Electronic Product Codes

Walmart uses electronic product code (EPC) labels in its U.S. stores and in select international markets to make sure the products you want are available when you need them. An EPC label is a lot like a bar code. It contains information about a product and assigns a unique number to each item, allowing retailers to distinguish one item from another.

EPC helps us serve you better

We use EPC to help improve our inventory in our stores. We want to make sure the right products are on the shelves when you need them, and this technology gives us an accurate count of what is in stock in a matter of seconds. For example, in our apparel department, we use EPC to ensure we have the right styles, sizes and colors on the shelves when you want them.

Because we can manage our inventory more efficiently, EPC helps Walmart maintain our price advantage and fulfill our mission to help people save money so they can live better.

How EPC labels work

EPC is the next generation of bar codes and works through the use of radio frequency identification (RFID) – a technology that has been around since the 1940s. If you have a remote keyless entry device for your car or a toll way tag, you’re already using RFID.

EPC labels used in retail are passive, which means they don’t emit any signal on their own. The labels contain nothing more than a unique number to identify the merchandise. We use special readers that prompt the label to send its electronic product code back to the reader. Additionally, we don’t have to see the labels in order to read them as we do with bar codes. This means we can count thousands of items in seconds and know which products are out of stock.

Identify products that have EPC labels

The EPC label is typically part of the product packaging or on the price tag. It's easy to find products that use this technology. Just look for the EPC symbol.

Walmart is committed to protecting your privacy

Walmart is committed to protecting your privacy. EPC labels do not contain, collect or link to any personal information. We do not track labels after merchandise is purchased and leaves the store. After purchasing a product, you can discard the EPC label simply by removing the packaging or tag, or you can destroy the label by cutting it in half.

Walmart is a charter member of EPCglobal, an organization that champions the highest standards for the use of EPC. We have asked our suppliers to clearly display the EPCglobal symbol on every item that contains an EPC label.

If you have questions, please contact us.