Do you ever spend your day wondering, “Gee, I really wonder about UPCs and how they work?” Neither do I. But yet UPCs are all around us and if you’re a business owner, sell a physical product or someday want to then you’d better listen up. UPCs are super boring but super important. What’s interesting is the plot to take your money that is behind them. If there was ever a time to get bent out of shape about massive corporations vying to destroy or prevent new comeres, now’s the time.
Ready? Get this, two of the massive companies behind the standard 12 digit UPC are Walmart and Kroger. And to sell any product into their stores, you have to register with GS1 and spend a minimum of $750 to register a prefix that identifies your business to that code. Guess who owns GS1? Yup, Walmart and Kroger. Pretty clever eh. If you want to know who owns a UPC code go here and then punch in the digits. Take MiiR’s UPC of 856765002588. Punch it in. Boom, all my info is connected to that code. Oh and every year you have to re-up registration for $330. Kinda of a bitch, but that’s life.
Now you can buy just one or two UPCs from another company sloughing off single UPCs at a time. But if you plan to sell on Amazon.com buyer beware. If someone else already has that UPC, your product won’t get listed. My advice, switch from your venti soy vanilla latte to drip (it’s stronger less caloric anyway) and bite the bullet. $750 sucks, but so does not selling with the world’s largest online retailer.
While UPCs aren’t glamorous, the creativity is up to you. As long as you meet the 1.125″ wide global standard, the rest is fair game. Take the lead photo in this post. All are totally acceptable and very clever. Fight back with creativity.