UPC Barcodes: An Introduction

Selling in traditional stores and online markets like Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, and Ebay requires accurate product identification. Standardized global identifiers known as UPC barcodes, or UPC Codes, allow products to be monitored, reordered, and sold throughout supply chains. The UPC barcode is the first step towards accurate product identification because it serves as the foundation for everything else.

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We receive questions about UPC adoption and worldwide barcode supply on a daily basis. The following are some of the most frequent inquiries concerning barcodes and UPC codes:

UPC codes: what are they?

The phrase “UPC Code” is redundant because UPC stands for “Universal Product Code” by definition. The UPC Barcode sign is sometimes referred to as a “UPC Code.” In essence, a “UPC Code” is a barcode symbol that encodes a 12-digit number known as a GTIN-12. The GTIN-12 is basically the UPC data, as explained below, with the primary sources being a UPC Company Prefix and Item Reference Numbers.

A barcode: what is it?

A barcode is a data-conveying visual symbol. Barcode symbols typically use patterns of bars and spaces as their characters. The UPC barcode, often known as UPC-A, is the most widely used linear barcode. An example is the barcode picture up above. Note that there are a plethora of more barcode language varieties. The many barcode languages employ bar/space patterns to transmit data, just as English and French use the Roman character set (A, B, C, etc.). The UPC-A barcode symbol is made up of twelve numbers.

A UPC Company Prefix: What Is It?

The distinct business identifiers that are given to every company form the foundation of the GTIN identifying system. The standards body in charge of product identification guidelines and numbers is called GS1 Global. The main function of the more than 104 local GS1 offices is to license GS1 Company Prefixes to domestic businesses. GS1 US is the local office in the US. Products can be acknowledged and recognized worldwide thanks to the distinctiveness of the brand-specific GS1 Company Prefix. The cost to license GS1 Prefixes is set by each nation and is typically determined by the total number of items that an organization must identify.

Retailers and online marketplaces require that suppliers license the UPC Company Prefix to their brands. Major retailers and online marketplaces will not accept UPC barcodes without appropriately licensed prefixes because accurate and unique manufacturing identification is essential to retail supply chains. Put otherwise, you are unable to identify your products using the UPCs of another business or a reseller. The denominations offered by the GS1 Prefix licenses include 1–10, 1-100, 1-1000, 1–10,000, 1–100,000,

For my products, how many UPC codes do I need?

Every single product you intend to sell will require a distinct UPC Code. Every product variation must have its own UPC, so that items with varying dimensions and hues will each have an own UPC.

What distinguishes EAN and UPC barcodes from one another?

UPCs, or “Universal Product Codes,” are recognized worldwide, as was previously said. The European Article Number, or EAN, was the standard international identifier. Manufacturers had difficulties before to 2005 since 13-digit EAN barcodes were utilized internationally while UPCs were used in the US. The EAN format is virtually the same as the UPC format, with the exception that it has a preceding “0” to produce 13 digits instead of 10. The UPC was only twelve digits, therefore foreign point-of-sale (POS) systems usually had no issues with it. However, US retailers were unable to decipher the 13-digit EANs. GS1 was formed by the UCC (Uniform Code Council) and all of the EAN country organizations. Establishing the 2005 Sunrise Date was one of the initial steps toward educating US companies about the need to have their systems capable of reading 14-digit numbers (GTINs).

There is never a need to include both types of barcodes on a product because modern scanners can read both EAN and UPC barcodes. Only UPC barcodes should be used by US businesses.