Why are barcodes used in retail stores?


   Please click the [ Mark Complete ] button at the bottom of this page when you’ve completed these goals:

  • Explain the two primary purposes of barcode use in retail stores


Barcodes are used in retail stores for two primary reasons:

1) They are scanned to establish the price and product name at the point of sale.
For this purpose you could have the same barcode on all product variations (or colours) provided that the price remains the same.

2) They are used by stores for keeping track of inventory and reordering information.
In this case, having the same barcode for different colours would not work well because the store won’t be able to tell how many of each colour have been sold and how many to reorder.
This can be a hassle for stores who use barcodes in this way and can lead to confusion.


General guidelines:

In general, the easier your barcodes/ products are to use for the store the happier they will be to accept your products.

Some stores however either do not use Barcodes for inventory tracking or do not mind so much if you have one barcode for each colour.

Therefore, it depends to a large extent what stores you are getting your product into as to whether you will require a separate barcode for each variation.


Product packaging considerations: 

Another thing to consider is your product packaging…

If you print separate packaging for each variation, then it is easy to have a different barcode on each one.

However, if you just indicate size/ colour variations with a tick on a generic label (as is common for clothes) then it is easier to have the same barcode on all the variations.