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Ecwid Ecommerce Glossary

Universal Product Code (UPC)

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What is UPC?

A universal product code (UPC) is a unique barcode printed on product packaging and used for tracking items in stores. UPCs help to identify product features at checkout and track inventory within a store or warehouse.

Universal product codes are widely used in the US, Europe, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and other countries.

What does a UPC consist of?

Each universal product code has two parts:

  • a bar code (a series of unique black bars)
  • 12 numeric digits

How do I get a UPC code for my product?

There are two ways to obtain UPCs for your products:

  • Buy a GS1 US membership. GS1 US is a member of GS1, an international group that administers universal product codes. Your company will get a prefix number that will become part of any UPC for your products.
  • Buy UPCs from a reseller. Some companies resell UPC codes so small businesses don’t have to pay to buy a GS1 US membership. If you choose this option, your products’ codes will begin with another company’s prefix number.

Buying a GS1 US membership works better for bigger companies with lots of products or variations of the same item.

Buying UPCs from a reseller can be a great solution for smaller businesses that sell a couple of products.

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