Amazon Barcode UPC vs. GS1! Which One Should You Get?!
How to Obtain a UPC Code
Getting a Universal Product Code (UPC) for your products may be required when selling through major retail vendors. UPCs are distributed through a nonprofit entity called GS1, and consist of a company prefix, an Item Reference Number, and a check digit. Once you fill out an application through GS1, pay a fee, and choose the right barcode for your products, you’ll be ready to take your business to the next level!
Applying For a UPC
Figure out how many products you will need UPCs for.This will allow you to estimate how many Item Reference Numbers (IRNs) you will need, and how many digits your highest IRN will have. For instance, if you expect to need UPCs for 75,000 products, your highest IRN will be 75000, which is 5 digits long. Your IRN should then take up 5 of your UPC’s 12 digits.
- Keep in mind that you will need a different UPC for each unique product, including different colors and sizes of the same product.
- Be generous in your estimate if you expect your company to grow. If you use up all your UPCs and need more, you’ll have to go through the whole process again.
Calculate how long your company prefix should be.Your company prefix and IRN combined will take up 11 of your UPC’s 12 digits. Subtract the number of digits in your IRN from 11 to find the length of your company prefix.
- The last number is the check digit, which is mathematically calculated from the other numbers and serves to help confirm their accuracy.
Apply for a company prefix through the GS1 website.You will need to know how long your company prefix should be, along with all your company’s essential information, such as address and phone number. You’ll also need contact information for your company’s executive if it is not yourself. You can access the application form here: .
- You will need to pay an application fee, which will range from 0 for 1-10 barcodes to ,500 for 100-1,000 barcodes. The amount of the fee is determined by the length of your company prefix, which reflects how many barcodes you’ll be able to order using that prefix.
Assign an IRN to each of your products.Your full UPC will consist of your assigned company prefix, followed by an IRN specific to each product you’re selling, followed by a single check digit. You can assign IRNs to your products either by choosing each IRN yourself and adding the check digit using GS1’s check digit calculator, or by using GS1’s online tool, Data Driver, which is included with your application fee.
- Keeping track of your IRNs can be a challenge, especially if you choose them yourself. You may want to use GS1’s free service, Data Hub, to track and double-check your IRNs.
Choose a design for your barcode.The safest option for easy scanning is black bars on a white background, but you can also choose blue bars and yellow or red backgrounds. The barcode itself should be between 1.1875 in × 0.813 in (3.016 cm × 2.065 cm) and 2.92 in × 2.04 in (7.4 cm × 5.2 cm), with unprinted space to the left and right for easy scanning.
Buy digital barcodes if you haven’t finalized your product’s packaging.Use the GS1 website to order digital barcodes with the UPCs you chose. You will receive them in .eps format, which can then be used in your packaging design using an application like Adobe Photoshop.
- The barcode should be located somewhere on the package that will remain flat and unwrinkled for easy scanning. Barcodes are usually placed in the lower right-hand corner of the back of the package.
- Changing the size of the barcode may affect how well it scans. To be on the safe side, double-check to make sure you get the size you need.
Order physical barcodes if you have already printed your packaging.You can order these through the GS1 website. They will come in the form of adhesive labels, which you can then physically apply to all of your products.
- Physical barcode labels are more expensive than digital ones, so you should only choose this option if your packaging materials have already been produced.
- Your labels should be placed in the same location on all of your products. Choose a place that will be easy to scan and unlikely to wrinkle during shipping and handling.
Verify your barcodes.Before you send your products off to a retailer, you’ll want to make sure all your barcodes scan the way they’re supposed to. There are several certified services that will verify your barcode for you for a fee. You can find a full list here: .
- You may also wish to buy your own verification equipment through GS1, such as the GS1 Conformance Standard Test Cards.
- UPCs are sometimes referred to with the more general term of Global Trade Item Number (GTIN).
- There are several services that sell used UPCs, but this is a risky choice. While it may be cheaper, most major retailers do not accept UPCs unless the company prefix matches the company using it.It’s better to pay a little more rather than risk wasting your money or limiting yourself.
Video: How to Get a UPC Code: List Items on Amazon that Don’t Have a UPC code, ISBN or EAN Barcode
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