The UPC Barcode Isn’t Dead Yet

Undoubtedly, most have heard talk about the online shopping trend killing retail. While the data backs up this claim, so does a visit to your local shopping mall. It’s easy to see that stores are closing and what was once a busy and crowded mall is now a lot less congested and a breeze to navigate. This trend not only affects the retailers but it also spreads out to affect smaller businesses like Rapidtags where one of our core products has been printing UPC barcoded tags and labels for manufacturers making clothes for the major retail stores. There are hundreds of printing service bureaus and printing departments of major clothing manufacturers that print thousands of barcoded tags and labels everyday. While you might think that this trend could be worrisome to us and others, in truth, only the format has changed. Each item that is sold online still has to have some kind of id tags and labels. In fact, most items that are sold online have MORE identification than before. Think about it. Previously when you purchased a shirt from Macy’s, there was a garment on a hanger with a barcoded price tag. Now, buy the same shirt from and you will receive it with a barcoded tag on the garment, placed in a poly bag with a barcoded label, a return item label along with a packing list with a corresponding barcode. The increase in product identification comes from the need for personnel and automated machinery to be able to identify millions of items quickly while keeping tight inventory control. My point is that while stores are closing, millions of Americans are still shopping and buying the same, if not more, items. We aren’t buying less. We have simply replaced the 20 minute car ride to the mall with 20 minutes of “search ‘n purchase”.

Read more about the shift in shopping:


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