Some of our customers ask how their product data is “encoded” into the barcode or if their barcode needs to be registered on a global database. To be clear there is no information inside the bars and no centralised database. The vertical black and white bars simply represent the sequence of numbers shown below. When a scanner reads a barcode the number sequence is instantly recognised by the store’s POS system rather than being typed manually. If the store has an entry in their system matching the number it will then return product information such as price, name and size.
Barcodes are simply a globally unique number that is first assigned to your product by you. The number is later recorded in a retailer’s sales/inventory system when they accept your product for the first time. So once you incorporate your barcode into your product’s artwork/labels the barcode number has already begun doing it’s job of representing your product in the supply chain. If you have purchased a block of barcodes you will need to keep a record of your code assignments to avoid duplication.
Each new retailer/distributor will enter the barcode into their system when the product is introduced and input the price, description and company information. There is no centralised database that will make your product details appear in every store. Even GS1’s GEPIR database does not store product data (only company info) and is not integrated with stores. Further most GS1 National Product catalogues only integrate with a limited number of retailers.
There are a couple of methods when supplying your product and barcode information to retailers. One by submitting an Excel Sheet to your retailer demonstrating your barcode assignment where additional information (price/company/reorder code) can be included. In other cases, you’ll be required by your retailer to fill out a product information or vendor form linking your product information to your barcode number. Either way the retailer will transfer your product information into their sales system thus allowing your product to be scanned at POS and tracked by store inventory software.
For e-commerce platforms such as Amazon and Ebay, a field for Product ID is used to supply your barcode number. This will occur when listing your product for the first time.
For your product’s barcode to be scanned by smartphone apps, you will need to register your barcode number and product information with a company that maintains a database that is subscribed to by the app developers. Additionally listing your items with free sites such as the ones linked below will increase the online visibility of your codes & products. Similarly entering your product info on Amazon, Ebay & Google merchant listings will have the same effect of allowing Google to index your numbers.