Small retailers can make big gains from barcoding. Getting started is quick and easy, and minimal set-up costs can soon be recouped through accurate sales and inventory tracking, reduced data entry errors, lower handling costs and faster customer service.

For new product barcoding, the first step is to contact the GS1 Member Organisation in your country to obtain a GS1 Company Prefix – a unique number which identifies your company. GS1 is the international association responsible for global barcode standards, and is the official provider of barcode numbers.

Next you can start generating identification numbers, assigning each product a unique reference along with your GS1 company prefix. Fontware’s Barcode Fonts Mac and Barcode Fonts PC software enables you to convert identification numbers into barcodes and print them from within a Mac OS or Windows environment.

Barcodes contain either ‘static’ information, for example a product identification number, or ‘dynamic’ information such as serial numbers. Using Fontware solutions you can start producing labels using your existing laser printer, without the expense of specialist barcode printing equipment.

Barcode type, size, placement and quality depend on what information your products will carry, for example serial numbers or expiry dates, and also where items will be scanned. This could be at the retail point-of-sale (POS), in general distribution, or in special situations such as medical device marking.

You can purchase the correct barcode from Fontware’s website for immediate download and installation. Entering your assigned numbers into the automatic encoding utility generates a query string for you to paste into almost any application, for example Word or Excel, or graphic design software such as Illustrator. Selecting ‘barcode’ in the drop-down font menu turns the query string into a barcode, ready for label printing or incorporating into packaging design.