Stamps will now have their own barcode following a successful trial by Royal Mail.
The aim of the new digital stamps is to connect a letter with the digital world by allowing senders to share a video or message with the recipient.
The barcodes will match the stamp colour and sit alongside the body of the stamp, separated by a simulated perforation line.
Here is everything you need to know about the stamps:
When will the new stamps be introduced?
The stamps were launched on Tuesday, February 1, and are now available on the Royal Mail website.
What are the digital extras?
Eventually, recipients will be able to watch videos, information about services, or even birthday messages and other greetings from the senders.
At the moment, a video of Shaun the Sheep, created for Royal Mail by Aardman animation studio, can be viewed on the Royal Mail app.
This video is the first planned digital feature that is set to be introduced during 2022 and more snippets are on their way.
This will allow customers sending stamped mail to choose which one they would like the recipient to see when they get their post.
Nick Landon, Royal Mail chief commercial officer, said: ‘Introducing unique barcodes on our postage stamps allows us to connect the physical letter with the digital world and opens up the possibilities for a range of new innovative services in future.’
How to use the barcode
You will need the Royal Mail app in order to use the new digital stamp.
The new barcode will have a 'digital twin' and the two will be connected to the service.
Simply scan the barcode on the app and the video message will appear.
Can I still use a regular stamp?
The new barcodes will be available on ‘definitive’ stamps – the regular everyday stamps featuring the profile of the Queen.
Non-barcoded definitive and Christmas stamps will remain valid until January 31, 2023.
Alternatively, non-barcoded stamps can be exchanged for the new barcoded version through Royal Mail’s ‘Swap Out’ scheme.
The scheme will launch on March 31, 2022 and customers will need to fill out a form to swap their stamps.
The forms will be available via a variety of channels, including local customer service points; the Royal Mail website, and via the customer experience team.
Further details will be announced in due course.