This is a blog post by Neil Jones.
So You’ve had an idea for a new product something that has never been seen before and you know that once it hits the selves it will be a world beater, you spend months or even years in your garden shed designing, developing and testing, a patent has just been granted, you’ve even talked with retailers and they love your idea. Production finally goes ahead and you can see the end in sight, the day when your idea comes to fruition, the day when it hits the shelves for the first time.
Everything is going is great. Then an email from the retailer lands in your inbox. It simply says “can I get your barcode number so we can set you up on our system?” This email is closely followed by blind panic, what do you do and where do you get a barcode. This might sound daunting but in reality barcodes are a part of everyday life and because of this, getting one is as simple and straight forward as possible, it may however hurt your wallet. Just follow these steps and you will have your new product on the shelves in no time.
- Getting a unique barcode number for your product is a first step. The number should be unique worldwide so GS1 which is a worldwide organisation will issue this number. You should apply to this organisation for the unique number. Like most things in life and in business there is a fee involved.
In most cases you get more than one barcode number when you apply. These are the numbers you can use for your products as they are permanently allocated to you. Different countries have different systems for instance; in the UK you get a minimum of 1000 numbers at a time. You need to decide which number you will use for which product.
- You now need to convert your allocated number into a barcode; in the United States GS1 sends you an image along with the unique number. For all the other countries you need to create it on your own. Even if you receive the barcode from the organisation, you can always create your own for the security purposes.
There is some specific software available in the market which will help you in converting the number into images. Some people use barcode “˜fonts’ to convert numbers into barcodes but software will create better quality barcode fonts. It’s wise to spend some money to print the highest quality barcode possible, if the retailers can’t read the codes your products will be returned, so spend the money now to save yourself a headache down the line.
- The third step is to get your barcode onto the product. Once your image is ready, you need to print it on the existing label and packaging. To create a barcode label, you can use a DTP (desk top publishing) software. If the barcode does fit the way you want, use your software to resize the image this will again ensure the best quality barcode is produced.
- Now for the most important part, testing. Test your barcode by scanning it properly. Scan it from different angles, try and find out what bar code scanners are used in the store and test with these, just make sure you do everything possible to ensure each barcode your print is perfect. You can buy or hire a dedicated barcode image verifier. This will help you in understanding that you have a good quality barcode image it will also ensure you will not have any product returned due to unreadable barcodes
Once you get through these steps the path is clear all you now need to do is get your new products to the retailers and let them do the selling.
Image by tatlici.