Announcing expanded barcode lookups via an API

Forget other UPC databases. This is the best one you’ll ever use

Semantics3    2 mins

Announcing Expanded UPC and Barcode Lookup

Forget other UPC databases. This is the best one you’ll ever use.

A long time ago, we wrote a lengthy rant about the issues plaguing the humble barcode and why the barcode isn’t as straightforward as you’d think it’d be as a unique product identifier.

That being said, barcodes are an incredibly important part of our database as definitive pointers to unique products. Their value cannot be understated — many of our customers’ apps utilize barcode scanners as a convenient method of pulling up the latest pricing and product information.

Which is why we decided to go back to the drawing board and design a brand new capability for our flagship product, the UPC API.

Our goal was to re-design the UPC lookup query in our API and configure it to return something relevant, regardless of whether that particular UPC data existed in our database.

This is important, because even if product data or pricing is missing for a UPC, being able to return structured data in some form is still incredibly useful for people trying to run a simple UPC lookup via their barcode scanner

How a typical UPC query is run in the Semantics Product API

In order to do this, we decided to build out an additional web-based, on-demand UPC data scraper that is activated when the initial UPC query does not return results:

The brand new expanded UPC lookup function

If an initial UPC query does not return results from vast database, a secondary, web-based on-demand crawl is activated. If that UPC is available online, our scrapers go into action and mine data from any website that is likely to have that UPC. This is optimized to return a minimum set of data fields.

Additionally, as we receive more information about which sites provide the best matches for UPCs, we will index these websites and make that data available in the API. This will increase data richness for queried UPCs over time, while bringing in additional data value-add inclduing deduplication, and product matching.

This feature is particularly suited for barcode scanning apps that wish to improve customer experiences by returning at least one data field when performing a UPC lookup. Logistics and shipping companies would find this highly useful in pulling product data for filling out customs declarations and shipping manifests

What does this mean?

Epic stuff, that’s what it is.

This basically means that if your UPC is available online, we would be able to get that data for you via our UPC API. If your UPC is hiding in some obscure part of the internet, we will find it and bring it to you, neatly wrapped in structured form.

The expanded UPC search is now available for beta use by customers on our Enterprise plan.

Interested in our Expanded UPC API? Book a demo!

Published at: July 07, 2015

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