Guide to getting a barcode

There are a series of simple steps to follow to get a barcode on your product.  This is not an exhaustive list, but will give you a general guide to getting your next barcode onto your product.

Bear in mind that the barcode and the number are different things.

We recommend you first look over this information, and if you have further questions, email or call 0800 10 23 56


Step 1: Get a barcode number (correctly called a GTIN - Global Trade Item Number) 

Step 2: Assign the GTIN to your product

Step 3: Turn your GTIN into the barcode graphic and put into your artwork

Step 4: Print the barcode

Step 5: Verify the barcode meets the GS1 standards and will scan first time every time.


Step 1: Get a GTIN

If your organisation has never used barcodes before, you will need to join GS1 and get a unique GTIN (pronounced 'G Tin') or block of GTINs to use on your products. You can do this online on our website. The process takes 5-10 minutes if you have a credit card. GTINs are licensed only to members of GS1.
You may choose to become a FULL member, or, if you only require a few numbers, then Affiliate membership may be more cost-effective for you.


Alternative options: 

If your company is already a member of GS1, you probably have a range of GTINs allocated to your company ready for use.  You can check by logging into MyGS1  If you don't have your details, or aren't sure, email or call 0800 10 23 56.

If your company is an importer/distributor and you are not the brand owner, then your supplier would normally have put barcodes on the products.   If your supplier is outside of New Zealand, you can find a list of other GS1 organisations on our global website for their contact details here.


Step 2: Assign the GTIN to your product

Whatever you do, make sure there is one source of the truth for your organisation, and that all relevant people know where to find this information. Unfortunately we regularly take calls where someone has left the business, or a computer has crashed, and records detailing which numbers have been allocated to which products have been lost.

You will need to allocate a GTIN to each level of packaging.  eg retail unit, inner and/or carton.

We recommend the Product Vault or My Products tools inside your MyGS1 account. These will step you through allocating unique numbers to your products. This then becomes a single, central record of which numbers have been allocated to which products, accessible by anyone with a logon to your MyGS1 account - 'one source of the truth' for your organisation.

Alternative options: 

If you just want to know the full numbers for a large list of products, contact us. Please update your records afterwards to record which numbers are assigned to which products.

If you have a large history of products allocated outside of the GS1 system, then it may take some time to load your history in before you can use it for future allocations.  You should understand where your master list of data is.  Is it in an ERP system?  A backed up spreadsheet?  A piece of paper?  Some company records may go back over 35 years. We highly recommend over time loading your history into Product Vault. Please call us to find out how we can assist you with that.


Step 3: Turn your GTIN into the barcode image and put into your artwork

At this point you have a unique number assigned to your product, but you don't yet have an actual barcode image to put on your product.

You can use our barcode image generator inside MyGS1 if you wish to create an EAN-13 or ITF-14 barcode.  Members get 10 free graphics a year.


Alternatively you could use our Solution Provider Directory and either:
 - get someone to provide you the images as a service
 - purchase software to generate your own graphics.  


Step 4: Print the barcode

We recommend you look on our Solution Provider Directory to find a company who can fulfil your needs.  This will vary depending on what the product is, what the packaging is made of, printing methods etc.    Our barcoding Basic User Guide contains everything you or your printers will need to know here.


Step 5: Verify the barcode meets the GS1 standards and will scan first time, every time

A GS1 Barcode Verification report will check many things, to see if the barcode meets the standards, if the print quality is acceptable, checking the validity of the GTIN, the location of the barcode and other aspects.  Full members get 5 free barcode verifications per year.  You apply for this inside MyGS1


If you have questions, or would like to discuss how the process applies to your situation, email or call 0800 10 23 56


 Version 1.4 – Updated 7th Dec 2020




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