Barcodes are used by traditional brick-and-mortar retailers throughout the whole world to assist in making the stocking and sales processes as smooth and as efficient as possible. Naturally, they have made their way onto online platforms, such as Takealot and other online shops. Which kind of barcodes would be used on online platforms? Would they be different to the ones used in traditional retail stores? And how does one go about purchasing barcodes for your online business? These are all very important questions to ask that will apply to your business when connecting with online retailers in South Africa. 

Barcodes to control stock and inventory

It can be very tricky to ship a large amount of online orders on the same day and yet still remain in control of your inventory and also ensure that the correct order gets delivered to the correct person. Barcodes help to regulate this whole process and ensure that you have complete control over each step. It will make the whole process faster and more efficient, saving you both time and money.

Barcodes will provide vital data that you need in order to make informed and strategic decisions regarding what to stock and how many of each item to stock at any one time. This will enable you to get ahead of your competitors by ensuring that your online store has everything that your clients need. If they can get everything that they need from your store, why would they need to go anywhere else?

Without barcodes, the process of shipping products throughout South Africa is a long and laborious process, requiring many staff members in order to ensure that the process runs smoothly and effectively. Using barcodes means that you will need to employ less staff, which will lower your costs in the long run. In addition, using barcodes will mean that it will be easier to train your staff to fulfil orders. In this way, it is a lot easier to manage your staff and ensure that they are as efficient as possible. 

Barcodes increase the level of security by ensuring that you are aware of exactly what inventory you have in stock at every moment. This lowers the possibility of theft, items being lost, and ensures that your customers receive exactly what they ordered. 

Barcodes to save time and money

We are all human. Mistakes are only normal and expected. Using barcodes in your online store will limit the amount of mistakes that are made. This will save you both time and money and ensures that your clients are happy. In turn, this will increase client loyalty and ensure that you make a profit at the end of the day. 

The more you invest in ensuring efficient processes, the greater your returns in the long run as you find that you will be able to lower your retail prices, and beat out the competition. Online retail is very competitive, so the more reasonable your prices are, and the faster your payment system is, the more you can compete and draw clients to your online store.

In the past few years, there have been many apps that make use of barcodes. South Africa, for example, has seen an increase in the use of payment apps, such as Snapscan, that generate their own 2D QR codes, and allow the user to process payments quickly and effortlessly.

Getting barcodes your business

Once you have decided to invest in barcodes, South Africa has a number of options available. Firstly, the original retail barcodes, called the UPC barcode, and its extension the EAN barcode, are essential for any retail business, locally and worldwide. Out of all the different kinds of barcodes, South Africa mainly uses these two codes.

The EAN and UPC are thirteen and twelve digits long respectively. Although it might sound like the two barcodes are different, UPC codes can be used as an EAN code by adding an extra “0” to the start (thereby making it 13-digits). Most retailers prefer the EAN code but will also accept UPC codes. 

The ITF-14 barcode is the next code that many business owners choose to purchase. This code is also called the box or case barcode, because its main purpose is to supply your products in bulk. This code is linked to the product’s individual EAN code. So if you are supplying cans of baked beans in a pack of 24, each individual tin will have a EAN code and the case will have a case barcode that is linked to the tin’s EAN. This code is optional since it may not always be necessary to have. It all depends on your specific business needs.

How do you go about purchasing barcodes? You have two options. Firstly, you can approach the international organization GS1 for your barcoding needs. This can be a long process and involves a larger financial investment – GS1 requires yearly renewal fees for each barcode assigned to you, in addition to the registration fees and purchasing costs.

The second option is to buy codes through a barcode reseller. These are companies that have purchased unused barcodes in bulk and are in the process of reselling them throughout South Africa and abroad. This is by far the best option since the process, for you, is quick and effortless. In addition, there is only a once off fee with no yearly renewal fees or hidden costs.

Barcode Solutions is one of South Africa’s most trusted official barcode resellers. Barcode Solutions has served local business, large and small, for many years and is able to assist you in all your barcoding needs. Once you have received your barcodes (within the hour!), you will immediately be able to register your product with your retailer of choice.

New business owners need all the help that they can get in this competitive business world of today. Barcodes are vital tools that you can use to promote your business in the wider community. As can be seen, barcodes are essential both in physical stores as well as online stores. The financial investment is definitely worth it in the long run.