How Does UPC Operate and What Is It?

A UPC can be found on almost any consumer goods, whether it is sold in-person or online. It’s a barcode, or a number that can be read by a machine. It is a crucial component of the system for managing orders. The spacing between the bars are specific to the product.

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Depending on the code, there are eight or twelve digits under the bars. The manufacturer’s identification number can be found in the first six to ten digits. The item number is represented by the next 1–5 digits. The check digit is the final digit. It ensures that the code is accurate.

UPC barcodes are necessary in today’s environment for regular commerce transactions. Barcode readers are used by retailers to scan items at the register. To look it up, the reader will send the information from the UPC to the POS system.

At the point of sale, the price is obtained by the POS system after it has retrieved the data. This will enable the retailer to set a price for the product.

The majority of UPC barcodes are scanned in large quantities. Particularly in retail settings, this is observed. They might, nevertheless, also be perfect for the healthcare sector. They can be used for data tracking, warehousing, logistics, security, and medical device identification.

UPC Types

The type of UPC barcode can change. The two types you may encounter are as follows:


This is regarded as the typical UPC. Retail point-of-sale transactions use it. The Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN-12, is a 12-digit barcode that is used to encode data.


The UPC-E barcode has eight digits as opposed to the typical 12-digit barcode. GTIN-12 data is also encoded by it. Usually, this barcode is utilized when a 12-digit one cannot fit in the available space. These are present on minor retail products such as gum, cigarettes, and makeup.

Does Having a UPC Make Sense?

You’ll probably require a UPC if your company sells tangible goods under your name or under a label. This will assist you in recognizing every item in your stock. Furthermore, every product will have a distinct barcode variation.

UPCs may also be required depending on the platform you use to sell things online. Big-box stores like Walmart, Amazon, Google, eBay, and others ask for barcodes on their merchandise.

UPC barcodes might be useful for scanning and monitoring your inventory.

How Much a UPC Costs

A barcode is not free to obtain. The kind of barcode you choose may affect the price. The cost of a GS1 US GTIN barcode is $30 for a one-time license. The price of a GS1 Company Prefix varies. The quantity of things for which a barcode is required determines this. There is an upfront cost in this instance, which might be anywhere from $250 and $2,100. In addition, there will be an annual cost ranging from $50 to $2,100 to keep your UPC registration active with the GS1.

SKU versus ASIN versus UPC

If you’re wondering, “What is a UPC?” you might assume it’s the same as an ASIN or SKU. All of these, though, are distinct from one another in some manner.


Standard barcodes and UPC barcodes are similar. Business owners frequently mix them up with other product numbers, such as SKUs and ASINs.


An internal product number is called an SKU. SKUs may include digits and letters. The length of these numerals is not restricted. Some companies decide to print SKUs on top of their UPC labels. This facilitates the identification of internal products.

You can configure inventory systems to convert UPC barcodes into SKU numbers for your products automatically. An SKU generator can also be used to generate the number for you. Gain a deeper comprehension of SKUs by grasping SKU rationalization.


An Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) is another name for an ASIN. Amazon uses this number specially. Though not always, it is frequently a variant of the UPC barcode for your product.


For businesses looking to understand their sales, a standardized product code is necessary. This can be done through foreign trade or selling on internet marketplaces. There is more to UPCs than just a collection of numbers.

Product data is linked to a UPC barcode. They are highly regulated and also quite convenient. To acquire a legitimate UPC, you must submit an application for a GS1 corporate prefix. The procedure is worth it even though it’s not as easy as it first appears. They can provide basic product tracking assistance.

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