Barcode FAQ

Barcodes in a nutshell?

A GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) most commonly known as a Barcode, is an optical machine readable sequence of unique numbers used by wholesalers and retailers to maintain control over stock inventories and to track product purchases at point of sale. The most common formats of barcodes used are EAN-13 and UPC barcodes.

Why would I require a barcode for my product?

Most retailers today require that all products they sell to display a barcode on the labeling. If you are looking to sell your product in a retail outlet, having a unique barcode assigned to it is highly recommended to aid them in maintaining their pricing, inventory and ordering systems. Displaying a barcode on your product also adds a mark of professionalism that increases your chances of retail outlets agreeing to stock your item.

How many barcodes should I get?

This depends on how many unique products or variants you intend to sell. A unique barcode number is required for each product that you intend to stock in a retailer including variants such as size, colour, flavour etc. For example, if you produce clothing items in a variety of sizes then each variation needs it’s own unique barcode.

What is the difference between EAN-13 and UPC-A numbers?

The EAN-13 (13 digit barcode) is a superset of the UPC-A (12 digit barcode). The only real point of difference is that the EAN-13 (European Article Number) is most widely used by businesses in the UK and Europe and Asia, whereas the UPC-A (Universal Product Code) is mainly used by American and Canadian companies. If your primary market is the UK we would suggest using the EAN-13, but since 2005 the vast majority of scanners read both interchangeably. So it is possible to use either format and they will work in any country worldwide.

How do barcodes get assigned to products?

A barcode is a simple unique identifier. Registration of product information such as price, size flavour ect is handled on the retailers side before they begin selling your product. Upon supplying your products to a retail outlet you may be required to complete a form detailing each individual product’s information including your company name, the product details and the assigned barcode number. The retailer will add this information to their inventory database so when the product is scanned at point of sale or during stocktake, the information is retrieved from their system.

What products require a barcode? Do your codes cover all products?

Whether it’s a music CD by an independent band or musician, commercialised arts/craft products, independently produced food products, pet supplies or health and beauty items, any and all goods that you wish to be sold in third party retail outlets should have a uniquely identifiable barcode assigned to them and printed on the packaging. The barcodes we supply are suitable for all retail items with the exception of books and magazines which require special ISBN and ISSN codes and Pharmaceuticals which require Pharmacodes.

Will my barcode be accepted by all UK retailers?

All of the barcodes sold by Barcode Bird are unique UCC (now GS1) originated codes and are generally accepted by the majority of retailers in the United Kingdom. It is advisable though to contact retailers before purchase and enquire about their specific policies regarding barcode labeling.

What’s the benefit of purchasing with Barcode Bird?

For the majority of sole traders, small businesses and independent producers, the massive costs of first registering with GS1 UK, purchasing barcodes and paying ongoing annual fees is prohibitively expensive, even if you only purchase one barcode. Instead of charging our customers hundreds of pounds, Barcode Bird offers our customers unique GS1 originated barcodes at a competitive price. Our barcodes are genuine and authentic, offering you many of the advantages without having to pay membership fees, hidden costs or annual subscriptions.

Does my barcode “store” information about my product?

A barcode only encodes the numbers shown below the vertical black and white bars. Barcodes themselves do not hold information, they’re simply a globally unique identifier that’s recorded in a retailer’s sales/inventory system and assigned to your product. So once you incorporate your barcode into your product artwork, labels, begin assigning them in a physical store or Amazon listings the barcode number has already begun doing its job of representing your product in the supply chain.

Are your barcodes globally unique?

Yes. Every barcode provided by Barcode Bird is 100% unique, UCC/GS1 issued and comes with an authenticity certificate. Whatever product you choose to assign your barcodes to it is then linked to that item. Barcode Bird employs a sophisticated stock automation system to ensure that a barcode number is never issued to more than one customer. Once you purchase from us the barcode belongs to you forever.

Are your barcodes accepted by

Barcodes supplied by Barcode Bird are suitable for general, private seller and white label listings on, and Amazon fulfilment centers (FBA). Amazon Seller Support have indicated that barcodes for Amazon listings can be purchased from “any external or third party supplier and use them to list your products, however the barcode must be valid”. Amazon uses the following sites for validation to ensure the barcodes work correctly. The numbers supplied by Barcode Bird pass these validation forms and we have many of our customers who list their items on Amazon and many other online platforms.

For UPC (12 digits):
For EAN (13 digits):

Brand Registry Limitation: Please note however if you intend to sell your Trademarked products via Amazon’s Brand Registry ( there are a several methods Amazon uses for brand verification. One potential brand verification method is checking GS1’s GEPIR database for your brand name. While our codes originate with the UCC (now known as GS1) we do not place your brand details on the GEPIR database. The only way to have your brand name reflect on GEPIR is through direct GS1 membership and paying annual licence fess fees to keep your codes active.

Can my barcode ever expire?

No. Once purchased, barcodes from Barcode Bird are yours for life without requiring annual licence fees or risk of expiration. All the barcode numbers we supply were first issed by the Unform Code Council (now GS1) prior to the GS1 subscription model. They are not subject to GS1 annual license fees and are valid in perpetuitity.

Ok I want a barcode, how to get my hands on one?

That’s the easy part! Head to the purchasing page, select your barcodes and begin! Once your purchase is finalised your barcode package will be emailed instantly to your nominated email address used to make the purchase.