Where Will Your Barcode Be Scanned?

U.P.C. barcodes help to ensure that all products are properly identified at retail point of sale

Point of Sale (Checkout)

If your product will be sold at retail point of sale (or checkout), you’ll want to use a UPC-A barcode. It’s the most common barcode required by retailers in North America. U.P.C. barcodes help to ensure that all products are properly identified at retail point of sale. The U.P.C. barcode promotes rapid product scanning, resulting in more accurate data that can be used by your trading partners.

Use the same GTIN online as you use for physical stores

Online and E-Commerce Stores

Many online retailers use the same process as physical stores. Most require that you assign a Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®) to your products. In fact, you should use the same GTIN online as you use for physical stores. As for barcoding your products, many online retailers require that a U.P.C. barcode be placed on your items. As a best practice, you should review the retailer vendor requirements to help you get started.

Identify units such as cartons, cases, and pallets

Warehouses and Distribution Centers

If your products will pass through a warehouse, you’ll need to identify units such as cartons, cases, and pallets. There are two different barcodes that are most commonly used to identify cases: ITF-14 barcodes and GS1-128 barcodes.

ITF-14 barcodes will contain only the GTIN. The advantage of ITF-14 barcodes is that they can be pre-printed directly onto corrugated material, such as boxes. This saves you time and money.


GS1-128 barcodes also contain the GTIN, but can also encode additional product information, including batch/lot number, weight, or expiration date. This is done by using Application Identifiers, or AIs, with the barcode. When scanning, AIs are used with the barcode to communicate specific types of information related to your product, such as batch number, weight, or expiration date, and are used in multiple industries.


Barcoding Your Products

View the online training course

Create Barcodes Online

Go to GS1 US Data Hub® | Product

Want Barcodes Created For You?

Visit the GS1 US Solution Provider finder

Get a Summary of Barcode Types

Download the GS1 Barcode Chart PDF

In this publication, the letters “U.P.C.” are used solely as an abbreviation for the “Universal Product Code”, which is a product identification system. They do not refer to the UPC, which is a federally registered certification mark of the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) to certify compliance with a Uniform Plumbing Code as authorized by IAPMO.