Has someone just sneezed into the alphabet soup, or does the UPC on your GTIN match your ASIN? There can be some confusion when it comes to product identification and barcodes because there are so many letters and numbers floating around. Adding Amazon just adds to the confusion.
We have created an additional guide to discuss how GTINs, UPCs, and Barcodes relate to Amazon – written by Michelle Covey, an official member of the GS1 US team. Here, we explain how to obtain Amazon UPC codes and where to find them.
How do UPCs, GTINS, and ASINs differ?
Let’s clarify a few things first. To help you keep your acronyms straight, here is a glossary of product identification numbers.
GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number
In the international database, this number identifies products. All product databases worldwide are synchronized with these numbers to make verification easier and faster.
Global Standards 1, also known as GS1,
The GTIN database is maintained by this organization.
UPC stands for Universal Product Code
The US and Canada tend to use this type of GTIN with an accompanying barcode.
European Article Number, or EAN
GTINs are another type of identifier, but they are usually used in Europe and the rest of the world.
An ASIN is the standard identifier for Amazon
It is used exclusively on Amazon and is unrelated to GS1 or GTINs. ASNs are mainly used for Amazon’s internal operations and aren’t recognized outside of Amazon, like GTINs are. You can find a product’s ASIN in the description of its Amazon product page or at the end of its URL.
Here is a closer look at their differences and how they impact your business.
Amazon uses UPCs in what ways?
GTINs are required by Amazon for most products. As long as the UPC or EAN is registered with GS1, it is acceptable. As well as verifying the authenticity of products and combatting fraudulent listings, Amazon also uses these numbers to organize products globally.
An ASIN is automatically assigned to your product when it is registered on Amazon. It doesn’t need to be obtained by you.
Reselling products or purchasing them directly from manufacturers should already include the UPC or EAN. However, what if you are selling homemade or private label products? Your choices are:
- You can buy your own UPC (see below)
- Obtain a GTIN exemption from Amazon
GTIN exemptions are designed for products without GTINs or barcodes, either accidentally or due to their homemade nature. Amazon allows you to apply for up to ten different brand names and categories on a single exemption form.
Purchasing your own GTINs or even a GTIN company prefix might be easier if you make your own products for sale under many different brands and categories.
Amazon UPC codes: where can you find them?
Retailers need GTINs just like they need UPCs. Individual UPCs are useful for small businesses who produce their products locally, whereas large companies with multiple factories may prefer buying their own prefix to consolidate hundreds of barcodes. GS1 offers both options.
UPC barcodes have a standard fee of $30 with no renewal fee. In contrast, bulk purchases of UPCs can help you save money if you need a number of them.
Additionally, having a GS1 company prefix allows you to access the GS1 US Data Hub, which provides tools to manage your own data and create barcodes. It comes with an annual renewal fee, so it’s only appropriate for well-established brands that need a lot of barcodes.
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Interested in learning more?
Would you like to know more? For a more comprehensive explanation of product identification numbers, not just limited to Amazon, visit GTINs, UPCs, and Barcodes: Everything You Need to Know.
You can upload a list of UPCs you’re considering selling to MarketScout so that you can get competitive intelligence that will help you make better sourcing decisions.