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.

How to add product reference information, EAN13, JAN and UPC codes in Prestashop 1.5

  1. Login to the Prestashop 1.5 Administration Panel as an Administrator
  2. Go to  the menu bar and hover over CATALOG until the drop-down menu appears. Click on PRODUCTS
  3. If you are managing an existing inventory you will see a list of your products appear. Select the item you wish to edit, otherwise select the green ADD NEW button.  Look for Informations> PRODUCT GLOBAL INFORMATION, then you will see something similar to the following screen (note the screen capture has a sample item of an iPod nano):


  4. After the product type selection options , you will see the product name and then three codes that you can add:  REFERENCE, EAN13 or JAN, and UPC.  Select REFERENCE and add the code that you have designated for your product.  This is typically an internal code that you can use to organize your inventory.  This code is not necessarily used by your customers or other organizations.  The code is alpha-numeric and can include the following special characters:  . -_\.  For more information on using this code to manage your inventory, go to How to Manage Inventory using the REFERENCE code in Prestashop 1.5.
  5. Select SAVE to save your entry.
  6. The next two blanks are for the EAN13 or JAN and the UPC codes

    If you sell your products in a store front or through a re-seller in Europe:

    These codes may be mandatory depending up on the market where you are selling your product.  Some do not use them, but in general, retail and re-sellers or distributors will require them. You will need to consult with your retailer or distributor to determine if they are required.

    If you sell your products online:

    If you sell your products online in Europe, dependent on your type of business you may need include these numbers which are also known as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN). For more information on these numbers go to the GS1 UK website. 
    The EAN-13 used to be called the European Article Number, but is now known as the International Article Number.  (For information on EAN-13, see International Article Number).

    In the United States, GS1 has standards for a common language called eCom (electronic communication using standard business messaging), but it is not required.  The standards that GS1 eCom provides can be found on their website: GS1 eCom.  The use of the their standard can lead to increased efficiency and organization, since they are the authority on providing the standards for the global supply chain.

    To get a unique product code generated or to obtain an existing product bar code:

    -If the product that you are selling requires a unique bar code number, then you will need to contact GS1UK - they can issue the code but you will need to join the organization
    -If you are re-selling a product, you can obtain the bar code from multiple vendors who sell software to generate and print the bar codes.  Or you can again contact GS1UK for further information
    -If you are selling your products to Japan, then you would use the Japanese Article Number (JAN).  The EAN codes for Japan are the same except they use the country code of 49. For more information on the JAN you can go to their official website:  GS1jp.org
    -If you intend to sell your products in the United States, then the UPC code or Universal Product Code is required for point-of-sale.  To get more information on obtaining a specific company  or product bar code, go to:  GS1US.org

    In order to generate and print the EAN-13, JAN or UPC bar codes, you will need to obtain a separate program or module to add to Prestashop 1.5.

  7. Once you have obtained your EAN-13, JAN or UPC code (the numeric code, not the bar code), enter it into their respective spaces.

  8. Select SAVE in order to save your entry for the EAN-13, JAN or UPC codes.


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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n/a Points
2015-01-18 7:20 am

hi there! Thanks for posting this helpful tutorial. I was just wondering if you know how sombody would add a SKU to an item that has multiple options. For example we have one product with numerious sizes. Each size has a different SKU that needs to be associated with it. It seems that you are only able to imput one SKU per product even if that product has different sizes or colors. Is there a way do do this? Thanks in advance for any help you can offer! Lee 

16,266 Points
2015-01-19 8:34 pm
Hello Lee,

You can add the SKUs for each variation within the Combinations tab for the product. Each combination can have its own SKU/UPC

Kindest Regards,
Scott M

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