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Product barcodes

September 1st, 2010 / By: / Ask the Experts

Question: We have the opportunity to sell some of our cushions through a local retailer, but we need to have a barcode. Where do we get one?

Answer: Many retailers and other entities that sell use barcodes, a Universal Product Code that appears as bars of black and white. These are typically located on some sort of sticker or tag on the product and the code can be machine scanned at the point of purchase. The bars represent numbers and these numbers identify not only the product, but also the company that the product is from. This system was created in the 1970s and is currently managed by GS1.

To get started, the first step is to apply for a GS1 Company Prefix. You can do this online and it’s important to keep in mind that your company will be identified exactly as it is typed in, so make sure to capitalize appropriately and to double-check your spelling. You should also have the following information at hand: (1) Your estimated annual sales, (2) the approximate number of different products you’ll be selling and, of course, (3) a major credit card or check to make your payment. Once you’ve received a GS1 Company Prefix, which takes about 24 hours, they’ll assist you in the further steps needed to develop UPC codes for specific products.

SOURCE GS1 US

Juli Case is IFAI’s information and technical services manager.

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