For a long time, GTINs were optional in retailers’ product catalogues but with changing times and an ever-expanding industry, GTINs barcode numbers have become essential for listing and selling products on online marketplaces.
By Ravi Mathur
India is expected to be a $5 trillion economy by 2025, and SMEs are making the major contribution towards this milestone. Thousands of SMEs manufacture consumer products which are sold/can be sold through retail chains and online marketplaces, providing wide market access to them globally. One essential requirement of such buyers prior to listing products with them is the use of unique and universal product codes with barcoding so that millions of products can be unambiguously identified by all of them in a uniform, common manner.
Online marketplaces and large retailers have adopted global standards to identify and list products uniquely in their systems. The most widely used identification key is the ISO endorsed Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), which is used to identify products unambiguously across categories. This also helps retailers and online marketplaces in validating authorized ownership of product barcode numbers and segregating them from non-genuine sellers/suppliers of consumer products. This, in turn, inspires the confidence and trust of shoppers in physical stores and online marketplaces since they are assured that all products being sold by them are genuine.
For a long time, GTINs were optional in retailers’ product catalogues but with changing times and an ever-expanding industry, GTINs barcode numbers have become essential for listing and selling products on online marketplaces and retail chains. Since shoppers depend heavily on the internet for researching products, it becomes critical for brand owners to rank their product pages better. Studies done by Google show that webpages embedded with GTINs rank 40 per cent better in online searches.
Besides identification, there is a need for providing product right information in a structured and standardized manner. Such information needs to be trusted and reliable as well. For an SME to succeed, it is important to speak the global language of business and be visible on platforms that the industry uses.
(Ravi Mathur is the CEO at GS1 India — a not-for-profit global standards organisation. Views expressed are the author’s own.)