If you're a seasoned Shopify veteran I can virtually tell you all you'll need to know in just one sentence:
Every product and product variant will need to have a unique SKU and UPC assigned in Shopify, and each physical product will need to be labeled with a barcode that matches the UPC assigned to the item.
That's it! With that done you'll be ready to begin scanning orders.
For those less familiar with variants and UPC codes, the rest of this article will go into detail on the how and the why. Don't worry, it's easy peasy, grab some coffee and jump right in:
GroovePacker Lite utilizes your existing Shopify catalog to determine which UPC (barcode value) should be expected for each SKU. Ultimately, once all of the products you're selling have a Name, SKU and barcode assigned in Shopify, you're ready to begin scanning, but one item that is often overlooked, is how product variants, (ie. various sizes and colors of an item), must be handled. Product variants are treated as totally separate items when it comes to accounting, inventory and QC purposes. For this reason it's important that each variant be assigned a unique SKU and UPC.
In Shopify any number of variants can be added to a product. The most common variants are Size and Color. A SKU and UPC should be saved for every possible combination: Large Blue, Small Blue, Extra Small Blue, Large Red, Small Red, etc.
After clicking Edit beside a variant we can see if it has a barcode assigned. If you'll be printing barcodes and labeling the products, the barcode value can be anything you like. What is saved here in Shopify always needs to match what the scanner sends when the barcode on the product is scanned. In other words, the barcode on the product is just this value "encoded" into a barcode format.
Products Already barcoded?
If your products are already barcoded, then you'll want to be sure that the value here matches that the scanner "types" when the barcode on the product is scanned. For small product catalogs, you may find it easiest to just open each variant, put the cursor in the Barcode field, and scan the barcode to save it.
For larger catalogs, you'll likely want to import the barcode data using Shopify's CSV import option if you have your barcodes available in a spreadsheet.
If you're not sure how many items have a UPC saved, you can get a quick overview of all the product data by exporting it to a CSV or XLS file and viewing it in Google Sheets, Excel, or similar. Any time you are working with barcode values in a spreadsheet it is important that you let the app know that the barcode column contains "text" rather than numbers. Selecting the "text" data type will prevent leading 0's from being dropped and prevent barcodes from being converted to scientific notation. More on this here.
Creating Barcodes from scratch?
If you've never used barcodes before and your products will need to be labeled with the barcodes you create, the setup will look a little different. Since the barcode value can be anything you like most businesses will use the SKU as the barcode. This is the best option unless you know that you'll need registered barcodes for your distributors. When using Alphanumeric SKUs as the barcode be sure that all SKUs are uppercase as mixed case barcodes can cause headaches later.
If every product and variant already has a SKU, then all that remains is to copy the SKU field and Paste it into the barcode field. If some products or variants are missing SKUs those will need to be added manually or if you have a large catalog I recommend using an app like Multi-Label barcodes.
Once each item (and variant) that you sell in Shopify has a unique SKU and UPC assigned, your product setup is complete. If all of your physical products have UPC codes on them you're ready to begin scanning. If not, each will need to be barcoded.
If you'll be generating product barcode labels yourself there are many software options ranging from free sites to paid apps. Testing your product barcodes is easy. If you place your cursor in a text doc, like an email, or notepad, and scan the barcode, the value that is typed out should match (exactly) the value you have saved for the UPC in shopify. If it does, it will work perfectly with GroovePacker Lite.