What are UPC Codes?
UPC, or Universal Product Code, is a unique string of numbers expressed as a barcode that identifies your product as unique, with GS1 being the main supplier of UPC codes and acts as the database for all unique products.
Why do I need one?
Truth be told, you probably don't need a UPC unless you are planning on selling in a retail store. If you want to get into your local tackle shop or major retail chains like Walmart, Bass Pro Shop, or Academy, these companies will require you to have a UPC. At the very least your products will need a SKU, or Stock Keeping Unit, a unique code that identifies your product, so when you purchase your item at the register, your item will appear on the system; a UPC will accomplish the same. Any reasonable shop online or in-store will require you to have codes on your products, even major online selling platforms like Amazon and Ebay require UPC codes.
How many do I need?
One thing to keep in mind with UPC codes is that it also identifies the variety of product you have. For instance with the TechnoFrog lure, it comes in various colors, such as Watermelon, Black & Blue, and Green Pumpkin, all of these different colors need UPC Codes, so bare that in mind when you're purchasing UPC codes. Even items like apparel need unique codes depending on the style on the shirt. For instance, if you have a custom shirt, and you offer it in six colors, with three different sizes, you'll have eighteen unique UPC codes.
Where can you get UPC codes?
You can purchase codes from online services, even UPC codes that have been used before! However, it's best practice if you avoid purchasing a used UPC code because if you place your product on Amazon or another online selling platform, it could get confused for another product with the same UPC. The correct way to obtain a UPC code for your product is to head over to the GS1 website and go in and purchase either individual barcodes or bulk barcodes.
We purchased ten and the total was ~$450, a painful purchase considering you're just purchasing numbers. When you make the purchase you can receive a prefix, it's essentially a set of numbers that your codes with all adhere to. Personally, not a big issue of the numbers on your barcodes for your products don't have matching prefixes, it would just be for internal consistency purposes.
Does EVERYONE need UPC Codes?
If you're only going to sell your products online, you don't need codes for your product, it's not technically a requirement. However, if you want to sell into retail organizations, typically they will require UPC codes for your products. However, you can get a code in a matter of minutes.
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