In fact, a GS1 Company Prefix is the first part of a barcode. Let's break it down:
- The Prefix is what identifies your company
- The GTIN (partially made up of the Prefix) is what identifies your product online
- The barcode is what identifies your product at a physical checkout counter
Just check out the picture to the right!
It's important to understand that the reason retailers recommend GS1 US is because of the GS1 Company Prefix. When you get your barcodes from GS1 US the Prefix will identify your company only. If you get your barcodes from anywhere else, it's very likely that you will not be listed as the brand owner of that barcode.
Retailers often verify the authenticity of your GTINs by checking in the GS1 Database before they allow you to sell on their site. If your company is not listed in the database as the brand owner of that GTIN, your account might be suspended, or you might need to relabel your products. Both will cost you time and money!
If you want to follow retailer recommendations, you need to license a GS1 Company Prefix from GS1 US in order to get the GTINs you need for your products.