UPC-A Retail Barcodes for In-Store Use
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Application Notes >
Store owners who wish to scan barcodes at the cash register may find that not all
of the products they carry have barcodes. Some products from outside suppliers may not
have barcodes, and there may be some special in-store products that do not have barcodes.
For example, hand-crafted items often do not have barcodes.
Before adding UPC-A retail barcodes to products, manufacturers must obtain an
identification number by registering with the
www.gs1.org (formerly the Uniform Code Council).
This is necessary for products that will flow through normal retail distribution channels;
the registration of manufacturers assures that each product will be uniquely identified.
If barcodes will be used only within a store or chain of stores, there is no need to go
through the registration process. Every UPC-A retail barcode begins with a single 'number
system' digit. Barcodes beginning with the number 4 are reserved for in-store use. This
means that store operators can create numbers for their products and print their own
barcodes. As long as the barcode begins with a 4 and is used within the confines of the
store or chain there will be no danger of accidentally duplicating a product from a
The owners of a large craft supply store have decided to start scanning barcodes at
checkout. Many of the manufactured products which they purchase arrive with barcodes but
they also obtain products with no barcodes from small specialty suppliers. In addition,
they repackage bulk supplies and assemble kits at the store, and these don't have
barcodes. They assign each non-barcoded supplier (including their own store) a 5-digit
identification number, and then they assign a 5-digit item number to each individual
product. Combining the leading number 4, the supplier identification number, and the item
number yields 11 digits for the barcode (the 12th digit is calculated automatically). A
product list might look like this:
||Glitter, Gold, 1/2 pound bag
||Glitter, Gold, 1 pound bag
||Glitter, Red, 1/2 pound bag
||Glitter, Red, 1 pound bag
||Judy's Crafts Co.
||12-ounce feather boa kit
||Judy's Crafts Co.
||24-ounce feather boa kit