Variable data printing, sometimes known as variable information printing or personalisation, is a technique used to add unique information to each label we print for you.

This post explains the different types of variable data labels and how you can use them to enhance your product.

Different Types of Variable Data Labels:

Barcode Labels

Perhaps the most recognised variable data label is a barcode label. First used in the UK in 1979, the familiar pattern of black stripes revolutionised the retail trade. Furthermore, this method of representing data, such as price and batch code, in a series of machine-readable lines is still widely used today.

QR Code Labels

Quick response or QR codes were developed in the 1990s. Whereas barcodes are one dimensional QR codes are two dimensional, meaning they can hold a lot more data.

With the advent of mass mobile phone ownership QR codes were enthusiastically adopted by marketers keen to find a new way of engaging consumers. Since QR codes can be scanned using a phone, their possibilities are endless. Moreover, the QR code has been dubbed the ‘come-back kid’ and with the advent of dynamic QR codes and accessible QR codes, their use is set to skyrocket.

QR code peel & reveal labels

Sequentially Numbered Labels

As the name suggests sequentially numbered labels include unique numbers printed on each label. Perhaps the best example is the humble raffle ticket where each label in a book contains a unique number printed in sequence.

Our printers are capable of printing sequential numbers quickly and easily. Furthermore, more complex number sequences can also be printed using a pre-prepared database.

Variable Text & Image Labels

In the same way that variable codes and numbers can be printed onto your label, label text and images can be varied too. Personalised messages applied across your base labels can be printed in colour and even metallics to give real stand-out value.

When to Use Variable Data Labels:

Turning to the uses for variable data labels, we have identified six key areas where they can add value to your label. Though we are sure there are many more innovative uses to be had!

Product Labelling

Barcodes are seen on all high-volume consumer product labels. They form a fundamental part of retailers pricing and stock control systems. If you sell your products through a retail outlet, then a barcode is an essential element of your product label.

On-pack Promotions

QR code labels are an easy way to drive customer engagement via an on-pack promotion. Add a QR code to direct customers to your competition website, to a money-off voucher or other promotional device.

Alternatively, add winning numbers to your peel and reveal label leading customers to prize draws or future purchase discounts.

With ever increasing competition for consumer spend, on pack promotions remain a successful way to attract repeat purchase.

Product Personalisation

Simple personalisation, like adding a name and address to a piece of marketing material has been around for decades. Moreover, mass personalisation was popular in pre-internet days to engage consumers using direct mail.

Perhaps one of the most high-profile packaging personalisation campaigns was the ‘Share a Coke’ campaign in 2011. Coke chose 150 of the most popular names in the country and added them to their cans. Customers were encouraged to share images of themselves and their can, on social media. The promotion was phenomenally successful and led the way for many copy-cat campaigns.

Today, you don’t need to be a multi-national brand to utilise the benefits of personalised labelling. Simply provide us with a database of your personalisation text, along with your label artwork, and we can quickly and easily produce your labels. 

Regulatory Purposes

When you need to add a high volume of mandatory information on a small package, such as a cosmetics label, a variable data QR code can be invaluable. Particularly popular in the health and beauty, pharmaceutical and vape sectors, a QR code label can direct consumers to your website for vital information.

Furthermore, the new EU wine label regulation, (EU) 2021/2117, states that certain mandatory labelling information can be accessed electronically via a QR code on wine bottle labels. This includes a list of ingredients and nutritional information. This is an important step to keep your all-important wine label design aesthetically pleasing whilst complying with the regulation.

Product Authentication

If you manufacture high value, luxury items your products may be more vulnerable to the threat of counterfeiting. Furthermore, your customers will want to be sure that they have purchased a genuine product.

Protect your brand by using a variable data code or number sequence so that consumers can be sure of authenticity. Add sophisticated design and label embellishments, like holographic effects, for extra anti-counterfeiting features.

Asset Tracking

Sequential numbers or batch numbers can be printed on asset labels to keep track of equipment across your business. Moreover, some businesses also use barcode labels for this purpose where they have the scanners available.

Finally, we hope this blog post gives you food for thought. Variable data labels offer a vast opportunity for your business and the benefits are endless. Please feel free to talk to our knowledgeable team who will be delighted to discuss your project and guide you to the best labelling solution.

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