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Buying UPCs and Barcodes– Where to start?

Ed. Note – This is the first blog post by Maria, from the SellerEngine Services team. She’s an expert in selling globally.

What are UPC symbols and why are they important?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code and they’re the numbers you see below barcodes on the products you buy. They’re especially important to Amazon sellers because every item listed on any Amazon marketplace must have a UPC associated with it.

Most products you buy at the store will have a UPC provided by the manufacturer. However, sellers who manufacture their own products, or those who create product bundles will need to source their own UPC symbols and barcodes to put on their products.

What are my Options?

Depending on the size of your business and the number of UPC symbols and barcodes that you need, you have a few different options.

If you’re looking to buy thousands of UPC symbols, you should be going to straight to the GS1.  They’re a nonprofit group that sets standards for international commerce. There you can register as a company and you get your own identification number that appears as the first part of the UPC.

You’ll pay an application fee of up to several hundred dollars, then a much smaller annual fee. The exact amount of the fee depends on your answers to application questions, including a revenue projection for the next 12 months, and the number of products for which you expect to need individual UPCs in that time. Descriptions of your products may be required.

If you need a smaller number of products, there are other sites which resell UPC barcodes individually or in bulk ranging from $8-29USD each. You will be paying for the use of that company’s identification number– not your own. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you’ll be paying a premium for this service.

Buying from Resellers

If you decide to buy from such a reseller, you need to be careful since there are some out there whose bar-codes won’t work on Amazon, or you’ll find they are already in use.

Here are my recommendations for the best UPC resellers out there:

  • http://www.BuyABarcode.com – A pricy option, but we’ve had great success purchasing from them. $85USD for a single barcode and $2,475USD for 500.
  • http://www.BarcodesTalk.com – Great online reputation and prices that range from $7.50USD for a single barcode to $825USD for 1500 barcodes.
  • http://www.LegalBarCodes.com – Barcodes purchased from Legal Barcodes are owned by you and unique to you. Prices range from $7.50USD for a single barcode to $125 for 100.

Where do You Buy Your Barcodes?

Do you know of other sites that offer good prices on barcodes and UPCs for Amazon sellers? Are there any sites you should definitely avoid?

What have your experiences been purchasing barcodes and UPC symbols?

Let me know in the comments or on Facebook.