Barcode for Dummies
For many people, the world of barcode technology is a complicated one. It does not have to be. We have written this article among others on our website https://www.buybarcodessouthafrica.co.za/
to ensure that barcoding your products is easy, simple, and cost effective. We will explain what exactly a barcode is, how it works and what kind of different formats you get. These are all questions that every new business owner will be asking.
Firstly, what is a barcode? It can be defined as a visual way for information to be encoded so that a scanner will be able to scan it. It involves a mix of black and white bars with a unique number written underneath it. They were first used in 1974 in America and since then, they have spread throughout the world. These days, they have become a regular part of our everyday, ordinary lives.
How do they work? The way they work is that each product will have its own, unique barcode and when this code is scanned, it brings up the individual product on the retailer’s sales system. This makes the selling process a lot smoother and quicker, saving both time and money and limiting the chance for mistakes. They are also used to control the inventory in businesses and to determine when it is necessary to reorder stock, thereby ensuring that your stock levels are balanced and that you have what the clients need.
How many different kinds are there? Technology has developed a lot since 1974 and is continuing to develop as we speak. New formats are being developed as well as new ways of using them in our everyday lives. The most common and widely used ones are called retail barcodes. In South Africa, most retailers use the American format called the UPC and EAN barcode. They are thirteen and twelve digits, respectively. They are one dimensional and are used to sell products in a retail setting as well as in inventory control.
A second common format that businesses use is called a box barcode. Other names for them are a case barcode or ITF-14. This code is defined as a fourteen digit code that is used when you need to supply your products in bulk. For example, if you want to supply a 6 pack of cokes. Each individual coke will have its own EAN barcode. This will in turn be lengthened in order to make its own ITF-14, the EAN and ITF-14 coincide with one another. When this code is scanned, it will bring up the whole case of cokes, which will then automatically update the stores stock system so that the warehouse staff do not have to manually unpack and count each and every box that comes into the receiving area. Some retailers will require you to have both of these formats for this purpose.
Quick Response codes have been very instrumental in changing the way we do business. They are two dimensional codes that are able to be scanned by a smartphone. These codes are able to store more information than the normal one dimensional barcode. They are normally linked to a URL which clients can access to gain information about your business. In this way, these codes are being used to promote businesses. They are also being used in payment applications such as SnapScan. With these applications, clients are able to pay for their purchases simply by scanning a QR code and following the prompts. The client’s bank details are loaded onto these applications and they are safe and secure.
Other formats include EAN-8, which is a shortened version of the EAN-13. They used on very small products such as CDs. Even the publishing industry have their own formats, they are the ISBN and ISSN. ISBN’s are used on books and ISSNs are used on magazines and newspapers. You will obtain your ISBN number from the National Library in your country and the ISBN number will then be converted into your own unique ISBN book barcode. In South Africa you can contact International ISBN Agency
What is the process of acquiring one for my business or products? With authorised legal resellers, this process is very simple and painless. The first step is to contact the company for a speedy quote. The second step is to pay for the barcode and send them a proof of payment. Thirdly, let them know what name you would like to register your barcode under. Either a personal name or a business name is perfectly fine, this name will reflect on your ownership certificate as well. After this, they send the package through via email which will contain your invoice, your certificate of ownership, your EAN barcode and UPC as well as your high resolution images ready to be printed and placed onto your product.
Okay, I have my barcode, now what? Firstly, you need to decide on how you want to attach it to your product. You can either include it in the design of your packaging. Or you can print it onto labels which you can manually apply to each product. But what size should this barcode be? It is important that it is able to be scanned. We recommend doing a test scan to ensure that it is scannable. 37.3 mm wide and 25.9 mm high is the recommended size for an EAN barcode. It is possible to make them 80% of this size and as large as 200% of this size. Another important thing to note is that the width is more crucial than the height as this is what helps to be able to scan easily.
Will my EAN barcode be recognised worldwide? These are barcodes that originate in America and are used and recognised throughout the whole world, including South Africa. This makes them very versatile and useful. You will be in a position to be able to export your products throughout the world, thereby building up your business on an international level.
We hope this article has helped you in understanding some of the terminology associated with a barcoding.