Got questions about sourcing barcodes? We’ve got the answers right here!
Whether you need a barcode number for a new product, a barcode label to stick on your product, or a barcode image to be added to your packaging, we’ve got you covered.
Slow and Steady Is Bad for Business
Originally, barcodes were only issued by GS1 (previously EAN) Australia for Australian customers, so if you needed a retail barcode for your product, your first step was to register with GS1.
In late 2002, GS1 changed to a subscription base model, charging all members annual fees. Subscribing provides you with a number of unique barcode numbers for use with your products along with some additional services. This is still the main way to get a GS1 barcode today.
GS1 will give you a unique GS1 barcode with an Australian prefix and list your company and product on the GS1 National Database, allowing retailers to draw on this information while you remain financial.
Today, there are many companies selling GS1 Barcodes online in singles or multiples. These are sold for small fees and without the need for an annual subscription, which makes them an enticing offer for small startups looking to reduce their initial costs. These barcodes were allocated by GS1 prior to the subscription model, which is why they don’t have an annual fee associated with them.
Many of these codes have a zero starting number as they are often either allocated from the US market or are US UCPA codes. Retailers now accept these codes in Australia, and some of these online companies are offering their own searchable databases to allow retailers to draw company and product information from their own database of allocated numbers.
While these barcodes are fine to use on your products, they will prevent you from getting your products on the GS1 National Database.
Before making your choice, it’s a good idea to check with your customers first to see if they have the tools to scan your chosen barcodes.
To obtain a GS1 barcode from GS1, please click on the following link: JOIN GS1
To purchase a GS1 barcode online, simply Google “buy a barcode” or click here: Barcodes Australia
What about those online barcode sites that sell cheap barcodes? Can I get my barcodes from them?
You can buy just about anything online today and barcodes are no different—so what’s the difference?
EAN and UPC barcodes are used for all retail products, except variable weight items, books, and pharmaceuticals. This means you’ll need to obtain a GS1 barcode for items to be sold in retail markets.
However, GS1 is a business, not a government agency, so there is no law that states you have to get your barcodes directly from them. All barcodes sold by reputable online sellers are genuine GS1 barcodes that were allocated prior to GS1 adopting a subscription model, which means they do not require annual renewal.
Keep in mind, though, that large retail organizations have now changed their policies so that the supplier of the barcoded goods are responsible for the barcodes being unique and readable.
Companies who sell barcodes online are not breaking any laws. They are simply reselling GS1 barcodes that were issued prior to the change in the GS1 membership model. The barcodes they sell are no longer being used or have been sold by the original companies that no longer want them.
This doesn’t mean that there are no fake GS1 barcodes online, so make sure you are dealing with a reputable company.
The main issue with using old GS1 barcode numbers despite them being genuine is they are not always guaranteed to be unique. This means you can’t use them to register your products on the GS1 product database or register your company as the owner of these codes on the GS1 database.
Likewise, you can’t obtain the 93 prefix that lists a product as an Australian using these old codes since they usually come from the US.
Today, most large retailers use the GS1 product database via EDI to check product details when selling items. However, they have also started to accept these old barcodes. And since the sellers of these barcodes have also started running their own databases, retailers now have a way to check your product information even if your codes are not listed on the GS1 database.
Just make sure your partner retailers accept these codes before you make the investment.
To check a GTIN for its registered ownership credentials, simply visit the following link: Search by GTIN
After You Get Your Barcodes
There are a lot of things to consider once you’re ready to put a barcode on your product—and getting it wrong can be extremely costly.
It’s not just about getting the barcode to read correctly through barcode verification. You also need to consider the size of the barcode, where it’s placed on your packaging, and even the printing method used since this could make the perfect barcode totally unreadable. The best way to ensure everything goes smoothly is to get guidance straight from experts.
GS1 has prepared a barcode implementation checklist you can use.a