What is Barcode Network?
Barcode Network is where you can purchase any type of barcodes used in anywhere in the world. If these are retail barcodes, then they are most likely 13 digit EAN-13 barcodes, which are used predominantly in all countries except for the USA and Canada. They may also be UPC-A barcodes, which, while more common in North America, are sometimes used internationally as well. Other types of ‘Retail Barcodes’ used globally may include ITF-14 Carton codes, which are based on your EAN-13 or UPC-A barcode, but are changed slightly (by adding an extra digit to the front of them) and are used on the cartons of 6 or 12 of the corresponding EAN-13/UPC-A barcode product. ITF-14 barcodes cannot generally be scanned at the checkout, and are only used by retailers for keeping track of stock etc. Hence, if a six-pack of your product will be sold directly to customers, it will need an additional EAN-13 Barcode.
Other types of barcodes that may be used internationally are things like QR Codes. These are the 2D Barcodes seen everywhere nowadays, from billboards to business cards. They are designed to be scanned by a smartphone scanner, to link a person to a chosen URL. They can also have other functions which include sending a text or making a phone call automatically. Many people find QR codes to be a useful marketing tool for their business. The trick, however, to make it effective, is to ensure that it will be different from the hundreds of other QR codes around and that it will be scannable. A QR Code on a billboard is very difficult for people to scan as they drive past, hence doesn’t make a lot of sense. However, a QR Code on a business card is easy to scan. Furthermore, a QR Code linking to the home page of your website is boring and has been done hundreds of times. However, a QR Code linking to special offers on your website, or a more useful/ interactive page, may indeed help your QR Code to be a useful marketing tool.
Other non-retail barcodes that are commonly used are code-128 or code-39 barcodes. These barcodes are usually created based on a series of sequential numbers and are used by large companies for asset tracking, or are used by libraries/ gyms for scanning out books or members.
What is the advantage of having a barcode on my product?
There are various advantages to having a barcode for your retail product. The most obvious of these is that the vast majority of retailers use the barcoding system to increase the speed of ‘checking out’ and reduce the number of human errors possible. For these reasons, many retailers will require that you have a barcode on your product before they stock it. Even if it is not a requirement, many retailers will prefer that you have a barcode and hence be more likely to stock your product if you have a barcode.
Furthermore having a barcode on your product can generally make your product appear more professional. A product without a barcode could have been put together by anyone, but a product with a barcode has been put together by a professional and is ready for retail.
How to get a barcode?
A common misconception is that the only way to get a valid retail barcode is to go through a GS1 organisation, who licence barcodes and charge both a joining fee and annual membership fees – these usually amount to hundreds of dollars every year and can often be much more depending on the country you are in. Luckily, this is not the case, as some barcodes which are part of the GS1 system were initially sold for a one-off cost. These numbers are now officially outside of GS1’s control, and there are now organisations that on-sell these numbers for a one-time cost. Getting barcodes this way tends to be much cheaper than going through GS1, and the barcodes are generally just as good. Like with most things, you should take care of which re-sellers you buy from. Many will offer very cheap barcodes, but can’t offer good evidence as to where the barcodes come from, are difficult to contact and won’t offer any support if something goes wrong. Other companies have been in business for years and are planning to stick around. They offer a variety of guarantees and are happy to support any queries about the barcodes. We recommend members of the International Barcodes Network. This is a worldwide organisation that distributes reseller barcode numbers for a one-off cost. They have accurate up to date information on any barcode acceptance restrictions and are happy to work through individual issues with clients. They have sold over 80,000 barcodes in over 70 countries and receive high praise from all of their customers. A list of members in a variety of different countries can be seen here.
The International Barcode Network
CENTRAL / SOUTH AMERICA