Barcodes for products are essential to running an online business through Shopify. A lot of small businesses don’t use them, but we’re here to tell you why you should. Not only that, but we will show you how easy it is to set up a barcode inventory system with our Shopify app, EasyScan.
Managing your inventory well 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 and different types of products, barcoding items is essential.
In this article, we’ll take you through what barcodes are and why you should use them. Most importantly, we’ll explain how to start using a barcode inventory system 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 picture that visually represents data. The data can include a number or text which holds information about specific products. You can scan barcodes to easily transfer product information to a computer or smart device.
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 ProductCodes (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 on 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. In simple terms, UPCs are used on a global scale to mark products. They remain constant whatever retailer or location a product is being sold at. For example, a global brand might have a specific food or household product that has a UPC barcode, used by all retailers worldwide. UPC barcodes are created by GS1 and must be licensed by them and purchased from them to be used.
Alternatively, 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.
UPC barcodes are made up of 12-digit numbers, whereas SKU barcodes can be of any length and can be alphanumeric.
Both UPC and SKU barcodes are useful to businesses of all sizes, so it’s important to know the differences between them.
Why Should You Use Barcodes?
Barcodes are now well-established and widely used by businesses all over the world. If you’re starting up a business or are already established but not yet using a barcode system, you need to know its advantages to keep up to date with e-commerce trends. Barcodes are essential to managing your inventory efficiently and keeping mistakes to a minimum.
Barcodes are cheap and easy to implement whilst having a massive impact on your business by eliminating a range of human errors from the inventory and order fulfilment process. If you manually generate product codes or numbers, keying them into your spreadsheets or other inventory systems is slow and can quickly go wrong. 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
Now you know what barcodes are and why they’re essential in today’s e-commerce world, you can think about using them for your Shopify store. Setting up your barcode inventory system is relatively inexpensive but will pay dividends in time and money saved for your business.
There are 3 key steps to using barcodes.
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 for you as well as giving you the ability to generate your own SKU property for your product.
2. Printing Your Barcodes
Once you’ve used EasyScan to generate your new barcodes, it’s time to print them and attach them to your products. You can select barcodes on EasyScan to print individually if you’re labeling a lot of one product. Alternatively, you can print all barcodes you’ve generated at once.This is great if you want to generate a barcode list of your products. 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
Finally, now you’ve got your barcodes and SKUs, you need to be able to scan them to track your inventory and orders. 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.
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. Our app enables you to print a report on how many items were scanned versus how many you’ve got 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.
So, barcodes are the way forward if you want a time and money-efficient store with minimal inventory and order fulfillment mistakes. EasyScan is the perfect app for helping you set up barcodes and SKUs for your Shopify store to do this. Check out our app on the Shopify app store for more information!