Its a good question and one that you need to really consider – read on to find out more…
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.
So you need to put Barcodes on your products but your not sure where best to get them?
Know who your buying your Barcodes From!!
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 based 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 provide you with a range of unique GS1 barcodes with an Australian prefix and list your company and product on the GS1 National Database for each product, allowing retailers to draw on this information – while you remain a financial member.
Where a barcode is obtained from GS1, it is held under the terms of a licence. Therefore, the company using the barcode is not itself the owner of the barcode, but instead a licensee. The barcode can only be used in accordance with the licence.
GS1’s terms and conditions provide that only the licensee may use the barcodes and that the barcodes may not be transferred or used by another party. GS1’s terms also provide that any intellectual property rights in the barcodes will be owned by GS1, with the right to take any legal action in respect of any alleged infringements being reserved to GS1 only
Today, there are many independent companies selling GS1 Barcodes online in singles or multiples. These are sold for a small fee and without the need for an annual GS1 subscription, which makes them an enticing offer for small startups looking to reduce their initial costs. These barcodes were either allocated by GS1 prior to the subscription model, or they are UPC-A codes that have been sourced overseas in bulk and sold in small allocations, which is why they don’t have a GS1 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. Most retailers are now accepting 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 barcodes allocated by non-GS1 Australia companies may be fine to use on your products, they will prevent you from getting your products on the GS1 National Database. In addition, codes sourced this way will not provide you with a company prefix. Before making your choice, it’s a good idea to check with your customers first to see if they will accept these barcodes.
To obtain a GS1 barcode from GS1 Australia, please click on the following link: JOIN GS1
To purchase a GS1 barcode online, simply Google “buy a barcode” or click here: Barcodes Australia
Can I get my barcodes from those cheap online sellers?
You can buy just about anything online today and barcodes are no different—so what’s the difference?
EAN13 and UPC-A barcodes are used for 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. Barcodes sold by reputable online sellers are genuine GS1 barcodes that were allocated either prior to GS1 Australia adopting a subscription model or they are overseas allocated codes, which means they do not require annual renewal to GS1 Australia.
Keep in mind, though, that large retail organizations have now changed their policies so that the supplier of the barcoded goods is responsible for the barcodes being unique and readable.
Companies that sell barcodes online are not breaking any laws. They are simply reselling GS1 barcodes that were issued prior to the change in the GS1 Australia membership model or they were sourced from overseas GS1 offices. Sometimes, the barcodes they sell are no longer being used or have been sold by the original companies that no longer want them; please note that you will not be registered as the new owner so the allocated company prefix will not be listed to you!
This doesn’t mean that there are no fake GS1 barcodes online, so make sure you are dealing with a reputable company, and get assurances that the barcode is unique. As mentioned, this responsibility lies with you!
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 Australian allocation prefix that lists a product as being allocated by GS1 Australian 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 some 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.
We have prepared a barcode implementation checklist you can use.