If you are in retail, you will need a licensed barcode number, using the EAN (or UPC) symbology. The standards body for Australia is GS1 – they will license you with set numbers for you to use on your retail products. Contact them through their website, at https://www.gs1au.org/ (which is also a great source of information about all things barcode) or you can call them on 1300 366 033.
There are organisations that resell barcodes, but be aware that the major Australian retailers (including Woolworths, Coles and Super Retail Group for example) will not accept them, and mandate barcodes from a standards body.
If you are not in retail, you do not need to purchase licensed numbers and you are free to use any symbology except EAN and UPC codes.
How many Barcodes do I need?
You will need one barcode for every product – in retail, since barcodes are used to track inventory, this means one barcode for each ‘instance’ of a product i.e. if you sell juice in 4 flavours and 3 different package sizes, you will need 12 separate barcodes.
In other applications, you will need one barcode for each item that you need to be able to track independently – for example;
In pathology, one per patient and/or sample, one per piece of equipment
In libraries – one for each item that can be borrowed
In justice – one per piece of evidence
In education – one per student, one per independent asset
Be aware of resizing barcodes – if it is made too small, or resized incorrectly, you may affect its ability to be scanned. Information on barcode dimensions is available on the GS1 website.
Are Barcodes international?
EAN and UPC are international standards and will work anywhere where these codes are used – this includes Australia, UK, Europe, Asia, South America, Middle East, Canada, Mexico and the US. (Be aware that, like Australia, the major retailers in the US mandate barcodes from a standards body).
Do barcodes need to be renewed?
No – once you are licenced with a barcode, there is no renewal needed.