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When you begin to have store inventory that you are shipping or selling to your customers, you are faced with the question of organization and identification. How do you identify every product that you sell and how do you track your inventory after it has changed? When your products are sold at a retail point-of-sale they must also be identified to properly price and track inventory. What systems have been put in place for identification and tracking purposes? Both of these questions involve inventory management and coding with numbers or symbols. In the case of point-of-sale, the bar codes used for scanning have been standardized by an international organization. This means that your product will have several codes and symbols applied to it so that it can be correctly handled and rapidly shipped or directly sold in a store to your customers. The code then also helps to track your inventory. The internal number or code that you apply to your products is often called a stock keeping unit, or SKU. Prestashop simply calls it a REFERENCE. The other numbers and codes used by manufacturers and shippers/carriers are known as EAN13, JAN, and UPC codes. They typically come in two parts a numeric code and a graphic which is called a bar code. EAN13 is the European code, JAN is the Japanese Article Number, and UPC is the Universal Product Code. The following tutorial will discuss where these codes are added, how to obtain the codes, and how they will appear on your products.
Remember that the code you are using for the REFERENCE is an internal number and primarily used for internal inventory management. The EAN13, JAN and UPC codes are for point-of-sale scanning in retail, manufacture and shipping. Here's an example of a REFERENCE code saved in Prestashop:
The code in the Reference box is used to identify the product, but it is primarily for internal stock keeping purposes. The customer will not see this code in the storefront.
EAN-13, JAN, and UPC codes
The codes -also known as the Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN) - are governed by an international non-profit organization called GS1. You would need to join the organization to get unique product or company-specific based codes. Though it is based on the original UPC-A code created in the United States, the EAN-13 code was implemented to supersede the UPC code so as to provide more possible code combinations. Here is an example of the EAN-13 bar code when it's printed and applied to your product:
International Article Number (EAN), Wikipedia.org
GS1 - Non-profit organization that governs the global system of supply chain standards
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