Prestashop, EAN Barcodes and Marketplaces

Introduction

The EAN/UPC Barcode and Marketplaces

Amazon Marketplace has always imposed EAN/UPC barcodes as universal product coding for all its flow of traders.

In the last few years, the use of EAN barcodes has also become the norm in most marketplaces to facilitate product referencing and its use has become a requirement in all their business flow management.

The EAN barcode in Europe, or the UPC in the United States, has thus gained acceptance as the universal product identification standard, and its adoption as the definitive product reference code extends into the world of e-commerce.

This means that identification of your offers in all marketplaces will be made up of pairs of SKU and EAN codes: your product reference and product code.

Major Impact on Your Catalog

By adopting EAN bar coding for your product catalog, you substantially increase the trading power of your products. This will become a core factor influencing your development in the marketplace.

So, we see that product labeling with an official EAN barcode eases penetration of distribution networks, such as the supermarkets and hypermarkets and, of course, the global marketplace overall.

Therefore, acceptance of the EAN standard will clearly increase your business, making the necessary outlay, in the form of an annual subscription payment to GS1, a marginal issue in comparison the added value your catalog will acquire.

EAN bar-coding also significantly affects the referencing of your product: Inclusion of the EAN barcode in search engine queries ensures the listing of your site in the search results.

Internal or Private EAN Codes

There are some private or internal EAN code sequences, starting with 2, for example: 2009994102330

These private codes can be used for internal reference coding of products. They are widely used for the sale of products that do not have official EAN barcodes – often, items sold loose, like fruit and vegetables.

So, these codes should be used as sparingly as possible, because they limit the potential sale of the product beyond your business framework.

Some marketplaces may suggest the assignment of private codes to accelerate your integration. However, such offers are an indication that your products are actually eligible for official EAN barcodes, and so it is wise to refuse them.

This constitutes a mutual bond. If you accept these private EAN codes, then your products will no longer be admissible in other marketplaces. You will even have closed the door to your own business development!

EAN Bar Coding Exemptions

EAN bar coding is generally required for all manufactured products, but not for cottage industry or crafted jewelry products.

However, in some cases, determined by the preferences of the target marketplace, the manufacturers or their exclusive distributors may obtain an exemption from the EAN bar coding requirement for their products.

Amazon, for example, features an application known as the Global Catalog Identifier (GCID), which enables allocation of a product code composed of the brand and manufacturer reference.

The GCID is used instead of EAN bar coding.

For cottage industry products, the situation is even simpler: there is no need for any EAN barcode at all. This ruling is universally applied in all marketplaces.

EAN Barcode Generators

Despite the multiplicity of available EAN barcode generation solutions, at best such generators will create a restricted internal code for your personal use only, and in the worst case scenario they will generator a fake code that does not belong to you, accompanied by a false control key.

EAN barcode generation in this way is likely to duplicate existing and correctly referenced items. If this is the case, you will be the one coming under fire from the channel where you have submitted such illegally used codes.

EAN Barcode Sale Sites

Prohibited! The EAN barcodes belong to the GS1. Their ownership rights are attributed by legal contract to a specific corporate entity, and are non-transferrable. The resale of EAN barcodes is therefore prohibited.

If you’re lucky, you will only lose money. The worst outcome could be your exclusion from the marketplace where you distributed the purchased barcodes. By using this illegal method, you will only land yourself in trouble. Don’t tempt the Devil!

Obtaining Official EAN Barcodes

In Europe, the official EAN barcode issuing body is the GS1.

Are you hesitating to approach the GS1 to obtain EAN barcodes? No need to hesitate, and the aim of this article is also to demystify the process…

We have already contacted the GS1 for you. Ismaël gave us a very warm and friendly welcome, and here is what he told us:

If you need EAN barcodes, because you’re distributing manufactured products that have none, for example, mobile phone accessories, take a look at the GS1 membership application form at:

http://www.gs1.org/barcodes/need_a_bar_code

This is a global european website, GS1 has a division in every country, for each country there is a localized service which offers a barcode application form, here is the link for France ;

http://echangeweb.mongs1.fr/mongs1?ENTREE=ADHESION

Armed with your company registration certificate, you can be signed up with your annual subscription fee paid in just a few minutes, and you will receive your EAN codes within 48 hours.

For a minimal fee (8 Euros/year), you will receive 100 official EAN barcodes. Whatever additional EAN codes you may need are issued to you free of charge – all you have to do is file a request with a valid reason for their use.

Next, you will receive a file containing all your EAN barcodes. All that is left for you to do is to allocate them to your products (itemizing each individual item or product combination).

Structure of a Prestashop Product Sheet

A valid product sheet contains at least the following:

Product Reference: Each product reference in your database must be unique

EAN Barcode: A unique EAN barcode for each product or product combination.

A single code cannot be used for several products or product combinations.

A product sheet that does not include a product combination should have a single main reference: a unique EAN barcode; a product sheet containing a product combination should have a single main reference, a unique product combination reference, a unique EAN barcode for the combination.

Here is a sample record of a product without a combination in your Prestashop backoffice:

product without combinations

The following example is for a product with combinations :
– Product Sheet:

product with combinations

– Product Combinations :

combinations

 

It is important to note here that, by default, Prestashop generators duplicate the main reference of the product sheet and attribute it to the generated combinations, making them temporarily invalid.

To rectify this, you need to amend each generated combination reference by adding a value to it that renders it unique and distinguishes it from the main reference, as shown in the above example.

To clarify, the product or combination reference corresponds to the standard Stock-Keeping Unit (SKU) employed in all marketplaces. SKU is the universally adopted term for a product reference ID.

This code represents your unique, internal reference, chosen by you. Try to make it as intuitive as possible. The use of mnemonic SKU codes will help you to remember to which product an SKU code refers.

Finally, it is imperative that the SKU be unique. It is paired with the EAN barcode: one unique SKU/EAN pair per product or product combination.

Note that the same EAN barcode cannot be assigned to more than one product or product combination.

 

 

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