The European Article Number (EAN) is a 12 or 13 digit barcode that identifies every good that is produced and sold. It encodes product information (like manufacturer, style, size and/or color) and can be scanned electronically. The most common use of EAN codes happens at the cash desk, when the cashier scans the products you want to purchase just before you pay. But that’s only one out of many examples of how these codes can facilitate the trade of goods. Discover below how this simple tool can make your life easier and your business more efficient.
One barcode, many benefits
An EAN code is a permanent tag that will follow your product throughout its life cycle: from production to stock delivery and then to the final consumer. EAN codes allow you and all the stakeholders involved (factories, agents, logistic partners, consumers) to digitally identify and track your products all the way through the supply chain. On a daily basis this means 2 things for you:
- EAN codes dramatically reduce the amount of human effort needed to exchange goods, therefore also reducing any potential human errors.
- All data is saved digitally, allowing you to work in a faster and more efficient way.
Using EAN codes will clean up your whole supply chain. Thanks to them, you can:
- Monitor your inventory and precisely know which products are entering or leaving your warehouse at anytime.
- Track your deliveries, from the moment goods leave your warehouse to the moment they arrive at a retailer. Is a consumer returning something? You can scan it and send it back to your warehouse.
- Offer a friendly shopping experience to your consumers. When visiting your showroom, retailers will be able to scan the pieces they are interested in potentially ordering. This will automatically translate into a digital order list saving you the time and energy of looking back through notes and manually putting an order together. For example, the FashionTrade app enables users to scan the barcode with their mobile for an easier-than-ever experience.
- Allow for an easy reorder process. When checking their inventory in store, retailers can also scan the barcodes of low-in-stock items and reorder easily (another feature of the FashionTrade app for example)
To sum things up, EAN codes will ease your logistic process, allowing you to spend more time on what matters the most: creating the best collection for your consumers.
When do you need EAN codes?
The sooner the better! We advise you to get your EAN codes as soon as possible in the creation process, even before pre-ordering begins. Here again, this will make your whole selling process smoother as you won’t have to manually match pre-orders with your final EAN codes. By the way – EAN codes are also necessary to put your collection on FashionTrade.com.
How to get EAN codes?
You have 2 options:
- Become a member of GS1 to get your own EAN codes.
- Buy EAN codes from an authorised internet-based reseller like buyabarcode.com.
To get your own EAN codes, you need 1st to pay a membership fee to GS1 and, 2nd to pay an annual renewal fee. The 2nd option allows you to buy a bunch of codes (for instance 5 codes for €10 or 10,000 for €800). In that case, you are paying for the right to use another company’s identification code – which means your products barcode will begin with another company code. Depending on how many codes you need and the frequency of use, it might be cheaper to get a GS1 membership.
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