Barcode Reseller or GS1?

I received this question the other day and thought it was perfect for the Question of the Week.  I’m sure this information will come in handy for a lot of people.  These are some of the things you need to think about when you’re trying to choose between a barcode reseller or a unique prefix from GS1.

QUESTION:

I am involved in a small start-up company who intends to sell product through the specialty retail channel. We need to barcode our products (which number 12 at present but will grow in the future). Spending $750 for a unique ID through GS1 seems a bit excessive. So my question is: is there any reason NOT to purchase a barcodes from a “barcode reseller”…ie using their prefix for our products??

ANSWER:

While I’m not going to recommend going with a barcode reseller or purchasing your own unique ID with GS1, I want to give you some things to think about and understand before making your final decision.

When you purchase your barcode through a reseller, you will not “own” your own unique ID number, so there is no way to ensure that the prefix will not be resold again to another company. This could potentially create havoc with the same number identifying different products or different companies. The retail industry has taken a greater interest in this issue and many retail outlets now want to know that the unique ID prefix is “owned” by a particular supplier. This continues to be a gray area and will often vary from retailer to retailer, some will have very strict policies on this, while others many not have any.

Many retails are asking their suppliers to provide a copy of the GS1-US certificate, as well as asking their small and medium size vendors to support Data Synchronization in an effort to register all of their products’ barcodes to ensure they stay up to date. In order to do this, you need to have a global location number, which is part of the benefits you receive when you become part of the GS1-US.

The fact that you have 12 products, with plans to grow, will require that you purchase at least 12 numbers (a re-seller will not just give you the prefix, you will need 12 separate numbers), and if you need more in the future, you may not be able to obtain the same prefix.

One last thing you’ll want to consider is that if your reseller goes out of business, you have no real way of proving ownership of your “unique” barcode ID.

These are some of the main factors you really need to consider when contemplating going with a barcode reseller versus registering yourself.

Hope this information helps!