Understanding Barcodes

By Erik Quisling

Barcodes are useful tools that help businesses track products, prices, and stock levels through a computer system to allow for significant increases in productivity and efficiency. The lines and patterns on a barcode allow product information to be easily read by a scanning device, and automatically enters that information into a computer system. This makes recording information an efficient process and eliminates the potential for human data entry error. When barcodes first started out, they consisted of 1-dimensional designs with simple black lines which could only be read by certain scanning devices. Today, barcodes come in many shapes and sizes and a variety of designs that can even be read by smartphones and other devices.

 

If your company is putting a product on the market, purchasing barcodes will likely be a high priority. Universal Product Codes (UPC) and European Article Number Codes (EAN) are 12-digit numbers that provide retailers with the ability to track product purchases. These codes were originally created to help grocery stores make the check-out process more efficient and keep track of product inventory. In the present day, UPCs and EANs are used virtually everywhere by almost every retailer. 

Where Do Barcodes Work?

UPC codes work in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Australia, and many other countries. Some countries will only use EAN codes, but other countries will accept both EAN and UPC codes. If you are aiming to sell a product in any online store that uses barcodes for tracking purposes, a UPC or EAN code will be required. Whether you are listing a product on Amazon, Google Merchant Center, Target, Sears, or Walgreens, the product will need a UPC before it can be purchased. Before purchasing barcodes, make sure to check with your retailers and ask about their specific needs.

 

– Erik Quisling

Erik Quisling is the Founder and CEO of Buyabarcode.com. Started in 1999, Buyabarcode.com has been featured in both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and has helped more than 100,000 businesses bring their products to market with barcodes.
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