Requirements for barcode labels

Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) warehouse processes and systems rely on product barcodes. To be tracked throughout the fulfillment process, each unit you send to a fulfillment center requires a barcode. Any shipment that arrives at an SFN fulfillment center without the appropriate barcode labels will cost you preparation service fees.

You can barcode your products in one of the following ways:

  • If the manufacturer's barcode labels follow the SFN requirements, then you can use their barcodes.
  • If you want to use custom barcodes, or if the manufacturer's barcode labels don't follow the SFN requirements, then you can print your barcodes and apply them yourself. You can print labels by using Retail Barcode Labels app or SFN inbound transfers.
  • If you want SFN to barcode your units, then you can contact your Fulfillment Merchant Manager to request barcode labelling for an additional fee. If you don't have a Fulfillment Merchant Manager, then you can contact the SFN Support team by email, or you can create a special project.

If you want to create custom barcodes and apply them yourself, then make sure that the barcode labels on your units and packages meet the SFN requirements in this guide. You can print this guide or download it as a PDF file for your reference.

General requirements for barcode labels

To make sure that your inbound transfers at the warehouse are processed without delays or additional fees, verify that each unit you send to SFN meets the following requirements:

  • Every unit is labeled.
  • Every unit has a barcode.
  • The title on each label matches the title of the unit.
  • Every unit and inbound transfer packaging meets the specific labelling requirements based on the contents and packaging.
  • The barcode follows the recommendations for label fonts and label printing so that it is easy to scan.
  • The barcode can be scanned for at least two years.
  • If are not using the manufacturer’s barcode, then your custom barcode must cover the original barcode.
  • Use a black barcode against a white label background.
  • Make sure no other barcodes can be scanned, unless they are serial numbers.

To make sure your that your barcode labels stay on the unit and are easy to scan, follow these recommendations:

  • Don’t use QR barcodes.
  • Don’t print with ink that can smear or blur.
  • Don’t print on reflective materials.
  • Don’t use thin reflective materials over the label.
  • Don’t use faded labels.
  • Don’t use poor resolution labels.
  • Don’t tape labels to your units.
  • Don’t wrap labels around corners or curves on the unit.
  • Don’t apply labels over the seam of a box.

Recommendations for label fonts

To make sure that your labels are easy to scan, follow these recommendations for label fonts and barcode types:

  • Choose a font that distinguishes letters from numbers. For example, the numbers 0 and 1 need to be distinguishable from capital letters O and I. You can use the following recommended fonts:
    • Georgia
    • Helvetica
    • PT Sans & PT Serif
    • Open Sans
  • Use the normal font weight, rather bold or italics.
  • Use font size of minimum 8 points.
  • Use the following recommended types of barcodes:
    • Code 39
    • Code 128
    • UPC

Recommendations for printing your labels

To make sure that your barcode labels follow the requirements, print your labels using the following recommendations:

  • Use a direct thermal or laser printer because barcodes printed in ink can smear or blur.
  • Print with a resolution of 300 DPI or greater.
  • Avoid printing your barcodes on reflective materials.
  • Print your barcodes in black ink on white labels.
  • Test your labels by scanning them.

Shopify Hardware store has printers that can satisfy SFN barcode printing requirements.

Requirements for specific unit and package labelling

SFN requires labels on each unit of a product and packaging to properly receive your inbound transfers. Learn more about how to package your inbound transfers.

Requirements for unit labels

Requirements for labelling units
Characteristic Requirements
Label size Minimum size is 1.5 inch x 2.5 inch
Barcode size Minimum size is 1 inch x 2 inch
Content
  • SKU name
  • SKU number
Application When you label a unit, follow these requirements:
  • Make sure that each item in a case pack has a barcode.
  • If the product is a regular size, then print directly on the product or apply a label directly on every unit.
  • If the product is a small size, such as jewelry, place products into a storage bag or attach a label tag on each unit, and then apply the label on one of those surfaces.

Requirements for marketing insert labels

Requirements for labelling marketing inserts
Characteristic Requirements
Label size Minimum size is 1.5 inch x 2.5 inch
Barcode size Minimum size is 1 inch x 2 inch
Content
  • SKU name
  • SKU number
  • Quantity of inserts in the bundle
Application When you label a marketing insert, follow these requirements:
  • Make sure that inserts are packaged in a bundle.
  • Apply the label to the top of the marketing insert bundle.
  • Make sure that the barcode label is visible.

Requirements for custom packaging labels

Requirements for labelling custom packaging
Characteristic Requirements
Label size Minimum size is 1.5 inch x 2.5 inch
Barcode size Minimum size is 1 inch x 2 inch
Content
  • SKU name
  • SKU number
Application Print or apply the label directly on each custom package.

Requirements for inner case labels

Requirements for labelling inner cases
Characteristic Requirements
Label size Minimum size is 3.33 inch x 4 inch
Barcode size Minimum size is 1 inch x 2 inch
Content
  • Store name
  • SKU barcode
  • SKU name
  • Quantity of units in the case
Application When you label an inner case, follow these requirements:
  • Make sure each inner case has the correct barcode for the units inside.
  • Cover all other visible barcodes, except for any serial number barcodes.
  • Don't place the barcode on a curve or corner of the package.
  • Allow 0.25 inch between the edge of the label and the edge of the packaging.

Requirements for master carton labels

Requirements for labelling master cartons
Characteristic Requirements
Label size Minimum size is 4 inch x 6 inch
Barcode size Minimum size is 1 inch x 2 inch
Content If there are multiple SKUs in the master carton, then the label should have the following content:
  • Store name
  • Quantity of SKUs
  • Quantity of units
  • Quantity of inner cases
If there is a single SKU in the master carton, then the label should have the following content:
  • Store name
  • Quantity of units
  • SKU name
Application When you label a master carton, follow these requirements:
  • The carrier label, such as UPS or FedEx, must be uncovered so that the label can be scanned.
  • Avoid placing labels over the seam of a box that might be cut by a box cutter.

Requirements for pallet labels

Requirements for labelling pallets
Characteristic Requirements
Label size Minimum size is 4 inch x 6 inch
Barcode size Minimum size is 1.5 inch x 2 inch
Content If there are multiple SKUs in the pallet, then the label should have the following content:
  • Store name
  • Quantity of inner cases
  • Quantity of units
  • Quantity of SKUs
If there is a single SKU in the pallet, then the label should have the following content:
  • Store name
  • Quantity of inner cases
  • Quantity of units
  • Quantity of units in each inner case
  • SKU name
Application When you label a pallet, follow these requirements:
  • Each pallet needs five labels. One label on each side and one on the top of the pallet.
  • Apply the inbound shipment label to each pallet.
  • Place pallet labels upright.
  • If the pallet is wrapped in plastic, then the pallet labels must be placed on the outside of the plastic wrap.

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