Most widely use barcode is UPC, EAN, ISBN, and ASIN

Barcode is an electronic representation of data. It is being used worldwide to identify the type of product and track its sales as well. Do you know that every single product has a unique code for its identification? UPC, EAN, ISBN, and ASIN are some of those most used Barcodes.

If you are a retailer, what type of product barcodes should you use? There are several barcodes to choose from. How to understand what barcode is apt for what type of product? And most important, why do we need one? Can we sell your products without a barcode? In this article, we will solve all your queries!

In the bygone age of manual billing, product barcodes weren’t operated. But since the advent of several barcodes, now it’s been easy to identify the product. It encodes all the pieces of information about the product. It also plays a vital role in the supply chain of the product. Retailers, wholesalers, and distributors can trace how and where their product moves.

Why do we need Barcodes?

Needs of a barcode

Since the 1970s, barcodes have played a key role in inventory management.

Sellers keep records of how much sales they have made and where. Barcode serves as a data capture technology and helps manufacturers in several ways:

  1. Eradicate human error – Barcode scanning is reliable and time-efficient. It does away with the possibility of human error.
  2. Gives accurate information about the products – Scanning barcodes provides accurate information about products as and when needed. It stores all the info about the products from its name to its batch number and everything. So, it becomes quite easier to checkout.
  3. Saves time and cost – Barcodes are too inexpensive to design and print. It would only cost you a few pennies per barcode label. It also saves a lot of time. You can cut down your training time and labor by managing inventory and record-keeping with a computerized Barcode system.
  4. Simplifies tracking the product – Barcodes make tracking and tracing of the product at ease. It keeps all the records of where and how loads the products are being sold.
  5. Gives serenity to the retailer – Barcodes helps to maintain the security, reduces theft deterrence, and reduces the losses and liabilities. It gives peace of mind that everything is going correct and free from human error.
Barcodes help in inventory management, saves time and effort, acts as data storage and provides error free working.
Barcode serves as a helping hand to a retailer.

How do Barcodes work?

Scanning a barcode is not a strained task like manual billing. To start, first, you need to generate a barcode. Well, there’s a benefit to you! We offer FREE service to generate your barcodes. Visit website

Now, if you are here then you must know that a POS System is a must requisite for barcode reading during checkouts. Not aware of what POS system actually is? Let me tell you in brief! A POS (point of sale) system is a specific place where your customers make payment for their purchase.

Using a barcode system, a POS can identify the product in a flash and in less than no time completes the checkout process. Here, you can relate to the scanning of your products when the cashier is billing in a supermarket. Yes, that’s where the barcode performs its point of the sale transaction. When the barcode scans the product, the scanner sends the code to the central POS System of your shop. The POS system automates the product information and counts it to the checkout total.

What’s more! You don’t need to manage any manual billing or cash register to record sales and inventory. Your POS System will automate the changes to your inventory. This shows how efficient it is to scan a barcode with a POS System and manage inventory and sales as well.

If you are hoping to buy a POS System for your business, here’s something we can do for you! We have an online website ‘BooksPOS‘ that offers you Cloud-Based Management with Real-Time Support. You can request a demo by clicking here.

What are UPC Barcodes?

UPC is an acronym for Universal Product Code. As the name implies, it is universal. It is the first most used product code since the 1970s. To get a UPC Barcode, the manufacturer needs to apply to the Global Standard Organization. GS1 was earlier known as the Uniform Code Council in the US.

UPC is a 12 digit code used in retail packaging for the identification of the product. It represents the product attributes, such as its weight, product name, type, and so on.

It helps the retailers to keep track of their products. The advent of Universal Product Code made checkouts easier. It made computerized billing and checkouts more efficient and faster. First, the scanner scans a barcode at the checkout. The cash register sends the UPC to the retailer’s POS (point of sale) system to find the UPC number. Then the computer immediately sends back the actual price of the product. Further, the item deducts from the inventory.

To learn more or buy a POS system, I recommend this website.

20200909 161904 0000

The UPC symbol has two main parts:

  • The machine-readable bar code
  • The human-readable 12 digit code

The human-readable 12 digit code comprises of:

  • The 6-digit manufacturer identification number (issued by GS1)
  • The 5-digit item number
  • The 1-check digit number

While assigning the item number, you must note one fact. In UPC, each product has a unique item number. A check digit lets the scanner calculate the accuracy of the barcode. UPC works on every category of product. It can be electronics, food, books, apparel, jewelry, and even cosmetics.

How to get a UPC?

The UPC symbol is the barcode supporting GTIN-12. It identifies the company’s particular product. It is often supported by GS1 US, the standard organization for product identification. GS1 US administers the assignment of Company Prefix. You can get a UPC through the legitimate code provider, GS1 or you can also buy it online through other websites.

To get a UPC from GS1, you must consider the following steps:

  • Register your company with GS1 (Global Standard Organization)
  • After registration, you will get a company code. It is also known as the manufacturer identification number.
  • Use this code as a prefix in your UPC for your identification as a seller.
  • Assign unique 5-digit item numbers to each of your products making your code equals to 11 digits.
  • Generate your check digit using a check digit calculator with your 11-digit number.

Now, your 12-digit UPC number is ready. For a detailed procedure, visit here.

What are EAN barcodes?

EAN is an acronym for European Article Number. It is also known as International Article Number. It dominates over Europe.

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EAN is almost like UPC with only one slight difference. EAN has a single-digit country code (human-readable code) assigned to its prefix. Thus, it becomes a 13-digit code including single country code in it. EAN makes it easier for sellers to identify and track specific products. It also minimizes the chances of human error. The product is always processed on a POS (point of sale) computer system.

Most important! If you are selling your products in Europe, you must have an EAN code number. Your EAN should be unique for each of your products. Yet, there’s an exception too. If you are planning to sell digital products in Europe, then you don’t need an EAN code.

Benefits of using EAN code over UPC will privilege you in the following ways:

  • The value of your products increases.
  • Large scale markets like Google and Amazon have now almost made it mandatory to use an EAN code. The code is a must on each of the products sold through their platform.
  • Using an EAN code helps the vendors to locate and compare the products online.
  • Implementing EAN codes on your products provides more value to it. It also adds visibility to your product on several market platforms.

How to get an EAN?

The EAN barcodes support GTIN-13. It facilitates the identification of international products. GS1 (former Uniform Council Code) assigns EAN number. To get an EAN code, you need to register and buy your code from GS1. Some sellers may find it expensive so they have another option too. They can buy an EAN barcode at a cheap rate from several online websites.

To get an EAN, you must follow the same guidelines as for UPC.

What is the difference between UPC and EAN Barcodes?

Seversl points of difference between UPC and EAN

You might get confused about which code is more reliable. UPC and EAN are almost the same in every aspect except for a few.

If you are selling your products only in the US or Canada, then you don’t need an EAN code. You can stick to UPC, as it is the most used barcode there. But, if you are selling international products, then EAN becomes an unavoidable requisite. You must use the EAN product code for international sales.

UPC has a 12-digit identification number whereas EAN has a 13-digit identification number. EAN comprises an extra 1-digit country code adding more value to its products.

What are the ISBN barcodes?

ISBN is an acronym for International Standard Book Number.

ISBN barcodes apply only to Books and other published Media. Unlike several consumer products, Published Medias identifies with a unique ISBN code. As a fact, if you are publishing your book, you don’t need to have an ISBN code. But it would be good if you get one, it would make your publishing more reliable.

The key point here is, if you are publishing a new edition of the same book, you get a new ISBN for it. Different editions of the same book have different ISBNs.

ISBN barcodes play a significant role in the marketing of published Media. It helps the publisher to know about how much sales are being made and where. The publisher can keep a track record for its several books and other Media.

ISBN-10 and ISBN-13 Barcodes

ISBN is a 13-digit code. Yet, this was not the case before 2011. ISBN-13 is a new version of the ISBN code. Before 2011, ISBN-10 code was been marked on the books. But soon the publishers realized the shortage of numbers. If they continue using 10-digit code, they would soon run out of the numbers. Since then ISBN-13 is used worldwide to publish books and media.

Now, you must be thinking whether ISBN-10 still works? The answer is, YES! You can use ISBN-10 today also. But always remember, it is an older format. Using a new version will provide you with more access to the marketplace.

20200909 171720 0000

Here in the image, you can see the format of ISBN-13. It comprises 13-digit code which is being used worldwide since 2011.

How to change ISBN-10 to ISBN-13?

Well, First I’ll tell you what-not-to-do!

Many publishers try to change ISBN-10 to ISBN-13 by adding the prefix `978’ in ISBN-10 code. Yet, that’s not correct! This is the only reason why sometimes ISBN-10 ends up with a letter. And it looks like this: 0-7895454-0-X (assumed numbers). But, ISBN-13 has no letters! (Lolz)

This is why you should never try to manipulate ISBN-10 with any three digits prefix and think it is correct. Because it can’t be!

Now, as for how to upgrade your older version to ISBN-13, you only need to scroll down your Google search. You will see there are many websites that are willing to offer you paid conversion of your ISBN-10.

How to get an ISBN Barcode?

To register for an ISBN code, you must approach the national ISBN agency of your country. Say, if you are from Switzerland, you should apply to the ISBN agency in Switzerland. Like this, every country has its ISBN agency. You must locate your agency and reach out to them with all the information about your book and the author.

You can also apply for a single ISBN code if you are publishing your work. Here’s a detailed procedure on how you can do it:

  • You should first register on the official website of ISBN.
  • Apply for ISBN as and when required.

What are ASIN Barcodes?

ASIN is a precise word for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is a 10-digit code number assigned to every product sold on Amazon. ASIN is unique for every product. Amazon has wide coverage in the online marketplace so it is obvious for them to use an ASIN code. This helps Amazon to identify products they’re selling.

With the help of ASINs, we can find products on Amazon with ease.

How you can get an ASIN Barcode?

Getting an ASIN for your product to sell on Amazon is not a big deal. It’s very easy to obtain an ASIN. It helps both the seller and the buyer to keep the record of the inventory management and find a product effortlessly. The ASINs detects whether the product is in stock or not. Further, avert them from accepting orders which are out of stock.

As a seller, you can,

  • Attach an ASIN of the same product from a different seller to your product.
  • Get a new ASIN assigned to your product by registering your brand on Amazon.

Like UPC is universal having the same code for a product worldwide, this may not be in the case of ASINs. ASIN is not always unique and the same for a product sold on Amazon UK and Amazon US. Think, you are selling the same product on both the Amazon UK and Amazon US marketplace. Your same product will have two different ASINs on these two sites.

But as an exception, ASIN can be universal in the case of a book’s ISBN. ASIN often matches to a book’s ISBN. So if you’re selling books, you don’t need to worry about ASIN being different. It’s always the same as the ISBN of a book.

Where to find the product’s ASIN?

Finding any product’s ASIN on Amazon is too easy.

There are two basic ways to do so:
First, scroll down to the product’s details. You can see its ASIN mentioned there
Second, if you are a keen observer, then you must have perceived that Amazon puts the ASIN in its product’s URLs too.

20200908 155202 00001

Why is ASIN so important?

ASIN helps the sellers to locate the right product ordered by the customers.

When a customer orders a product, the order request has an ASIN mentioned on it. With the help of that ASIN, the sellers can find the right product from his inventory as and when he has to ship. Only this can help him to deliver the right product ordered by the customers.

You can sell your products without a UPC or EAN on Amazon. When you upload the product, Amazon assigns an ASIN to it. Such products comprise jewelry, cosmetics, and personal care products. Also, books have the same ASIN as ISBN, so assigning ASIN to the books and e-books is also obvious.

What is Reverse ASIN Lookup?

Amazon reverse ASIN lookup is a clever method used by some of the sellers. It serves as a smart way to know the keywords used by their competitors.

20200908 001217 0000 1

To do a Reverse ASIN Lookup, you’ll need a source to perform this wise step. You can get such paid sources over internet websites.

First, you have to find and copy the ASIN of your competitor’s product which is the same as yours. Further, paste the ASIN number on the online website that offers this service. You will get the actual keywords that your competitors are using to generate sales. Now, you can use those keywords for your products to level up in Amazon search.

So, these are the most used common barcodes. You can see the usage graph of these barcodes here as per my opinion,

Shows the rate of uasage of different barcodes worldwide.

If you observe this image, you can understand how UPC, EAN, ISBN, and ASIN work worldwide. Though UPC barcodes are the earliest, EAN is dominating all other barcodes. ISBN only works on books and Published Media. This is the reason why it is the lowest in the graph. ASIN has now leveled up from its gradual stages. Now its demand is over a large marketplace competing UPC.

We hope you had a better learning experience with us. If you still have any queries, you can write it down in the comment section.

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