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What does the UPC Do?

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The UPC Symbol Identifies Products Through a Series of Lines

UPC, which stands for universal product code, is a symbol that consists of a series of lines of varying thicknesses. Also referred to as barcodes, UPC symbols are used by many retail stores and grocery chains. Commonly placed on the back of product labels, UPC symbols are recognized as an easy tool for identifying the price of certain products. This makes the checkout process fast and smooth. Each product brand includes a series of lines, or bars. To obtain accurate information about a product, these lines or bars must be unique. For this matter, the barcode for a pack of chewing gum will differ from the barcode for a hair product.

UPC barcodes have two parts. This consists of readable numbers, as well as bars that are only readable by a computer. Aside from making checkout easier at grocery stores, retailers may also benefit from UPC symbols. For starters, they are able to keep track of various merchandises. Because universal product codes are also registered in a range of databases, if the UPC symbol is researched, retailers may obtain an abundance of information such as price of the product, product information, and promotional tools.

UPC symbols were introduced in the 1970’s. Through this system, grocery chains were able to have programmed inventory. Thus, by simply scanning an item at checkout, the price would automatically register, and calculate. This alleviated sales clerks having to manually record the price of items, which contributed to faster checkouts and less error.

Because UPC symbols are intricately designed, hacking is difficult – but possible. By duplicating UPC symbols, some persons are able to use discount coupons over and over again. Even if a person is successful in duplicating a fake coupon with a counterfeit UPC symbol, the coupon may not register at checkout because barcodes include a secret code that cannot be reproduced.