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Ecommerce Forum

Barcoding 101

 2:37 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I have decided to start improving the quality of our product packaging. We also need to start barcoding our products too.

I'm leaning toward having one style of box, but in different sizes and then slapping a label on the back. The label would have a barcode, product sku, description of the product.

I'm planning on having this done by our factories.

Am I on the right track? Any suggestions or other things I have not thought off?

Most of the barcodes I have seen are some long number. How do you typically come up with that?



 2:48 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

You'll need to choose what type of bar code is printed.

There's various sizes, with narrow or wider bands, and various digit lengths.

There's an international numbering scheme which you will need to conform to, though if the code are only used in-house there are shorter (less digits) number ranges for that (you'll see them on "own-brand" products in shops).

There are various numbering conventions, UPC, EAN and others, typically: 2 digits for country code, 5 digits for maker, 5 digits for item, and a checksum digit.

Of course, with room for 100 country codes, 100 000 companies per country and 100 000 products per company the system design was massively under-specified.

Pick the wrong system and you'll find some readers can't read them.

Instead of barcodes, would this be a use for QR codes?


 2:59 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I'm looking to start using a fulfillment company in Australia and the asked about the barcoding.

I would also like to be able to scan the bar codes for our in house shipping center so we can start scanning items as the leave.

What are QR codes?


 4:14 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

QR codes allow a LOT more information, hundreds of characters, and not just some numbers, but also the product description, your web address and more.

I'd visit Wikipedia and read the "barcode" and "QR code" articles as a starter.


 4:17 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

I would be tempted to use QR codes. Through time you will probably find you will need to migrate to QR, it may make sense to go ahead and use QR codes from the start.



 4:57 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

Re bar codes..If you want them to be unique to your company..you have to buy them from your authorised outlet ( depends on your country ) in blocks of, as g1smd said 100,000 ..if you don't mind them not mentioning your company, there are places that you can buy smaller blocks that were "previously allocated, but unused" from ..


 10:55 pm on Jan 4, 2013 (gmt 0)

it may make sense to go ahead and use QR codes from the start.

That choice will be dictated by your customers, barcode readers are well established and reliable. Leosghost's suggestion on buying barcodes from a third party is good if you only need a fairly small block. You will need to check out the issuing authority for barcodes in your own country to get the costs of full registration.

All this discussion is relating to barcodes for "widgets", there are special rules for books and magazines.


 2:02 pm on Jan 5, 2013 (gmt 0)

Thanks everyone, I will do some research on both.
I will also check with the fulfillment center since they are the ones asking about it.

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