Royal Mail is to introduce the UK’s first barcoded stamps this month with unique barcodes added to a limited number of 2nd class stamps.

The initial pilot will see the first barcoded stamps appear on around 20 million 2nd Class UK stamps sold to business customers on sheets via office supply and stationary specialist Viking Direct and the Royal Mail online shop.

The barcodes will ensure that the stamps in question can be uniquely identified, in a move that could pave the way for innovative customer services in future.

The barcodes will sit alongside the main body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line. The barcode will be colour matched with the stamp.

Chard & Ilminster News: New barcodes will be added to stamps. (Royal Mail)New barcodes will be added to stamps. (Royal Mail)

Nick Landon, Chief Commercial Officer at Royal Mail, said: “This initiative will see Royal Mail become one of the first postal authorities in the world to add unique barcodes to stamps.

“By doing this, we are looking to transform the humble stamp so that we can offer our customers even more convenient, new services in the future.

“Royal Mail has a long and proud history for creating innovative and intuitive postal solutions. This goes all the way back to the Penny Black which established the principle of the one-price-goes-anywhere universal service - to the recent launch of Parcel Collect – where we pick up our customers’ parcels from the doorstep.”

He added: “The pilot of barcoded stamps reflects our commitment to constantly evolve our products and services in line with the ever-changing needs of our customers.”

The initiative forms part of Royal Mail’s ongoing modernisation drive aimed at bringing even greater convenience to its customers.

In October, Royal Mail launched a parcel pick-up service across the UK in a shake-up of the daily round.

In November Royal Mail launched additional inflight delivery options to offer greater convenience and flexibility for receiving customers. The move enables customers, who are not going to be at home to receive their item, to select alternative delivery options while the parcel is on its way.

In December Royal Mail joined forces with a consortium of established UK drone companies, in a UK first, the consortium arranged an initial drone delivery to a remote lighthouse on the Isle of Mull.

The first barcoded stamps will be sold online to businesses from the 23rd March, via Viking Direct and the Royal Mail shop.