6 things you need to know before barcoding your products
There are two ways to source barcode numbers for your products. The first is from GS1 – the official international provider of barcode numbers. Here you will be leasing your barcodes annually and will be required to pay an upfront registration fee as well. The alternative is to purchase your barcodes through a reputable reseller such as SA Barcodes. Barcode resellers have sourced their numbers directly from GS1 prior to law changes made in 2002 – which now enables them to resell barcodes at a once-off rate to clients. With a barcode reseller, there are no annual fees involved – once purchased, the barcodes will belong to you for life.
3. Which format you need to use
For all products that are going to be sold in retail stores (and this ranges from DVDs to toasters to juice to pillow cases), you will require a retail barcode number which is coded into either a UPC or EAN format. For books and magazines, an ISBN or ISSN respectively is going to be needed as your publication details will be captured onto the National Library of your country.
4. How many barcode numbers you need for your product range
The simple breakdown? One unique barcode number for every product variation. For example, if you’re selling 250ml and 500ml juices in apple, orange and mango, you will require 6 barcodes:
5. How you’re going to print your barcodes
Not to worry if you can’t tell the difference between a JPEG and a PNG or if you’ve only ever printed a Word Document. You have a few options for getting your products barcoded in a professional manner. Graphic designers and printing companies are usually clued up when it comes to correct sizing, scannability and printing. So once you’ve got your numbers or images, simply forward them on to the experts and they will know what to do. If you’ve already approved and printed your product packaging, barcode resellers such as ourselves can offer to print labels of your barcodes to stick onto your packaging.
6. Whether your final product is actually scannable
Always ensure that you test out your barcodes before going ahead with the final major print run. Ask your printers or the barcode company you’re using to send you a few samples of your printed barcodes so that you can check if they’re scannable. You can do this by scanning the images with a regular barcode scanner, or if you don’t have one, head on over to your intended retailers and ask them to scan your barcodes for you.