Universal Product Code (UPC)


Universal product code (UPC) refers to a coordinated system of product identification by which a number (usually 12 digits, called UPC-A) is assigned to products.

The UPC (represented graphically by a¬†physical set of bars or lines) is designed so that at the checkout counter an electronic scanner will read the symbol on the product and automatically transmit information, including the item’s price, to a computer that controls the sales register.

Universal product codes are printed on most items sold in supermarkets and other mass retailing outlets. The data generated can be used for a wide variety of marketing decisions such as inventory control, allocation of shelf space, advertising, pricing, and so on.[1]

external image upca-1.gif[2]

See also



  1. ^ American Marketing Association, AMA Dictionary.
  2. ^ Barcode Island. UPC-A Symbology.

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