Retail barcodes are an essential part of the shopping experience. They allow customers to quickly and easily identify items they want to buy and help retailers keep track of inventory. This article will discuss the different types of retail barcodes, their meaning, and how they are used.

What is a retail barcode label, and how does it work?

A retail barcode is a unique identifier assigned to an individual product. This identifier can track the product’s life cycle, from manufacture to sale. Retail barcodes are typically printed on labels that are affixed to products. When a barcode is scanned with a smartphone or other device, you can access information about the product, including its price, description, and reviews.

Many barcodes are linked to the Universal Product Code (UPC) system. These numbers follow a defined barcode symbology and relate to the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). The 13-digit EAN13, for example, must be formatted in a specific way, according to rigorous stipulations.

There are three types of retail barcodes labels:

EAN13: most common type of barcode. It consists of 13 numbers used to identify products sold worldwide in retail stores. More specifically, it is used in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand. Japan also has a similar 13-digit GTIN called JAN.

EAN8: Similar to the EAN13 but consists of only eight numbers. It is used for small products with an EAN13 label, such as candy or cosmetics.

UPC: The UPC barcode is used in the United States and Canada. It stands for “Universal Product Code” and consists of 12 numbers.

These retail barcodes are ideal for PoS scanning. You can also do customised barcodes if you use them for internal use in your business.

Other types of Retail Barcode labels you may use are:

IT-14: This barcode is used on cases or multiple products. It contains 14 digits and is often called a “case code.” Better to be printed on cardboard and often seen on shipping boxes.

SKUs: A SKU is a “Stock Keeping Unit” used by businesses to track inventory internally. SKUs can be any length but are typically 12-14 digits long.

Barcodes that have been modified are known as “customised barcodes.” They may include longer or shorter code lengths, different types and shapes that do not adhere to the conventional retail barcodes, and so on.

How are retail barcodes used?

Retailers use retail barcodes to track inventory and pricing. When a product is scanned at the point of sale, the retailer can quickly update their records to reflect the transaction. This information is then used to order new products, track sales trends, and more. Customer loyalty programs and coupons are also made possible using retail barcodes. When your system is accessed at checkout, for example, if you offer sales on a particular stock, it can automatically apply a reduction when the barcode is scanned.

Why do you need a Retail Barcode label?

  • Inventory management: A retail barcode can assist with inventory management, whether you have a brick-and-mortar or an ecommerce shop. Too much inventory can lead to cash flow problems, while too little can result in missed sales opportunities.
  • Marketing: You may offer loyalty programs, and you can easily keep track of the most popular goods. And it will help you figure out what your consumers want and how to price your products.
  • Growth: Although retail barcodes are not required by law, they are often needed if you plan to expand your business by selling your product to vendors or on marketplaces. Marketplaces like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba require GTIN.

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Get started with using retail barcodes

If you are a retailer, you will need to purchase a barcode scanner and install it at your point of sale. You will also need to purchase barcodes for your products. You can buy these from various sources, including online retailers or go through the official GS1 website and learn how to follow the guidelines when printing your own. Once you have your barcodes, you will need to label your products. This can be done with a label maker or by hand.

Implementing a barcode system can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. By following this simple guide, you can start using retail barcodes in your store in no time.


Barcodes are an essential part of the retail industry. Understanding how they work and what you need to get started can streamline your operations and take your business to the next level.