For most retailers a UPC is a standard part of their business, however for unique brands and product manufacturers, the use of a UPC can be a bridge that has yet to be crossed.
What is a UPC?
Before I get to the points, I think that it’s important to formally define what a UPC code is. A UPC or Universal Product Code is an official 12-digit number given to a product by GS1 (www.gs1us.org) and is mostly used by retailers to scan items at the point-of-sale. The UPC is composed of six digits provided by GS1 to identify the company, followed by six digits used to identify the product. UPCs can be purchased from certified resellers, but it’s important to ensure that your retailers will accept these types of UPCs.
Why do I need a UPC?
While the use of a UPC is extremely common, some merchants may wonder when the time is right for them to invest in adding a UPCs to their products.
Here are 3 reasons to consider adding a UPC:
- You Plan on Selling to Major Retailers – If you are simply selling to small or mid-sized retailers you may be able to get away from adding a UPC to your products. Although if your business plan includes one day selling to major retail chains, it’s likely that you’re going to be required to get a UPC for your items. It’s also worth mentioning that the UPC requirement can also include major online retailers such as Amazon, Sears and NewEgg.
- Showrooming – Showrooming is the act of seeing a product in a store and using a mobile device to price shop and look up additional information such as customer reviews or testimonials. This practices is extremely common amongst the more tech-savvy shoppers and most of the Apps used for showrooming rely on a UPC code to generate their results.
- Easier For Your Resellers – While using a UPC may be something you feel as a business you don’t need, not having a UPC may be causing labor issues for your resellers. It’s likely that you’re resellers use a product code to create and receive purchase orders, track inventory and manage in-store stock levels. While the retailer may be able to create a UPC to use on the fly, any extra work that you create for them may be frowned upon and ultimately cause them to order less product from you.
While the thought of budgeting and preparing for the implementation of UPC codes for your products may not seem like a major step in establishing your brand, it is one of the key components needed to legitimize and streamline your brands identity.