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Retail Bar Coding Basics a Tutorial Is bar coding necessary? Reasons for UPC bar codes. Want to sell your products via retail stores. Products are sold at checkout counters. Product is a food item or consumer retail item. Reasons UPC bar codes not necessary

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is bar coding necessary
Is bar coding necessary?

Reasons for UPC bar codes.

  • Want to sell your products via retail stores.
  • Products are sold at checkout counters.
  • Product is a food item or consumer retail item.

Reasons UPC bar codes not necessary

  • Bar codes are only for internal use such as inventory
  • Products are not sold via retail stores.
  • Products are not sold at checkout counters
history of retail bar codes
History of Retail Bar Codes
  • 1932 Wallace first to suggest automated checkout
  • 1948 Drexel University begins research into auto ID method
  • 1949 Woodland & Silver build prototype scanner.
  • 1952 Patent granted Woodland & Silver for Auto ID method
  • 1966 First commercial use of bar codes
  • 1970 First commercial Auto ID product
  • 1972 Kroger stores begin using ‘bulls-eye’ bar code
  • 1973 Uniform Product Code standard adopted
  • 1974 First UPC scanners commercially marketed
  • 1974 First product (Wrigley Gum) UPC bar coded.
what is a bar code
What is a Bar Code?
  • A bar code (barcode) is similar to “Morse Code” in that they both encode character information.
  • Morse Code was developed in 1935 and consists of s code based on short and long electrical impulses.
what is a bar code6
What is a Bar Code?

EAN-13 Symbology Encoding

what is a bar code7
What is a Bar Code?

Check Character Calculation (UPC)

how a bar code works
How a Bar Code Works
  • Light from the scanner (laser, LED, or other) reflects off the label back to a sensor in the scanner
bar code symbologies
Bar Code Symbologies
  • The manner in which the bars and spaces are encoded define the bar code symbology
  • Codabar
  • Code 128
  • Code 3 of 0
  • Code 93
  • EAN 13
  • EAN 8
  • ISBN
  • Interleaved 2 of 5
  • MSI / Plessey
  • Postal / Postnet
  • UPC A
  • UPC E
  • PDF-417
global trade identification numbers
Global Trade Identification Numbers

A GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is the EAN.UCC System identifier used for the unique identification of trade items worldwide within the EAN.UCC System.

Trade Items refers to any product or service upon which there is a need to retrieve pre-defined information; this product or service may be priced, ordered, or invoiced at any point in the supply chain.

uniform code council ean
Uniform Code Council & EAN
  • EAN.UCC is worldwide system
  • EAN.UCC is comprised of member organizations (M.O.).
  • U.C.C. is the U.S. member organization.





key benefits
Key Benefits
  • Supports worldwide flow of trade goods and services
  • Uniquely identifies trade items at all levels of packaging.
  • Delivers trade item data in a consistent format and structure.
  • Simplifies supply chain management.
  • Employs the globally accepted and utilized EAN.UCC System whose language is understood by the global marketplace.
why gtins
Why GTINs?
  • Allow system-to-system interaction
  • Speed processes by enabling end-to-end automation
  • Lower costs, while reducing errors
  • Reduce the risk of system incompatibility
  • Protect technology investments by removing the limitations of closed, proprietary systems and solutions
  • Enable the optimization of supply chain management practices
  • Eliminate supply chain roadblocks and bottlenecks
data structures
Data Structures

A GTIN has a 14-digit data structure though its data carrier (bar code) may contain only 12-digits (the U.P.C.), 13-digits (EAN-13) or 8-digits (EAN-8). The GTIN is defined as a 14-digit number to accommodate all the different structures.

0 = leading zero; D = digit, C = check digit

bar code labels

International business

Sell to national chains

Bar code labels


  • local business

Large quantities

Special materials

Color, coated, durable

Large budget

High quality, hardware verifier required

Do it yourself

Small quantities

Std. paper labels

B/W, stock labels

Small/No budget

Reasonable quality, standard scanner verification

upc bar codes
Used in US markets

1st 6 digits are company prefix

Next 5 digits are trade item number

Last digit is calculated check digit

UPC Bar Codes
ean 13 bar codes
EAN-13 bar codes used in European markets

Leading zero affixed to 6-dit company prefix

Next 5-digits are trade item number

Last digit is check digit

EAN-13 Bar Codes
ean ucc 128 bar codes
Used for cases and bulk quantities

Can include other info such as weight and quantity

EAN/UCC-128 Bar Codes
compliance labeling
Compliance Labeling





itf 14 bar codes
ITF-14 Bar Codes

Used for shipping containers

1 0 6 1 4 1 4 1 0 0 0 4 1 5

u c c membership


Large business

Multiple products




Small Business

Single product


U.C.C Membership?
radio frequency id tags
Radio Frequency ID Tags

RFID tags are thumbnail sized devices that emit a radio frequency and can be attached to a wide range of products. pallets or cases of product

  • Fast, Reliable
  • No contact required
  • Company assets
  • Apparel, luggage, laundry
  • People, livestock, or pets
  • High value electronics such as computers, TVs, camcorders
  • Books, DVD’s, Games
  • Your POS solution’s success is dependant on a good barcode label / Automatic Data Capture solution.