Where Should I Buy Barcodes From?
When requiring a barcode number to get your product into stores, the process of acquiring one can seem a little overwhelming at first. You may spend days researching the best routes, but essentially there are two main sources from which you can purchase your retail barcodes. The real decision making lies in which method of purchasing makes the most financial sense for your business and objectives.
GS1 - The Original Barcode Supplier
The first and most obvious option is to go through an organisation called GS1. They are the original and official international providers of barcode numbers - where all the barcodes in the world come from. You’ll need to do here is search for your country’s division to apply. However, the application and registration process is a weighted one.
What are the drawbacks of the official supplier? Firstly, a huge registration fee is required to be paid, which then lists you as a member of the organisation. Subsequent to that, for each barcode that you "buy" from them, you will be required to pay annual renewal fees to confirm that they are still assigned to a product in retail circulation. These costs add up significantly for small business owners simply looking to put their product line onto retail shelves. In addition, you will also need to go through an official GS1 training course in order to be knowledgeable of the systems and requirements.
Of course, although this may be a ridiculously lengthy and expensive option for those wanting to purchase less than a few hundred barcodes, it makes financial sense for larger companies who are purchasing barcode numbers in the thousands.
Barcode Resellers - An Affordable Alternative
Fortunately for smaller businesses or people looking to get their few products onto the shelves – including CDs, DVDs, books and magazines – there is a much simpler and cheaper route which really works with their objectives. Barcode resellers (the reputable ones, at least) purchase blocks of barcodes directly from GS1 and are then able to sell them to customers at a once-off price. There are no member registration fees or annual renewal fees, ever. And once the barcodes are purchased, they belong to that specific company or individual for life and cannot be used by anyone else.
In Southern Africa, barcode resellers such as Barcode Solutions offer affordable barcodes for small to medium sized businesses.
GS1 is the longer and more expensive route, but it is necessary if you’re running a large business with a massive product line. Barcode resellers are a great alternative for smaller businesses and individuals, but it’s essential that you do your research to find a reputable company – we’re all aware of the spam gurus scattered across the internet.