When selling online, you need a way to keep track of your products. For example, if you sell your goods on your website, you can easily implement a barcoding system for tracking purposes. However, that might not be the case if you are selling on specific platforms, like Amazon.
If you’ve sold on Amazon before, you know how important UPC codes are. Amazon requires their sellers to use these codes to sell their products, but you’ll purchase the UPC codes through GS1 (Global Standard 1).
Since UPC codes are such an important part of selling on Amazon, there are certain things you’ll need to know about buying them in 2021.
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GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number. This number isn’t a barcode, but it does identify an individual product. GTINs include a GS1 prefix number, a product number, and an extra digit. Although these are not UPCs, they can be encoded into a UPC or EAN barcode.
If you have a product with multiple variations, you’ll need to use a separate UPC and GTIN since each individual product needs a unique number.
About UPC Codes
UPC stands for Unique Product Codes. They are composed of 12 digits and are used to identify different products. In many cases, they have a barcode alongside them, allowing for quick scanning with special readers.
These barcodes are most commonly used in the US and Canada, and other countries tend to use EANs instead. However, this doesn’t indicate that the product was made within the US or Canada.
The UPC system stores many different types of data tied to a product. It can include the product’s brand, what it is, its dimensions, and other relevant information. This makes it extremely easy for companies like Amazon to keep track of what product is inside any package and significantly speed up the whole sales process.
About EAN Codes
EANs or IANs (European Article Numbers or International Article Numbers) are similar to UPCs, but they can be either 8 digits (EAN-8) or 13 digits (EAN-13) and are primarily used outside of the US and Canada. These are still GS1 barcodes and have prefixes before the numeric GTIN.
Although sellers outside of the US typically use EANs, it doesn’t mean that the product was made there.
Where to Buy UPC Codes
The best place to get a UCP is from GS1, or Global Standard 1. This is a trusted supplier that Amazon not only recognizes, but relies on for their database. It’s a great idea to get your UPCs from here for many reasons, but if nothing else, it’ll save you trouble in the long run.
You can purchase from a reseller, but you run the risk of getting UPC that doesn’t match what GS1 and Amazon have in their database. If this happens, Amazon has the right to take down your listing, and you could face possible suspension as a seller.
How to Buy UPC Codes
First, you’ll go to the GS1 website. Next, you’ll get your company prefix, which can range anywhere from six to ten digits. If you need multiple UPCs, that number will be shorter.
After that, you’ll generate a product number that follows the prefix, and its length will depend on how long the prefix code is. For example, if your company code is nine digits long, your product code will only be two digits. The last remaining digit will be the check digit.
Once you have the UPCs made, you can either print them yourself to put on your products or send a digital file to the manufacturers to have them put it on the products for you.
Amazon’s Requirements for UPC Codes
If you sell on Amazon, you’ll need to have a UPC for each product that doesn’t have one yet. This is especially true if your brand is not registered with Amazon or if you are selling a brand new product. Keep in mind that you can use your own UPC or choose to use an Amazon barcode, but you will need to have one on any product you sell.
Amazon used to allow you to use the GCID that came with the Brand Registry in place of a UPC or EAN, but now, you will need one of these in order to sell on Amazon. The easier it is for FBA warehouses to take care of your orders, the better.
UPCs can be a little confusing at first, but once you start using this system, it will become much easier to understand. That said, if you have yet to implement UPCs into your products when selling on Amazon, you should do so right away. This ensures that you comply with Amazon’s rules and regulations and that your products are properly tracked from warehousing to your customers’ front doors.
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