Barcodes are essential to running a successful online business through Shopify. A lot of small businesses don’t use them, but we’re here to tell you why you should. And, we will demonstrate how simple it is to install a barcode inventory system with our Shopify app, EasyScan. It is a straightforward process that you can start with just a few clicks!
Managing your inventory is important if you want an efficient, profitable e-commerce business. People often find barcode systems confusing and so sometimes avoid using them altogether. However, if you have a lot of stock, variants and types of products, barcoding items is essential to manage your inventory levels.
In this article, we’ll take you through what barcodes are, and why you should use them in your Shopify ecom store. Crucially, we’ll explain how to set up a barcode inventory system quickly with our app, EasyScan.
What Are Barcodes?
Don’t quite know what a barcode is or how they work? You’ve come to the right place!
Barcodes are, on a basic level, a symbol that visually represents data. The data can include a group of numbers and characters that are then used to identify specific products. Using a specific barcode scanner you can scan barcodes to easily transfer product information to a computer or smart device.
Think of it as a font, the font happens to be lines and spaces of different thicknesses, these gaps and spaces represent different numbers and characters. A barcode scanner can decipher these lines and spaces and return them to your computer or smart device as the original code.
Different Types of Barcodes: 1D And 2D
There are two main types of barcodes. The first is 1D barcodes. These are a series of vertical black lines separated by white space. They are typically found on consumer goods, for example, the Universal Product Codes (UPCs) found on food and other widely sold products across the world.
1D barcodes are the most well-known and common type. They hold a limited amount of data and get longer horizontally as you add more information. They are only useful if the code is linked in a database to a product and pricing.
2D Barcodes are the second type. These use patterns of different shapes to hold data. They store more data than 1D barcodes but are visually smaller. You can encode both alphanumeric data (like in 1D barcodes) and other data including images and web addresses.
Quick Response (QR) codes are a type of 2D barcode which are increasingly used today. You may have seen these used in restaurants or shops to link to menus or brand websites.
What Is The Difference Between UPC And SKU Barcodes?
People often get confused by different types of barcodes, most commonly UPCs vs. SKUs.
Both Universal Product Code (UPC) and Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) barcodes are useful to businesses of all sizes, so it’s important to know the differences between them.
UPC barcodes are made up of 12-digit numbers, whereas SKU barcodes can be of any length and can be alphanumeric.
On one hand, UPCs are used worldwide. They mark products and stay the same, no matter where the product is sold. It doesn't matter which retailer or location a product is being sold at.
A global brand might have a specific food or household product with a UPC barcode. This barcode is used by all retailers worldwide. They are created by GS1 and must be licensed by GS1 and purchased from them to be used, they can be used globally.
On the other hand, SKUs are barcodes unique to individual retailers. Shops can generate their own SKUs for their products to track their inventory. They are used on an internal basis. SKUs for the same product will vary from one retailer to the other.
Why Should You Use Barcodes?
Barcodes are now well-established and widely used by businesses all over the world. If you own a business, you should become familiar with the benefits of using a barcode system. This is especially important if you are new to e-commerce.
Keeping up with the latest trends will help you stay competitive. Plus, you will see, as your business grows, how essential barcodes are. They help manage your inventory efficiently, keeping your retail stocked up with the right items and keeping mistakes to a minimum.
Barcodes are affordable and simple to install. But they can have a big effect on your business.
They can help eliminate human mistakes from the inventory and order completion process. Generating product codes or numbers manually is slow. Additionally, it is easy to make mistakes when keying them into spreadsheets or other inventory systems. Inventory tracking with barcodes therefore can save you a lot of time.
Furthermore, tracking inventory using barcode technology makes sure products don’t get mixed up and you can find out if stock is going missing very easily. It will help to keep your products safe and make sure your warehouse or stockroom is running smoothly.
Barcode generation and inventory keeping software, like EasyScan, is easy to add to your Shopify and even easier to use. It does the hard work for you, so you can seamlessly track your inventory via barcode and avoid mistakes.
How To Start Using Barcodes
You now understand the purpose of barcodes and why they are essential for e-commerce. You can start using them for your Shopify store. Setting up your barcode inventory system is relatively inexpensive and will definitely save time and money for your business. We show you below the 3 easy steps to start using barcodes in your Shopify store.
1. Creating Your Barcodes
First, you need to create barcodes for your products using EasyScan. Selecting “Set new Barcodes” under the “Make Barcodes” tab on the app to get started. Check out our article on how to make barcodes with EasyScan for a detailed explanation of the process.
EasyScan can create barcodes from scratch as well as giving you the ability to generate your own SKU property for your product.
2. Printing Your Barcodes
Once you have generated your new barcodes with EasyScan, it’s time to print them and attach a barcode label to your products.
You can select barcodes on EasyScan to print individually if you’re labelling a lot of one product. Or you can print all barcodes you've generated at once. This is a great option if you're creating a lot of your products' barcodes.
And, you can also change the size and settings of barcodes to suit your needs. Again, our article gives full details of how to do this, including how to print SKU codes as barcodes.
3. Scanning Your Barcodes
Now you have your barcodes and SKUs. To track your inventory and orders, you need to be able to scan them. Finally, this step is complete.
Note that EasyScan can be used with all barcode scanners, including USB and Bluetooth models. It can also be used with smartphones or tablets with a camera. Which makes the process so easy!
Using EasyScan, you can scan products to pack orders quickly and efficiently, checking products as you add them to your orders. You can also scan products first and then select a customer, which is great for in-person sales or events.
Additionally, you can manage your inventory through EasyScan once you’ve scanned all of your products. With our app, you can print reports and see how many items were scanned versus how many were logged in Shopify’s database. You can also add and remove stock from your store directly without having to manually type in individual product codes.
Barcodes are the ideal solution for stores that want to save time and money, while minimizing inventory and order mistakes. Our app is the perfect app for helping you set up barcodes and SKUs for your Shopify store to do this. Check out EasyScan on the Shopify app store for more information and start a free trial today!