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All About Barcodes (Bar Codes) for Products that will be sold through Retailers

If you are manufacturing products that will scanned by retailers at the Point of Sale, those products will need to have a bar code printed somewhere on their packaging. This bar code is called an EAN bar code (European Article Number). In the USA, a similar product bar code is called a UPC bar code (Universal Product Code).

The allocation of these numbers (so that no two products manufactured anywhere in the world, will have the same number barcoded on them), is controlled by a global organisation called GS1.

You will need to contact GS1 Australia, the organisation in Australia that has exclusive rights to the allocation of EAN bar codes. Their contact details can be found at

GS1 will allocate you a series of numbers (or, if you only need one barcode, one number) which will be unique to you, generally consisting of the country of registration 93 for Australia, a 5 digit manufacturer's number that is unique to your organisation) and a 5 digit product number YOU allocate a unique number to each of your products), and a final check digit, e.g. 9337204001013. A word of warning there are many organisations offering to "sell" EAN or UPC bar codes on the Internet. Be careful NOT to go through the process of "buying" a bar code, then have it incorporated in your packaging and THEN finding that the major retailers WILL NOT accept your product because they have tried to verify your barcode with GS1 (as every major retailer WILL) and found that your bar code is not validly registered. To be 100% safe ONLY deal with GS1.

When you come to need bar code scanners (readers), barcode printers or any other POS (point of sale) equipment, give the Barcoder team a call.

Also, you ONLY need EAN bar codes if you are going to be supplying products for retail sale. If all you need to do is use bar codes for internal applications, you can generate any bar code symbology, containing whatever data you wish it to contain. To learn a bit more about bar code symbologies,click here. The Barcoder team can supply the software and bar code printers to enable you to print your own bar codes.