How To Use The Shopify Barcode Generator
Using barcodes to track retail products has been a tried and true method used by millions of brick-and-mortar store owners.
As shopping spills over into eCommerce marketplaces, the value of barcodes is still extremely high.
Online merchants are still producing physical products and being able to track them at any stage of the product distribution process is crucial to success.
But what exactly are these linear codes and how can you start using them in your Shopify store today?
We’ve all seen a physical or digital barcode at some point but what do those black and white parallel lines really mean?
They’re actually identifiers!—Quickly helping companies, individuals, and governmental organizations locate a specific person or product.
Barcodes are generated using specific tools and software that transform numbers and other product data into machine decodable strips.
Barcode scanners use laser light to measure the contrast between the bars and the barcode background color.
The differences in the way light is reflected in each bar gives the barcode its own unique numerical code.
This numerical code is what shop owners see in their online tracking system and what shoppers see at the bottom of the barcode.
There are two types of barcodes that are commonly used nowadays, the 1D barcode and the 2D barcode (also called a QR code).
QR / Quick Response codes can be read vertically and horizontally while traditional barcodes can only be read in one direction.
SKUs (Stock Keeping Units) are used internally for inventory tracking and you can develop your own unique SKU formats according to your needs. Barcodes, on the other hand, are universally recognized by barcode scanners and follow a standard format.
Barcode format differs depending on the type of item it's printed on. For example, a driver's license barcode will have a longer set of numbers than a barcode label created for a grocery item.
Since we’re focusing on Shopify stores and retail goods, let's take you through the information you would find (and possibly create) for your products.
- Brand Name
- Item Type
Because custom barcodes are used all over the world for a wide range of products, the GS1 US (formerly Uniform Code Council) devised a standard for label types across different industries and regions.
For retail sales, the Uniform Product Code (UPC) was created.
It contains a 12-digit code beneath the series of unique white and black vertical lines.
The first six numbers on the product label identify the manufacturer of the product. Shopify merchants who are reselling products can obtain this number from the manufacturer of the product if it isn’t provided.
To create your own unique manufacturer ID, you’ll have to register with the GS1 and pay a joining fee.
The next five digits in the UPC is the item number and is unique to the product itself. Each company will have a department that issues these numbers, ensuring there are no duplicates of barcodes.
The last digit is referred to as the check number and serves to confirm that a UPC is valid.
For store owners that want to add barcodes to their inventory, Shopify has made it easier than ever with their free online barcode generator.
To create custom barcode labels you have to:
- Enter your email address
- Enter the barcode data you want to show up when the product is scanned
- Click “submit”
The barcode will be sent to the inbox you provided and can be downloaded as a PNG file.
All the barcode labels you create can be read by any barcode scanner across the globe. Barcodes are a universal language that can be relied upon in various industries.
To use this function, Shopify store owners need to:
- Install “Retail Barcode Labels App” from the Shopify App store.
- Go to “Settings” in your Shopify admin dashboard.
- Select “Apps and sales channels” then “Retail Barcode Labels” and “Create template.”
- Follow the prompts which will help you create labels for specific products or all your inventory.
The label printer option can then be accessed by:
- Going to "Products" in your Shopify admin.
- Select all the items you want to create a barcode label for.
- Choose "More actions," and then click "Print barcode labels."
- Select a label template and follow the prompts, making sure to update your printer settings before you print labels.
There are many benefits to using Shopify’s online barcode generator for your products.
- It’s free! You can use this tool for free regardless of whether you have a Shopify paid plan or not. In fact, you don’t even need an account to use this feature.
- Your inventory control process improves and you can even add location data to track the product at each stage.
- No training or technical expertise is required.
- The speed during your checkout process increases.
- There are fewer errors in your product tracking.
As with most tools on the internet, there are many alternatives to the Shopify barcode printer & generator.
We’ve curated a list of some of the best barcode generators that are meant for Shopify stores.
In addition to barcode generation, some of these apps come with a host of useful features for your store.
- Multi‑Label Barcodes 🏷️
- Kodbar: Barcodes & Labels 🌟
- Yanet: Barcode Labels 👌
- Wholesale/Retail Catalog Maker 📃
Created by Cashew Tree Software Inc. Multi-Label Barcodes fully integrates into your Shopify store and can be easily installed from the Shopify app store.
- Customizable templates
- Print custom fields like customer data with the barcode
- Easily edit inventory information
$9.99 per month
5-day free trial
With this app, you can create or upload your custom barcodes to products on your Shopify store. There are three price plans available based on the number of barcodes you need to be generated each month.
- Barcodes are automatically assigned to products
- Upload your own barcodes
- Print custom labels with supported and standard printers
From $9 per month
7-day free trial
**Discounted pricing is available if you pay annually.
This freemium service allows you to create SKU labels and tags for your products as well as print your barcodes. They are compatible with a range of printing papers and allow the ultimate customization for your label size and content.
- Create your own label templates
- Multiple printing materials are supported
- Barcodes are automatically generated for products
With this app, you’re able to create and print a host of digital documents for your Shopify store, including barcodes. It’s a great option for larger businesses as the starting price may be steep for new business owners.
- Barcodes generation & printing
- Create retail catalogs
From $89 per month
7-day trial period
**15% discount on annual payments.
The Shopify barcode generator is an easy-to-use and effective way to manage your stores' inventory.
In three simple steps, you can have a custom-made universally recognized barcode for specific items listed in your shop.
Additionally, there are plenty of app integrations that will allow you to not only create barcodes but sync those codes to items in your store and even print the labels.
If you haven't signed up yet, try Shopify’s 14-day free trial to get your business off the ground, and be sure to check out our other useful Shopify tutorials.