A barcode number is a unique sequence of digits that is used to identify a particular product or item. Barcode numbers for retail products are usually 12 or 13 digits long. Barcode numbers can be encoded into a barcode image (vertical black bars and spaces) that, when scanned at the checkout, will be connected to the barcode number and product information.
In the nineteen-seventies George Laurer developed the UPC bar code system. This system was adopted by businesses in the USA (and later worldwide) as the preferred barcode system. George Laurer has a website (http://www.laurerupc.com) where he gives a lot of useful information about the barcode system. He clarifies the law around barcodes, expresses concern at how expensive it (now) is to get barcodes from GS1-US (because of the annual fees they have started charging), and recommends affordable alternatives for getting barcodes. The barcodes that we issue come from a source recommended by Mr. Laurer.
Our current barcoding system began in the 1970s in the USA. The barcodes were UPC-A format (12 digits long). When that barcode system spread worldwide, another barcode format was used outside of the USA – this barcode format is called EAN-13. EAN-13 barcodes are 13 digits long, and are based on the shorter UPC-A barcodes. The barcodes that we issue are in EAN-13 format, because this is the preferred barcode format in New Zealand, Australia, and everywhere else in the world (except the USA). However, it is important to note that both EAN and UPC barcodes can be used worldwide because almost every barcode scanner is capable of decoding barcodes in either format. This means that if you want to export your products to the USA, you won’t need to get them re-barcoded with UPC barcodes. Our company is able to issue barcodes in the American UPC format (instead of our standard EAN-13 format), if this is requested by our customers.
Most retailers in New Zealand today use a barcoding system. For this reason, we would advise you to barcode your products. If your products have barcodes on them, this will increase the number of retail stores that will accept your products (it will also mean that you won’t have to re-barcode your products in the future if your retailers later request it). Our barcodes are available for one-off prices (we don’t charge any annual fees), so there is no downside to getting your products barcoded now & saving yourself the hassle of doing this in the future.
You will need a different barcode for each different product and product variation (size, colour, design etc). For example; if you are selling picture frames in three different sizes (small, medium, and large), two different types of wood (rimu and kauri), and two different designs (plain and patterned) you would need twelve unique barcode numbers.
Any barcode packages ordered through our website will be emailed to with the guarantee and images as attached files (in 4 different formats – jpeg, png, svg & pdf). You would then get them incorporated into your product packaging in an easily visible flat location, either by yourself, or by your graphic designer. Please bare in mind the barcode specifications when doing this.
Yes, if you get your barcode from our company it will be suitable for any retail product. Our barcodes are in EAN-13 format – this is the standard retail barcode for NZ and most of the world. Our barcodes are currently being used on a very wide range of products (clothing, food, wine, bottled water, CDs, DVDs, postcards, artwork etc).
Our barcodes will work in all retail stores that have a barcode system because they are EAN-13 format codes (and are therefore compatible with almost every barcode scanner worldwide). However, there are a couple of stores in Australasia that won’t accept our barcodes. This is because these retailers require you to be a member of a Global Standards Body for barcodes, and to pay annual fees to that organisation for a ‘license’ to use their barcodes.
There are products using our barcodes in Foodstuffs NZ stores – however Foodstuffs NZ has been changing their requirements, so we advise that you contact Foodstuffs NI & SI and check their requirements before purchasing barcodes.
Many of our customers hope to get their products into major retail chains, but realise that they have a low chance of success and also it may take many years, so they start with our barcodes realising they MIGHT need to switch to GS1 barcodes if they somehow manage to get an order from a large retail chain – and that order should be large enough to justify the additional expense of GS1’s costly joining fee and annual fees.
NOTE: If you are exporting your products to the USA, there are a couple of stores in the USA as well (Kroger’s and Wal-Mart) that probably won’t accept our barcodes (you will probably have to join GS1 and get your barcodes from them instead). To our knowledge, every other store in New Zealand, Australia and worldwide will accept our barcodes.
NOTE – there are millions of different stores worldwide, so it would be impossible for any company to guarantee their barcodes are accepted in all stores. We aim to serve our customers by informing them of any restrictions that we know of regarding the use of our barcode numbers – we want our barcodes to work for you. Hence we provide information that is as accurate as possible, but take no responsibility for specific store requirements. If you are unsure, ask your retailers about any specific barcoding requirements they have before you purchase barcodes.
If you do decide to join a Global Standards Body (GS1) and get your barcodes from them, you can come back to our company to get the barcode images (GS1 do not supply the barcode images, only the 12 or 13 digit long barcode number itself).
Yes, absolutely – our barcodes are in EAN-13 format, and can therefore be used everywhere in the world. We have customers using our barcodes in NZ, Australia, the UK, the USA, Europe, the Pacific Islands, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Yes – our barcodes are legal for use in New Zealand (as well as worldwide). They are used on 1000’s of products throughout New Zealand. Our barcodes come from the same original system as GS1 barcodes. Hence they still work perfectly within this system.
No, your barcodes will not have a Company Prefix. Our company is able to sell individual barcode numbers to our customers. Because we can sell single numbers, we are unable to provide our customers with a Company Prefix. If you want a Company Prefix you will have to join a Global Standards Body for barcodes and pay their annual fees. They will assign you with a Company Prefix. Note: 99.8% of retailers don’t care whether or not your barcodes have a Company Prefix.
No product information is contained in a barcode. A barcode only becomes linked to your product through a retailer’s computer system. When a retailer receives your product, they type the barcode number & product info into their system – after that, when your barcode is scanned the product info will appear on the retailer’s screen.
You can order a barcode from us from our online Barcode Shop and pay by credit card or PayPal. If you’d prefer to pay by direct deposit, cheque, or Western Union, please give us an email and we will send you an invoice and some payment instructions.
After you receive your barcode, you can just assign the barcode number to your product & attach the digital barcode picture to your product (ie. print it onto the product label or packaging). After that, all you need to do is give your product to your retailers. They will enter all the relevant details into their system to connect your barcode to your product.
Yes, absolutely. Our barcodes are in EAN-13 format (or UPC-A if you prefer), and they can be used worldwide. We have various payment options available: credit card, PayPal, cheque, direct bank deposit, or Western Union.
Yes, the barcode number you receive from our company will be unique (not only in New Zealand, but worldwide). We can guarantee that your number will be unique, because all of our barcodes originally came from a Global Standards Body (UCC – now known as GS1-US).
No, your barcode will never expire. Once we assign a barcode to you, you become the the legal owner of it (forever). You can choose how you want to use it. We will never make you pay any renewal fees – all of our prices are one-off.
No, the barcode you buy from our company will not be registered in a Central Database (because there is no Central Database for barcodes and products). After you receive your barcode, you can begin using it immediately. We do offer an optional barcode registration service (although your barcode will work fine without registration).
In the 1990’s, several manufacturers in America were assigned unique manufacturer ID numbers by UCC (the Global Standards Body for barcodes – now known as GS1-US). These numbers became the property of these manufacturers.
In the early 2000’s, UCC decided to make some changes. They retained ownership of all new manufacturer ID numbers (barcodes) they issued, and claimed that all previous barcodes they had issued to manufacturers were still technically their property. UCC made all new businesses join them as a ‘member’ and pay annual ‘membership’ fees for a license to use their barcode numbers. UCC also tried to make the previous manufacturers pay annual ‘membership’ fees for a license to continue using the barcode numbers that had been issued to them a decade before.
Some of these manufacturers took UCC to Court to challenge the legality of the new annual fees requirement. These manufacturers succeeded, and received a settlement of almost $4,000,000 (USD). Under the settlement, any company that had paid a ‘membership’ fee to UCC before August 28, 2002, was entitled to free on-going membership of UCC and could continue to use the company prefix assigned to them.
The barcode numbers we issue to our customers came from the numbers assigned to one of these companies. For this reason, we do not have to pay annual fees for a ‘license’ to use the barcodes we sell, and this benefit is passed onto our customers – we will never charge our customers any on-going future fees for the use of their barcodes (all of our barcodes are available for a one-off price).
Yes, you can print your barcode with a coloured background – but use a light colour so that there is still a lot of contrast between the black bars and the background colour. We recommend that you carefully test a sample of the printed barcode (using a handheld scanner) before getting all your printing underway. Some colour combinations are not suitable. For more information please see our Barcode Colour Guide PDF.
If you need a barcode for your book, you should probably get an ISBN number (from the NZ National Library). ISBNs are unique numbers assigned to books. After you have your number, return to our company and order barcode images online for your number. We will turn your number into barcode images & email them to you in digital format.
If you need a barcode for your magazine, you should probably get an ISSN number (from the NZ National Library). ISSNs are unique 8 digit numbers for magazines. After you have your number, return to our company and order barcode images online for your number. We will turn your number into barcode images & email them to you in digital format.
Both UPC-A Numbers and EAN-13 numbers are used as retail barcodes for scanning at the checkout in order to obtain the price and other product information. The main differences between them are that UPC-A Barcodes only have 12 digits and EAN-13 barcodes have 13 digits. Furthermore, the displacement of the numbers below the barcodes differs.
Both versions are designed for international use, and can therefore in theory be used throughout the world, however, UPC-A Barcodes are far more common in the USA, and EAN-13 Barcodes are far more common everywhere else. This means that some retailers may be unfamiliar with one format or have their system set up so that it cannot accept 13 digit or 12 digit numbers. Regardless of this, either format can be used.
As can be seen in the image below, the actual bars of the UPC-A format barcode and the EAN-13 format barcode (with a leading ‘0’) are identical. This means that they will scan in exactly the same way regardless of which country they are in. If a retailers system does not allow 13 digit numbers, the leading ‘0’ can be ignored when typing the number into the system and, the barcode will work in the same way as if it were a UPC-A format barcode. Similarly, if 13 digits are required, a ‘0’ can be added to the beginning of the UPC-A barcode to turn it into an EAN-13. Either way round, the barcode will be globally unique and legal for use internationally.
Our barcodes begin with a ’07’. This means that the barcodes themselves originally come from the USA, however, this says nothing about the origin of the products themselves. Products from any country can use barcodes from the USA and vice versa.
I am a very happy return customer of Barcodes NZ - their service is fast and when you do have questions about best type of barcode for your project they are patient and generous in their responses to help you make the right choices. I would highly recommend this service.
Very fast and easy to use. Have wondered about going somewhere cheaper but really found this service so quick and efficient I think it is wise to stick with them. Thanks guys!
Awesome service. Thorough attention to detail with all manner of files provided for the one bar-code. Prompt online delivery. Nothing complicated, no hidden strings. Recommend.
A super easy process. Thank you
My experience with Barcodes NZ Ltd was extremely good. It is very rare to find a service provider as efficient as this company was. The whole process was able to be completed online, in a logical and comprehensive manner. I have nothing but the highest praise for them.
Having recently purchased a new business, sorting new products has involved a lot more than I expected. The vendor suggested I use Barcodes NZ Ltd and it was so easy - I received the barcodes straight away and I could send them straight to my printer - highly recommend this service :-)
Instant response and bar codes available a few hors later. Great service
Amazing service. Fast response. Professional work. Very happy and will definitely return for more barcodes in the future.
Dealing with Barcodes has been the best decision made for our business. We highly recommend using them.
It was such an easy process I wish all order sites were as easy to navigate.
Quick, easy and good service.
Hassle free barcode purchase!
Super helpful and quick customer service - answering my many questions to help me understand the entire process. Very quick processing and easy to order. Legitimate and cheaper than GS1, recommended!
Very Prompt and professional--A p[easure to to do business withLiam
First time using the site, couldn't have been more straightforward or easier. Completed process in super quick time, most impressed.
Easy to use and set up for us - highly recommended
Thought it would be more complicated but was quick and very easy process - will use again!
Easy to order, and real easy to work with
We just didn't know what was required and how to get started to get our barcodes done. Barcodes NZ had a good website that explained everything clearly and the process was a breeze. Everything was easy and surprisingly effortless.
Initially I wasn't sure what to do. where to go , but Barcodes NZ made the exercise quick and easy, thank you
It can be pretty intimidating ordering tens of thousands of bar codes, hoping that you've got the correct product! The process was easy and the bar codes worked fabulously. Thanks team.
Super easy, quick and efficient. I recommend these guys.
Fast personalised service. Great experience.
Great service and effective help when needed.
Very quick and easy - literally no drama or headache in the process!
All great service
Good service, quickly resolved my problem by using the QR code. Oh, and can we please stop using USA-based templates. It was effortless
I've always been happy with the promptness of receipt of barcodes and recommend your company to many self published authors that I talk to.
Really appreciated the phone support it might the whole process easier.
So easy and great communication.
Too Easy, thanks a million.
David was very helpful on the live chat and answered all my questions quickly. Great service!
Very helpful and friendly staff! Thank you for your assistance.
This is my go-to place for purchasing bar codes; its fast and affordable. I'll also come back here for more.
Fantastic people to deal with. I had no clue how to go about implementing bar codes, the different types, regulations etc. The Bar code company has a very informative web-site that explains all the in's and out's in a way that a non professional can understand. Ordering the bar codes from them was as fast as lightening. I highly recommend these people.
simple and fast, how fast you get your barcode is dependent on how fast you can click.
First time purchase barcodes, the stuff are so patient to explain any questions I have. Thanks a lot!
Buying barcode was so easy and simple and useful.Help desk was so quick response. Thanks
I needed a barcode for a dummy of a picture book that was off to Bologna Book Fair in a few days time. I was super impressed with Barcodes NZ's fast turn around. I must remind myself that the ISBN is inserted after adding to the cart though - it trips me up every time..
It was easy and quick to get a barcode for a new album I've produced. I highly recommend Barcodes NZ Ltd, because of the swiftness and promptness of resolution to my need.
Barcodes NZ were very helpful getting me sorted with my first Eardrops stories, then when I needed more barcodes they were prompt to respond and helpful as ever!
I find the team at Barcodes always so extremely efficient and helpful. Here at NoShortcuts Gourmet Chutneys understand the importance of providing great service to ensure your customers keep coming back!!
Great to work with, fast response, always receive my barcodes within 24 hours.
Moya at Barcodes was a pleasure to work with. Very efficient and a great price. Will definitely use them again.
Fantastic easy company to deal with. Great customer service. Highly recommend to everyone
Great service. I didn't know anything about bar codes and they were happy to educate me and help me find the right bar code for my product. And a great price too!
I used Barcodes for all my nine books. They are fast and efficient. They are friendly too. I recommend anyone to use this company.
We have been using the services of Barcodes NZ for the past three years and have found their service to be faultless. They are extremely professional, well organised and prompt at replying to any questions. They are essential to our business and we have no hesitation in recommending them!
Barcodes offer an excellent and easy service for acquiring barcodes. Highly recommended.
Brolly Sheets is a global business that has been with Barcodes Ltd for over 5 years. They have always been very easy to deal with and I highly recommend them for their excellent service and just ease of doing business with them. Barcodes Ltd - you guys rock!!!
I am a small one woman business and have found Barcodes NZ Ltd very helpful. I had no real knowledge of barcodes and how they worked. They talked me through all of my concerns and made the whole process very simple for me.
We at Leena Spices have been with Barcodes Ltd for four years now. I can highly recommend them to anyone. Very Fast Service, Excellent Products, Top Communication, and Most Friendly. We give them 5 Stars for everything. Thank you so much Barcodes Ltd.
Fantastic fast service and friendly staff, great to deal with
Home Business International Trading Barcodes
Very efficient and easy to follow instructions
Quick, helpful response to my query and easy buying process. Highly recommend!
Quick, helpful response to my query and easy buying process. Highly recommend!
I had been using you for ten books, Moya was friendly and helpful. Prompt service.
The lady I dealt with on the 0800 was very helpful.
first time purchase and visitor to their website. The whole thing was easy and straightforward
Excellent Service - Highly recommended!
I buy no where else.
always an easy process - keeps me coming back.
This is my second time to buy from you, last time was quick and easy.
Excellent customer service!
Chat officer, Dave, was a real pal: right on the button with everything.
easy to use and phone support was fantastic.
Great easy to use service.
The lady who answered the phone was a real delight to talk to...give her a raise.
Spoke to a lovely lady with a British accent. Thanks for the information and help.
Easy as and very helpful e-chat service provided.
The site is easy to navigate and ordering a barcode is a simple process.
can't believe how helpful you guys have been - thanks!
Fast answers and Excellent services.
I have been so impressed by the customer service, will def use again! Many thanks.
They provide very good service!
You were very fast and efficient.
This is the easiest transaction you could ever have. If only Barcodes NZ sold everything I need!
Fabulous service and great website.
The person who answered the phone in the office and dealt with my query was extremely welcoming. She had a fantastic approach, professional yet friendly Answered my queries and didn't make me feel that my questions were daft. A great business experience.
This is such an easy site to use
it was so simple and fast great service cheers guys.
FANTASTIC - SOOOO EASY. I was dreading do this, but took 3 mins:)
It's always great ordering from you. Your service is fast and fairly priced. Cheers
I trust Barcodes.co.nz beyond belief. Reliable. Honest. Sincere. I dont have any need to even think of looking elsewhere. I consider Barcodes.co.nz as my company when I need barcodes.
Really impressed with the clarity on the site, and the fantastic customer service!