How Does GS1 US Support Small Businesses?

As a small business owner, you likely have many questions about how to succeed in retail today. You recognize that challenging aspects of running your business, such as selling online and managing inventory, are also critical to achieving your sales goals. GS1 US® can help you on your growth journey and support your success. 

Simply put, a UPC barcode from GS1 US represents your gateway to bigger sales. Whether you sell your product in store or online, through a retailer, or direct to the consumer, barcodes from GS1 US are an important part of a small business’s long-term strategy. Here are three ways that working with GS1 US can help you create a reliable foundation for your products, no matter where the consumer discovers them.

Trusted Everywhere

Incredible advances in e-commerce and technology make way for new business opportunities every day. Not only are there more entrepreneurs today than in previous decades, but companies are up and running faster than ever before, there are more platforms to assist with selling products. As proof of this fast-paced retail ramp-up, digital commerce is now a $1 trillion market.   

With so many options and opportunities to reach customers globally, how do you know who to trust? And which organizations can truly help you build business integrity? 

Small business owners in warehouse holding box and tablet

To help you gain a head start in today’s competitive retail environment, you need barcodes that are going to connect you as a brand owner to your product. Most retailers and marketplaces require GS1® barcodes so that your products will be acceptable in their databases and to help them separate authentic businesses from counterfeiters. 

This seems like a small detail, but it matters where you get your barcodes—and not all barcodes are created equal. When you work directly with GS1 US, you are choosing to work with a not-for-profit organization that has been responsible for maintaining a whole system of product identification for more than 50 years. The identification numbers contained within barcodes from GS1 US are created according to globally agreed-upon standards. Small business owners often consider their GS1 US certificate as a proof point that they are a reputable brand. 

Large yellow quotation mark

“One of the first things we did when we started our company in 2010 was get barcodes from GS1 US. It was essential to us scaling our business from the get-go and showed retailers that we meant business.”

- Angelle Albright, founder of the head-cover business Chemo Beanies and a GS1 US small business member

Supporting Inventory Management

What is inventory management, and why should it be an important part of your growth strategy? On a basic level, inventory management means organizing your products so that the right item is in the right place at the right time for the customer. It is a critical piece of managing supply and demand. You need to be able to accurately forecast sales and anticipate what you can deliver to each retail partner.

Managing inventory using GS1 barcodes adds a layer of automation and accuracy to help keep your business organized. As opposed to using your own internal numbering system, the numbers encoded into GS1 barcodes are unique, like a fingerprint—no one else in the world should have the same one. No matter how many retailers or platforms you work with, you will be able to track your sales across all of them and ensure your products are properly recognized in their systems.

How GS1 Standards Power Small Business Success on Amazon

Sam Heyworth of Amazon discusses the powerful ways that GS1-issued GTINs improve efficiency and business opportunities for small e-commerce brands.

Increase Your Online Sales

When we think of a UPC barcode, we usually think of the lines and spaces that makes the item we want to buy go “beep” at checkout. It is scanned by a barcode reader and quickly records in the retailer's system that a particular item has been purchased. 

Did you know the barcode has similar capabilities when you are selling online and can even help you increase online sales? As e-commerce grows, thousands of businesses trust GS1 US for unique barcodes that can help their products get discovered in online searches. Online marketplaces such as Amazon and Google Shopping often require authentic UPCs to set up a product listing, as this helps them validate that the product comes from a trustworthy source. Plus, adding this number is a key piece of information not just for search algorithms, but to ensure that the right product is delivered to your customer’s doorstep. 

Purple quotation mark

“Once you get into retail, and you’re not just selling on your own website, you need to be legitimate. That's how we found GS1 US. We know we’re working with a standard, common language that everyone can speak.”

- Patrick Carroll, co-founder of the DIY art brand Paintable Pictures

Supporting Your Growth

Ready to take the next step and become a GS1 US member?  

  • Estimate how many barcodes you’ll need. GS1 US offers an estimating tool and a variety of pricing options to suit your product line and growth plan. 
  • Check out using our easy-to-use e-commerce store experience. 
  • Contact our member support agents with your questions. Call us at 937.435.3870, or email us at
  • Take advantage of your free subscription to GS1 US Data Hub®, an online tool for managing your product data and to download barcodes.
  • Enhance your knowledge with GS1 education and events.