What are GS1 barcodes, and why are they so important?

Updated: Nov 9, 2021


Using GS1 barcodes, you can rest assured that your products will be compliant with major retailers and distributors all over the world.

Whenever you visit any shop or shopping center, you will find items marked with barcodes. These barcodes are scanned electronically at the cash desk to determine product type, price, etc. All barcodes represent data in a machine-readable format using patterns of different widths of dark bars and pale spaces.

Barcodes have many uses, although most of us think of them as simply a way to price items in the grocer’s shop or department store. Since the very first barcode was used back in 1973, they have become more and more common in just about every facet of consumer life. Medicine prescriptions, library books, and tracking shipments are some of the ways that a barcode can be used.

Barcodes are now used more and more in transportation and logistics. They play a key role in supply chains, enabling you as a manufacturer to automatically identify and track your products as they move through the supply chain.

More than 90% of all retailers in Europe use the GS1 standard, and 5 billion GS1 barcodes are scanned globally every day.

Read more: How do I get my products compliant with my distributor?

GS1 standards – a framework for real-time tracking, traceability and supply chain optimisation

There are several types of barcodes. In order for information systems to be able to “read” or decode these codes, they need to be printed using a specific “language”, or standard. In retail and healthcare, GS1 is the organisation that has defined the “language” of barcodes.

GS1 standards are used throughout the complete chain from raw materials, through production, wholesale, retail to consumer.

Read more: These are the barcode standards you should be aware of

Distribution made easy

GS1 barcodes and Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) are mandatory for most online and traditional retailers. When you get your barcodes from GS1, you also get peace of mind that your numbers are authentic.

As a producer, you need to know exactly where your shipments of goods are at any time, where they have come from, and when and where they are due to arrive.

The use of GS1 barcodes gives you accurate up-to-date information so that you can make the best decisions for your business at all times.

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