GS1 DataBar Replaces UPC on Coupons

According to our July 2009 poll, 45% of readers predicted that the GS1 DataBar might replace the UPC barcode in the future, compared to 41% who voted yes and 14% who voted no. Three years later, it looks like the majority of our readers were correct in their prediction.

As of June 30, Manufacturers began removing the UPC code from coupons and are only using the GS1 DataBar, originally created for variable weight items, such as produce.

Why Change from a UPC to the GS1 DataBar?
The reason for the switch was because the UPC barcode links directly to a brand but manufacturers could not link to a specific product within a brand. For example, if there was a coupon for $1 off a 16oz bottle of shampoo, people could have simply gotten the trial size version for .99 and actually earned a penny, unless the cashier read each and every coupon, which would cause a line to build up.

The GS1 DataBar is able to store more information than the UPC, accommodating longer manufacturer identification numbers. These longer manufacturer numbers will be able to instantly check to see if consumers are purchasing the correct item, as well as the expiration date. This way, all the cashier will have to worry about is simply scanning the barcode and consumers will be able to enjoy a much speedier checkout process.

What Does this Mean for Retailers?
In order for coupons with the GS1 DataBar to scan properly, retailers will need to update their barcode scanners. While many major retailers will support them, a lot of smaller chains may not yet be equipped. For information on upgrading a POS system, learn more here.

What Do You Think?
Aside from coupons and produce, do you think other products will ditch the UPC code for the GS1 DataBar. Share your thoughts below, or on our Facebook or twitter pages.