EAN stands for European Article Number and is composed of 12-13 digits, one digit being a security code. Even though the name implies European, EAN codes are used everywhere in the world apart from North America. UPC, on the other hand, stands for Universal Product Code and is used primarily in the United States and Canada. It is composed of a 12 digit bar code. EAN and UPC codes are intrinsically the same as far as purpose goes. They are used to provide a unique numeric identity for tangible products.
Nothing can be more confusing than buying a product with a product identification number on its box that is very different from the same product from another distributor. This can cause all sorts of logistical nightmares. Shipping can be a problem. Getting products from point A to point B, getting people to sign up, things may get lost, and nobody would be a wise support. All sorts of problems come up.
The biggest problem, however, is one of simple consumer confusion. When people search online for review information or product benefits, they want a high level of assurance that they will not be comparing apples to oranges. Unfortunately, that is exactly what is going to happen if this product that they are looking for uses different unique product numbers.
Since there is no shortage of shady online retailers making all sorts of claims and bending the truth, this can all make for one very confusing situation as far as end users are concerned. When consumers are confused, they almost always do not make a decision. Instead, they would look for another product entirely and try their luck with that.
In other words, if you do not use an EAN or UPC code for your product, you end up losing out. You don’t just lose out on the distributor level; you also lose out on the end user level. It can get quite nasty very quickly. This oversight can have a tremendous negative impact on your bottom line. This is why it is really important to use either an EAN or a UPC. Sounds good so far? Well, there’s a big problem.
The Big Problem
You might think that your business is strictly in the United States. While you’re more than welcome to think that, you have to understand that businesses tend to grow in spurts. Things might go so well for your company that you might end up expanding globally sooner rather than later. This can be a serious issue. Or the reverse can be happening. You may already be doing well globally and might think to expand in the United States later on.
If this comes to pass, then you are stuck. Why? You are either using an EAN-only system, or you’re using a UPC-only system. Your scalability may be an issue in terms of your global reach. This is especially a big problem with online selling. Your customers will come from anywhere the four corners of the globe. You might be putting “handcuffs” on your company by sticking with only one type of product code.
The Good News
The good news is that you don’t have to choose between EAN and UPC codes. We will provide you with the both.
Whether you are in the United States or anywhere in the world, if you are trying to sell any product (apart from the ones we indicate on our home page), we can provide you with GS1 compliant EAN and UPC codes without an extra cost.