Effective e-commerce retailing needs an orderly product tracking and identification system. For something to be orderly, it has to be standardized. You wouldn’t want a situation where everybody’s coming up with their own numbering system. These numbers then conflict with each other because there are lots of duplicate numbers. This leads to a tremendous amount of consumer confusion. You have to remember that in any kind of e-commerce environment, the last thing that any seller, wholesaler, product manufacturer or even affiliate, needs is consumer confusion. When consumers get confused, they can be relied to not make a decision. This spells trouble for anyone looking to earn money from that consumer.

Imagine all the time, effort, energy and resources these players are put into driving this consumer to buy a particular product. All that goes down the toilet when the consumer get confused due to the sloppy product numbering system. Standardization is the antidote to this. Standardization leads to greater efficiencies as far as selling to consumers are concerned. This leads to better warehousing because people are more likely to be less confused when they order a product and then they distribute a product. Do you know you are talking about the same exact product?

Greater efficiency saves a lot of money all across the board

We are talking about cheaper warehousing, cheaper product tracking, cheaper shipping and so on down the line. Standardization or product numbers also leads to greater market discipline. When customers can rest assured that they can find a product brand, make and model and particular type based on its number, they can safely compare among many different sources. In this way, fly by night operations and shady sources cannot bend the rules or move the goal posts as far as product identification goes. They simply have nowhere to hide. It’s easy to spot market players who are flat out lying or making stuff up.

This is all made possible by the fact that an orderly product numbering system enables people to compare apples with apples. The overall effect is that standardization leads to smoother online commerce, which then facilitates easier search results-based shopping. The easier it is to be able to find products online and compare them, the more products will be sold.

What is an EAN?

An EAN code is a 12 to 13-digit identification code. It is a number that is attributed to manufacturer, brand, product and attribute. Consider it as a unique digital fingerprint of your product. It’s normally printed as a barcode on the packaging of the physical product itself.

Why do you need an EAN code?

Not all people engaged in online commerce need an EAN code. It only applies to certain types of people. First, if you are a retailer, you’re going to be selling stuff on your online platform. If your target market is Europe, you need an EAN code. If you are selling digital products, then you don’t need an EAN code. If you are selling physical products that doesn’t have a manufacturer EAN number already, you need to get an EAN code for each and every item that you are stocking. If you are a manufacturer, you also need an EAN code, because you need your products to be readily found online and compared online reliably.

You don’t want to be in a situation where people are just searching for the name of your product and they’re actually comparing two different products. Your product’s different positioning might actually end up sabotaging your brand overall. Finally, if you are an e-commerce site operator, whether you are drop shipper, or you are a simple affiliate catalog owner, you can recommend EAN’s to your drop shipper partner or you can employ this directly. The end result is the same. You will tend to sell better online.

Keep in mind that EAN codes enable you to increase the value of your products that you are distributing online. The product value is not just measured in terms of the actual range of benefits a particular product brings to the table. You also have to look at the transaction costs. How hard is it to find a product. What is the likelihood that there will be confusion in the product selection process? These are all costs that tend to degrade a product’s attractiveness compared with other products.

I know that this may sound crazy, but the truth is, consumers feel that time is a luxury. They really want to be able to make quick decisions, especially since they are using mobile shopping apps. Your job is to make the buying process as smooth for your end users as possible. One way to do this is to use an EAN code for each and every product you manufacture, sell or distribute. Never let any feature of your online presence get in the way of a smooth consumer experience. The more hassles you put in the way of your visitors, the less likely they will buy from you.

Oddly enough, in the world e-commerce, product quality is not the biggest challenge. The biggest challenge involves making the whole sales process as smooth as possible. This involves making sure your target consumers can quickly find your product. This also means presenting your merchandise in such a way that your prospects can easily make up their minds whether to buy or not. You want the whole process to be as quick and efficient as possible. Using a unified product numbering system is crucial to this whole process. Any point of confusion will result in lost sales.

Using an EAN code system goes a long way in reducing consumer confusion. It also paves the way for easier consumer product comparisons. Anything you can do to ease the consumer’s decision-making process should be done. Seriously. Given the huge amount of competition out there, you simply cannot afford to put unnecessary hurdles, no matter how subtle, in front of your visitors’ path to sales conversion. Your firm’s ability to turn a profit might well hang in the balance.