Amazon is a global e-commerce marketplace that offers customers an opportunity to buy products online. UPC codes for Amazon help sellers to create their own product listings for these items and then sell them at defined price. Amazon also provides the option for people who want to resell other retailers’ products, which are usually more expensive than what you would find on Amazon’s site, by using one of its third party marketplaces.
But how do you go about buying UPC codes for your Amazon listing? There are three main types of barcodes: GTINs (Global Trade Item Number), UPC codes (Universal Product Code) and EAN codes (International Article Number). This article will help guide you through the process of getting a code in order.
There is only one legitimate company worldwide that produces UPC codes; GS1. GS1 (Global Standard 1) is a non-profit organization that has set the global standard for supply chain barcoding.
GS1 US is an organization that provides UPC codes primarily to US-based businesses, but they are also given by GS1 organizations around the world. The GS1 prefix has a two or three letter code at the beginning of it. Brands can create unique barcodes with these numbers issued to them by GS1.
Learn all about Amazon’s UPC code policies and how to buy a UPC for your products in 2021. We are going to answer following questions in this article:
Table of Contents
What is a GTIN?
A GTIN is a Global Trade Item Number which is used to uniquely identify products and services across the supply chain.
GTINs are globally unique identifiers that have been registered by GSMA in order to ensure that all companies, organizations, governments and other entities use the same codes when referring to different items or parts of an item. The number contains a combination of text and numbers that represent the company or organization for which it was originally assigned.
The GTIN is composed of two parts: The prefix (usually a three-character code) and an item identifier, which may be up to 20 digits long. For example, in the case of Coca Cola’s product “Sprite” you would see the GTIN as “1234-5345”.
GTINs are used to identify specific products and services so that they can be tracked more closely in order to improve product quality, speed up supply chains, facilitate trade compliance and combat counterfeiters.
What are UPC Codes?
UPC codes are a series of 12 digits that is used to identify products for supply chain management. UPCs represent the manufacturer and product number, while EAN numbers (International Article Number) represents the specific item within that brand or company’s line.
The UPC code is composed of 12 digits and looks something like this: 123456789012. The first six digits represent the manufacturer’s ID (unique to that specific brand), while the other six digits correspond with a product or service identifier which helps to differentiate it from other products in the same brand.
The UPC code has two parts: GTIN prefix and product number. The prefix is usually a three-letter code, while the remainder of the 12 digits represent the unique identifier for that specific product or service. For example, if you are trying to find out what UPC corresponds with a can of Coke, the GTIN prefix is “COC”, and the remaining 12 digits represent a unique product number.
The UPC code was introduced in 1973 to help with barcode scanning by computers as well as helping retailers track inventory more efficiently.
This system allows for automatic sorting, categorization and pricing which leads to increased customer satisfaction.
UPC codes can be found on a wide variety of products from books to cereal boxes and are used for more than just cataloging goods at the grocery store. They also keep track of inventories, shipments, deliveries and other logistical information which has helped manufacturers save billions in losses due to lost or mishandled items over the years.
What are EAN Codes?
EAN stands for “European Article Number” but it was expanded in 1996 when adopted as a standard by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It is used to identify products across international borders.
There are two different types of EANs: Company Code and Article Number. The company code corresponds with the manufacturer, while the article number associates that specific product or service as having come from that particular company. This means every item can have a unique EAN number, even if they are created by the same company.
What is an FNSKU?
An FNSKU—or fulfillment network stock keeping unit—is an Amazon-specific number that needs to be affixed on all products shipped to the nearest Amazon warehouse. If you are not using FBA, then this is not necessary, but if you are leveraging a fulfillment network like FBA or other similar retailers with in-house fulfillment services
Amazon offers the use of FNSKU barcodes to distinguish and identify your products. These codes are important for several reasons, most notably because they allow Amazon fulfillment employees to shelf and track inventory by listing it under a single Seller account. The code also allows Seller’s accounts to be credited whenever an order is sold through Amazon, as well
Where to Buy UPC Codes for Amazon
Amazon requires every seller to register a GTIN with each product listing available on their marketplace. For sellers, Amazon offers two options for registering your GS1 and FNSKU. The first option is legitimated UPC codes which can be easily bought from GS1 while the second option is through a resealer (which are not authorized by Amazon)
There are various UPC and EAN resellers who will provide replicated Amazon UPC codes to satisfy the requirement. Many sellers buy their codes from third party websites due to cheaper prices, but using upc code is not a good idea in the long run.
If you don’t purchase your UPC code from GS1 and purchase a cheap replicated UPC code that doesn’t match the information found in the GS1 database, Amazon can remove your listing and potentially suspend your seller account.
Steps to Buying a UPC Code for Amazon
Before buying UPC codes, your need to consider three scenarios:
- You manufacture your own products and need UPC codes for Amazon.
- You’ve ordered products from a supplier and have manufacturer’s codes.
- You’ve ordered products from a supplier but don’t have manufacturer’s codes.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these, since how you get a UPC code differs slightly for each one.
- You need to buy a UPC code for Amazon – If you sell your own products, there are various upc code websites out there and most of them will not work. Chances are that you’ll get a fake UPC which could cause your listings on Amazon to be deleted. A better approach is to apply for and buy UPC codes for Amazon from the GS1 US website.
- You have a manufacturer’s code – You can use UPC codes from suppliers to create listings if you have purchased products from them. Your seller account is automatically set up to use the manufacturer’s number to track inventory for FBA purposes. This setting can be changed at any time depending on whether or not you wish to use FBA.
- You don’t have a manufacturer’s code – Sometimes, your supplier might not provide the UPC code for the manufacturer. In these cases, an Amazon barcode (Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN),) will be required. There might be instances when the products you sell don’t have a UPC code. These products will also require an ASIN. These products fall under this category:
- Products that expire
- Topical products such as creams, shampoos and cosmetics
- Consumable products
- Products without a barcode printed
Amazon’s UPC Code Requirements
Amazon requires specific standards for UPC and/or FNSKU code placement. Once you’ve figured out your guidelines for meeting their requirements, the better set up for long-term success you’ll be.
Previously, if you enrolled your brand in Amazon’s Brand Registry, they would provide you with a GCID (Global Catalog Identifier). With this identifier, amazon replaces the need for UPC codes.
How to add your UPC code to Amazon
Once you have your UPC codes, it’s time to start creating listings on Amazon. You will find a field called “ProductID” on the listing-creation page. This is where your UPC code is entered.
Always remember, unlike other aspects of your listing that you create on your own — like the description and image gallery — you can’t create your own Product ID. To get a barcode approved, you must use one of the channels above. Your listing will be available on Amazon as long as it follows Amazon’s listing guidelines.
Although UPC codes can be confusing for sellers, once you understand their function it is not difficult to obtain codes for your products. These are the most important points to remember:
- You will need a UPC code if you sell on Amazon but your brand is not registered.
- UPC code can be purchased from GS1 or a licensed GS1 reseller.
- You will need to label all your items with an Amazon code or UPC code before you can ship them using Amazon FBA.
- Label your products properly to allow scanning.
These steps will ensure that you can follow Amazon’s UPC codes rules. Happy Selling!