passports.

What is GS1?

To refresh your memory, GS1 is the organization that helped the whole world with UPC barcodes (or GTIN). Whether you sell your product in Europe, Africa, or Asia, everywhere barcodes are used. GS1 has 116 local member organizations and over 2 million user companies.

Fun fact for our Dutch readers, although the UPC started in the USA. Albert Heijn has been crucial in building the initial GS1 standards.

Why Brands Should Care About GS1

It all comes down to interoperability and preventing brands from vendor locki-ns. The latter is discussed in more detail later in this post.


GS1 standards enable seamless communication and data sharing between various systems and players in the ecosystem. By adhering to these standards, brands can improve their operations, reduce errors, and streamline processes, increasing efficiency and cost savings.

Below are some examples of essential ecosystem partners that benefit from the interoperability of GS1 standards:

  • Textile Recycling Organizations
  • Traceability & Environmental systems
  • Cashier Systems
  • Manufacturers and Suppliers: 
  • Logistics and Transportation Providers:
  • Certification Bodies and Regulatory Agencies: 
  • E-commerce Platforms and (Resale) Marketplaces

By adopting GS1 standards, the entire ecosystem can communicate more effectively, leading to increased efficiency, reduced errors, and improved sustainability. The widespread adoption of GS1 standards will be essential in creating a more interconnected and streamlined global supply chain, ultimately benefiting all stakeholders involved.

Vendor lock-in

The discomfort of vendor lock-in - luckily, not with Tappr.

When you work with a Digital Product Passport provider that does not support GS1, be prepared for a tight vendor lockin. Switching from a DPP provider will become extra costly and even impossible. If your provider fails to meet the below two points, you're locked with the vendor throughout the entire lifecycle of all products you have released using the particular vendor's DPP solution.

For the readers that thoroughly understand the GS1 Digital Link structure. We use the word provider to make it readable, but technically speaking, we mean resolver per the standard.

1. Brands should own the domain name encoded in the QR codes/tags

The essential element to ensure you're not vendor-locked requires brands to own the domain name associated with the QR codes.

Many competitors of Tappr use their private domain names. Every QR code or NFC tag that goes into a brand's product connects to that vendor's domain name for the rest of its lifecycle.

If you decide to move from the DPP provider, you can not transfer/bring the old QR codes; they are locked!

2. Brands should work with a provider/resolver that supports the GS1 Digital Link structure

Even if brands maintain their domain name, sticking to the GS1 Digital URI structure is essential. In this way, when you decide to switch DPP provider, the new DPP provider can still serve the old QR's that have been deployed.

When a DPP provider uses a custom structure (which almost all providers besides Tappr seem to do), switching and using another provider will be impossible. The new provider will not support the custom URI structure (or will charge high implementation costs to maintain this custom structure).

How Tappr works with custom domains & Digital Link URI structure

At Tappr, we enable you to use your brand's domain name and stick to the GS1 URI structure. These two features will prevent brands from getting locked into Tappr.

Tappr believes the choice is always the better option. Brands should not stay with us because our sales team first locked you into our platform. You want to work with us because we consistently deliver the most advanced and successful DPP platform.

Continued GS1 support

GS1 standards are crucial in successfully implementing and adopting digital product passports. By embracing these standards, brands can enhance their supply chain efficiency, increase transparency and traceability, and meet regulatory requirements. Tappr's support for GS1 standards ensures businesses can seamlessly integrate digital product passports into their operations and unlock their full potential. As brands increasingly adopt digital product passports, integrating GS1 standards will be paramount in shaping a more sustainable, transparent, and efficient global supply chain.

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