EAN stands for European Article Number (AKA: GTIN-13 / EAN-13) and is the type of bar code that is used internationally to identify unique products at the point of sale. Similar to a UPC, EAN’s are a series of numbers set against a bar line graphic; in fact, the two types of bar codes are almost identical. But not quite.
Choosing the right bar code purchase for your products can be confusing, with so much information to wade through and so many acronyms to learn: EAN, UPC, GTIN… HELP! Since 1993, Bar Codes Talk has been committed to assisting our customers in securing the right bar codes, at the best prices. If you’re wondering whether you need to buy EAN bar codes or purchase UPC codes, we can help. Take a look through our list of the top 5 things you need to know about EAN codes.
When UPC codes were first introduced in the early 1970’s, they were only intended for use within North America. But as producers overseas began multiplying, a new format was necessary to facilitate sales in Europe. In 2005, a global initiative began, allowing North American retailers to scan both UPC and EAN codes. Because of this, nearly all North American retailers now accept EAN codes. This is why the EAN Code is now formally called the “International Article Number”.
Unlike UPC codes, which have 12 digits, EAN codes have 13 digits. The first 3 digits are the “Country Code” aka: GS1 Prefix, and indicate the GS1 Member Organization where the manufacturer registered the bar codes. This is somewhat related to the region in which the manufacturer operates. The digits after the “country code” prefix are the unique number that is issued to each company.The EAN code closes with the last digit, the Check Digit, which is used to ensure that a bar code has been correctly scanned.
One of the best ways to determine whether you need to use EAN codes or UPC codes is to ask your intended retailers which formats they accept. This way, you’ll be certain that the bar code purchase you make is the right one for your sales strategy.
Are you selling online? You may not need to include the EAN code on your label if you are shipping directly to the end user. Amazon and eBay simply require you to include the EAN code in the product details when listing. Since it is not being physically “scanned” at a traditional “Brick & Mortar” store, it will not need to be on the actual product when delivered. If you are choosing to sell at a traditional retailer, you’ll need to make sure your labels clearly showcase your barcode.
You may need to buy EAN codes, but you don’t need to blow your budget. At Bar Codes Talk, we purchase barcodes in bulk and pass on the savings to our customers. No renewal fees, no minimum order numbers… Just the bar codes you need, at incredible prices.
If you need further clarification on the right bar code purchase for you, reach out to us today! Our friendly customer service team(team? more like a single tour’de force!) will be happy to help guide you as you buy EAN codes for your products.
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