A barcode is a series of patterns, letters, numbers, and lines that identify and differentiate millions of manufactured products from each other.
Product barcodes are machine-readable and scannable, making it easy to identify products by scanning the barcode commonly found on the packages of the millions of products consumers purchase in stores and online.
We scan barcodes using barcode readers that communicate information about scanned products via computer outputs and data reports.
Businesses and service providers operating in the US have used barcodes as a way of identifying, categorizing, and tracking products since this machine-readable tag was created in the early 1950s.
There are many types of barcodes made for performing different functions and reporting critical product data.
One-dimensional barcodes are scannable by optical scanners and barcode readers. Two-dimensional barcodes can be read by digital cameras, smartphones, and mobile devices that can act as specialized bar code readers.
Amazon uses a system of barcodes and barcode scanners for labeling, scanning, categorizing, and tracking products sold in the marketplace. This online retail giant uses one-dimensional and two-dimensional barcodes to store data about the millions of products it lists in the Amazon product catalog.
Most US-based businesses also use barcodes and scanners to manage and track business-based inventory like computers, tablets, and other equipment issued to employees.
Optical scanners or other barcode readers tell sellers important information about the status of their products. Amazon sellers can find out which products are selling and outperforming others in similar categories in the marketplace.
They can also track sold and fulfilled products by ASIN or barcode to learn where those products are in the cycle of purchase and fulfillment.
Accessing product data and locations for millions of products at a glance makes it easier for Amazon and its professional sellers to provide pertinent order information to customers.
Barcodes facilitate easy tracking for customers and sellers to access worldwide delivery information. This feature helps ease the minds of anxious customers awaiting the products they ordered online.
Barcodes and barcode scanners come in particularly handy when customer orders are lost during the shipping process or delayed during the fulfillment cycle for back orders or product unavailability.
Fulfillment by Amazon relies heavily on the use of the barcode system to locate, track, and deliver millions of products and services purchased in the Amazon marketplace.
Amazon's e-commerce catalog houses over 12 million products in its global marketplace. These products are sold and shipped to customers in many countries around the world via distributed fulfillment centers operated by the logistics giant.
Installing barcodes and labels on products and services helps this e-commerce giant provide top-tier logistics and customer service to customers, sellers, and logistics providers around the globe.
According to Amazon, its vast network of e-commerce products and services is "barcode-driven." They track and label all the products managed by their marketplace using manufacturer-generated barcodes or barcodes generated by the Amazon ASIN system. They rely on barcode scanning and tracking to provide global shipping, logistics, and delivery services worldwide through their Fulfilled by Amazon service.
Amazon sellers who use Amazon fulfillment services can eliminate the step of creating and applying barcodes to their unlabeled products by subscribing to the FBA label service that will complete the steps on their behalf.
While sellers can track some products in Amazon's global marketplace and ship them using manufacturer barcodes, unlabeled products without an Amazon ASIN will need to have an Amazon barcode manually created and applied before they are eligible for fulfillment and shipping.
Amazon sellers who have products or services that don't have an original manufacturer code can create and apply Amazon barcodes for product identification by logging in to their Seller Central account.
Sellers create barcodes for unlabeled products using the tools built into Amazon's Seller Central dashboard. They can create, print, and apply barcodes to tangible products and categorize them for shipping using the barcode system and the ASIN system that labels, tracks, and categorizes individual Amazon products.
Busy sellers who don't have time to create and apply barcodes to the products they sell on Amazon can subscribe to the FBA Label Service and have the labels created and applied by Amazon customer service and distribution center professionals along the fulfillment route.
It's important for sellers to note that not all products may be eligible for a printable Amazon barcode.