What is the EAN of a product and why is it important for your e-commerce?

EAN stands for “European Article Number”, but when talking about EAN codes in general, it usually refers to the EAN-13 code. A 13-digit number that serves to identify each product individually and unambiguously in all countries of the world.

EAN barcodes are particularly useful because of their ease of use and versatility, making them an essential tool for manufacturers and distributors, such as ecommerce, in a wide range of industries.

In this blog post, we’ll look at what the EAN code is and why it’s so important for your online shop. Not only will it be useful in optimising your stock, but also in being able to set smart pricing strategies thanks to the use of price monitoring and dynamic pricing tools such as Boardfy..


What is the EAN Code and what is it for?

The EAN number is a barcode standardised in all countries, which is used as a product identifier. In other words, you could say it is the universal code for a product.

Adopted in 1979, the EAN-13 barcode was created in response to the UPC code, which at that time did not offer a way to identify products from different countries.

The EAN international article number is a crucial element when selling or importing goods, as it ensures that any product is the same regardless of where it is purchased. It is therefore very important to be able to compare the name and price of an item between different sellers and/or e-commerce platforms.

As we have already mentioned, the main objective of these barcodes is to provide a unique numerical identification for each product that you want to sell. In other words, an EAN barcode will always correspond to the same product, regardless of the country where the transaction takes place.

If a buyer is not sure whether he is comparing 2 identical items, he only has to check that the EAN is the same to confirm that it is the correct product.


Types of EAN and UPC codes

The use of EAN / UPC codes is widespread internationally. They have revolutionised the distribution of goods by allowing companies and customers to instantly identify products anywhere in the world.

The main difference between EAN and UPC codes is that the latter do not identify the country of origin of the producing company.

Both are the most common GS1 formats, although they are not the only ones. On the other hand, they can adopt different denominations.

Here is a summary of the different versions of the most common EAN / UPC codes:

– EAN-13 (GTIN/UCC-13): 13-digit international EAN code used in more than 100 countries, with the exception of the USA and Canada.

– EAN-14 (GTIN/UCC/ITF-14): 14-digit code used to identify commercial items for wholesalers. Basically they are used for inventory control. The difference between EAN-13 and EAN-14 is that EAN-14 usually identifies different levels of packaging (boxes) containing products with EAN-13.

– EAN-8 (GTIN/UCC-8): is the compact 8-digit version of EAN-13. Particularly useful for small items that are individually packaged.

– UPC-A (GTIN-12): 12-digit code type mainly used in the USA and Canada.


How much information does the EAN code contain?

The EAN code contains all the information necessary to identify each international item exactly. In other words, each item will generate a unique type of barcode.

The structure of the EAN barcode is 1-6-6 and its digits provide us with a great deal of information:

– Country code: the first 2 or 3 digits of the EAN code identify the country of the company or brand, but it is not necessarily the country where the product was manufactured.

– Company code: this corresponds to the manufacturer’s number (4 or 5 digits).

– Product code: the remaining digits, except the last one, are the actual article number.

– Check digit: this is a kind of verification number obtained by applying a certain formula, designed to minimise errors.


How do EAN codes work?

EAN numbers are transformed into barcodes so that they can be scanned by a laser scanner or any other equivalent system.

These EAN labels can be read in both directions, i.e. they are omnidirectional. In addition, the numerical code can usually be found underneath the barcode, which facilitates manual correction of possible reading errors.

Laser scanners are capable of reading and converting such barcodes into 13-digit codes. This simple fact greatly facilitates everything from inventory control to price comparison between products from different vendors.


Why is it important to include the EAN code in your product pages?

Perhaps, with everything we have told you so far, you are already starting to get an idea of how important it is to include the correct EAN code within each product page.

Just in case, here is a brief summary of the advantages of using EAN codes:

– It allows you to quickly and accurately identify the product.

– Facilitates inventory control by being able to search for a product by its barcode.

– Increased efficiency in the management of databases and in the preparation of sales analyses for each article.

– Enables unequivocal comparison between two products from different sellers or platforms.

– Tracking and control of a product throughout the distribution chain.

– If you want to export your products, you will need to assign them an EAN or UPC code.

– Many marketplaces, such as Amazon, require a GTIN code in order to sell products through their platforms.


How to obtain an EAN code?

If you are the manufacturer or the person directly responsible for the items you sell and you wish to obtain an EAN code for your product, there are a few steps to follow.

The first step is to obtain your manufacturer code from the company authorised to distribute GS1 codes in your country. For example, in Spain it is GS1 Spain.

To get it, you just have to fill in their online registration form, pay the fees and send them the documentation they request.

Once you have completed this step, you will have your GS1 company code, which is essential to start the coding process of your products and to be able to carry out the necessary electronic transactions.

Once you have received the EANs of your products, you will be able to implement them on their respective labels or on your packaging.

Although this process has a cost, it is worth it if you want to launch into the online market or export your products.


Enter your EAN codes and let Boardfy “do the magic”.

Well, it’s not really magic, but rather speed and power supported by artificial intelligence.

In addition to all the advantages that EAN codes have in terms of management and control for manufacturers and sellers, they also serve to track and monitor your products in any marketplace and obtain very valuable information for you and your pricing strategy.

Do you know what Boardfy can do for you in such a competitive online market?

In case you don’t know, here is a brief summary:

– Monitor your competitors’ prices.

– Create an effective pricing strategy.

– Automate price increases and decreases according to the strategy set.

– Optimise your Google Shopping campaigns: invest only in your most competitive products in real time.

– Discover in which articles you have no competition: increase your margins in those products in which you have no rival.

And all this from a single tool and in a totally automated way.


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