What is a UPC barcode and how does it work?
UPC barcodes, or Universal Product Codes, consist of 12 characters that uniquely identify a product and were originally created to help grocery stores speed up the checkout process and track their inventory more efficiently, but they soon spread to other retail products because it was so successful.
How do UPC codes work?
In short, the UPC is a 12-digit unique code for your product represented by scannable bars.
Universal Product Codes (also known as GTIN-12) appear as lines (bars) of varying widths representing the series of numbers commonly shown below the bars.
Barcode scanners read the bars and convert them back to the 12-digit UPC number that they represent.
When you reach an agreement with a retailer to carry your product(s), they request the information required by their unique proprietary sales and inventory tracking systems.
Your 12-digit UPC number, when looked up within the retailer’s inventory system, finds the corresponding product name and price.
This information helps the retailer keep accurate inventory data, review sales, and reorder.
Do I really need a UPC code on my product?
Most stores have electronic point of sale (ePOS) systems that enable them to keep track of their sales and stocks and to reorder products by scanning the UPC code.
Most retailers refuse to accept products that are not barcoded. In addition, many distributors make use of barcodes in their warehouse systems.