Top ways to use variable data labels

How could variable data labels help your business?

Variable data labels, each containing an individual piece of data, are used widely to track raw materials and finished goods, identify and authenticate products, provide consumers with additional information and promotions, and much more.

Variable data labels can contain data in various formats such as barcodes, 2D codes, QR codes, alphanumeric codes or sequential numbers, depending on the purpose of the label.

We’ve put together a list of the top ways our customers use their variable data labels. We hope it will give you some ideas about where variable data might enhance your business.

1. Tracking reusable despatch containers – licence plate number (LPN) labels, each with an individual, variable print, barcode, are applied to a re-usable container to track it through the supply chain.  LPN labels can be made of a single-use material or a durable material, protected with a laminate if they need to be used many times.

2. Tracking parcels through a distribution hub – logistic tracking labels, sequentially numbered or with unique barcodes, applied at the point of entry into a distribution or sorting centre, enable the swift movement of parcels through the hub.

3. On pack promotions – promotional peel and reveal labels, each with a hidden alphanumeric or QR code that links through to a promotional website, are attached to consumer packs to encourage consumer engagement. Self-adhesive promotional labels can be printed on the face, inside layers and even on the adhesive to give ultimate flexibility. Watch our video to see how to peel and to reveal labels are made.

4. Product authentication – simple sequentially numbered variable data labels and tags are used to combat counterfeiting and assure consumers that they are purchasing an authentic product. Authentication labels can also act as tamper seals or security seals for further consumer protection.

5. Lottery style promotions – scratch cards and scratch labels with multiple symbols that, when revealed, lead to a prize or voucher code are used by promoters and event organisers. Multiple winning opportunities can be printed on the same card to give more chances to win.

6. Protecting company assets – asset tags and labels are used to keep track of assets, such as computers, printers, documents and files, across large organisations in any industry sector.

7. Identity stock location – durable barcoded and number referenced labels, called pallet location labels or rack labels, are used to identify a stock location or pallet space as part of a warehouse labelling system.

8. On pack variable messages – multiple message product or information labels, containing a variable text box where a recipe idea, facts about the brand or even a joke appears randomly, are used in retail. Variable data labels of this type are particularly useful where customers buy multiple packs as they maintain interest and engagement.

9. Tracking blood and urine samples – automated testing equipment, such as a Roche Cobas 6000 analyser, use blood/urine test tube labels with barcodes to track samples as they go through the test machine. At the point of registering the incoming sample into the laboratory, a set of unique variable data labels is applied to each test tube or vial to accurately track the sample.

10. Product protection and security – product labels, security labels and security seals are used to protect branded products and incorporate a QR code or symbol to help guarantee their authenticity. Variable data is also frequently used on event tickets for authentication and security purposes.

11. Return labels – Royal Mail approved returns labels with unique, pre-printed variable data barcodes are used as a simple way to manage product returns and they are less expensive than producing complicated integrated labels. Each barcode is used only once and is scanned by Royal Mail to chargeback postage; unused codes are not charged.

12. Tracking and authenticating medicines – it is mandatory for all medicines to be traceable back to their origins. Barcoded tamper seals, tamper proof labels and security seals have the dual purpose of maintaining traceability and ensuring security.

If you think that variable data labels containing barcodes, 2D codes, QR codes or sequential numbers could help your business with traceability, authentication or consumer engagement, call our team to discuss your requirements.