Down Your High Street

Who are GS1?

Who are GS1 and why are they Important for Retailers?

Whether you are a high street business owner, an e-tailer or a high street shopper, you will no doubt be familiar with the barcode. Used as a way to identify products quickly, the barcode features a unique number known as a GTIN, and holds a variety of information about a product, including its price, ingredients and origin.

Barcodes and GTINs are supplied by the global standards organisation, GS1 and are vital for all retailers, both offline and online. To make sure you are clued up on everything surrounding GS1, barcodes and GTINs we are going to provide you with all the information you need on the topic and give you advice on how to get GS1 barcodes and GTINs for your own products.

Who are GS1?

So who are GS1? A globally recognised organisation, GS1 provides supply chain standards for industries such as retail, healthcare and transport. Defining ways to store and transfer data, GS1’s standards continually save time and money for companies - large and small - across the world.

Why is GS1 important for retailers?

At Down Your High Street, we often see retailers wasting their time managing multiple marketplaces or spending thousands on systems that translate product information.

With so many products to keep track of being sold both online and in-store, archaic price labels and stock lists are no longer sustainable within the omni-channel retail space. You need to be aligned with, if not ahead of your competitors and GS1’s supply chain standards ensure that all the information anyone could need to know about a product sits behind one barcode and one GTIN code.

(NB a GTIN is the same as an EAN number, due to the code’s acceptance around the globe. So, when selling with Google, an EAN can also be used in the GTIN field.)

What’s the future for GTINs?

As a marketplace, we learn every day and the growth in Google shopping alone tells us that GTIN codes are becoming a necessity.

So what’s the future for GTINs in the retail industry? We believe that GTIN codes already provide remarkable efficiency for retailers using them, so imagine if every platform and marketplace recognised them.

Picture a shop owner with an in-store EPOS system, a website, a presence on various marketplaces and the task of fulfilling all orders with a chosen courier. If all these platforms used the GTIN as their master code, the shop owner wouldn’t have to add any product information - just simply add the code. The time saving potential when using GTINs is exceptional.

GS1 and Down Your High Street

When we launched downyourhighstreet.com, we didn’t comprehend the potential of product identifiers, but we did build the fields to accept the four we were aware of: EAN, GTIN, UPC and MPN.

We were initially introduced to GS1 when running our first Google Channel Partnership campaign; a handful of our retailers were unable to provide the GTIN code Google requests when advertising with Google Shopping.

We learnt that this code has a lot of potential in the retail space and decided we needed to educate our retailers on the subject. To give DYHS retailers a helping hand, GS1 UK are now working in partnership with us at Down Your High Street to offer smaller memberships for 1–10 and 11-50 products, which is extremely beneficial for independent retailers.

How to get a GTIN or GS1 barcode

If you want to take your business to the next step, sell with Google shopping and prepare for the future of digital sales, your first step is to sign up for a membership with GS1.

Once you have an account you can begin creating GTINs and barcodes for your products, which will give you the opportunity to feature products across online stores including Amazon, eBay and Google Shopping.

It’s important to note that all retailers will acquire GTINs in different ways, depending on the product source. The GTIN is all about supply chain, so the code should be provided by the product manufacturer who will have received the code from GS1.

If you are a retailer who makes your own products, you should contact GS1 to obtain your GTINs. If you don’t make your own products, follow your supply chain back to each product’s origins and they should be able to supply a code or get in touch with GS1 themselves. More information surrounding this can be found on GS1’s website.

At Down Your High Street, we are pro-GTIN and are extremely excited about its potential. However, it is important to remember that the above is simply our perception of the future. Having a GTIN will not provide you with a complete omni-channel solution, but will open you up to new selling opportunities and prepare you for the future of the high street.



To create your membership or for more information about GS1 and GS1 UK, please visit the organisation’s website.