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UPC-A Retail Barcodes for In-Store Use
Home > Barcode Basics > Application Notes > AppNote007

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 registered manufacturer.

Example:

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:       

4-10000-00010 Store product Glitter, Gold, 1/2 pound bag
4-10000-00011 Store product Glitter, Gold, 1 pound bag
4-10000-00012 Store product Glitter, Red, 1/2 pound bag
4-10000-00013 Store product Glitter, Red, 1 pound bag
4-10001-00001 Judy's Crafts Co.  12-ounce feather boa kit
4-10001-00002 Judy's Crafts Co. 24-ounce feather boa kit

   

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