Amazon GTIN Product ID Requirements
Amazon requires its suppliers to use product identifiers based on global standards, such as UPC and ISBN (books). Their product categories dictate the designated type of product identifier (Product ID) which must be entered when adding new product pages and listings. Most product categories require a GTIN Product ID based on the GS1 global standards. A UPC is the most common type of GTIN.
Amazon GTIN Product ID requirements:
ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number)
An ASIN is a proprietary number Amazon uses to identify every item they offer in their catalog and is generated when a new product listing is being created. Regardless if an item has a standardized identifier, such as a UPC or ISBN, the 10-digit numeric ASIN is always provided by Amazon. The ASIN is the foundation of Amazon’s product catalog structure and is NOT used by any other marketplace.
GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)
GTIN describes a family of global data structures that employ 14 digits and can be encoded into various types of data carriers. For Amazon, a GTIN is only an umbrella term to describe varying types of numbering strings, such as UPC, EAN, and ISBN. For North American companies, the UPC is an existing form of the GTIN for product identification. Books typically are identified with an ISBN.
GS1 – Global Standards
GS1 is the global standards organization for product identification. Every country has its own local GS1 office which licenses GS1 Company Prefixes and/or GTINs. In the US, the local office GS1 US. It is important to note that GS1 is not a government body. GS1 creates the global standards by which different industries and trading partners may use uniquely assigned GTINs. GS1 does not provide any assignment support or the actual .eps barcode files. but rather offers educational and certification classes.
UPC, EAN, and JAN : Product Identifiers
In the US, the product identifier (GTIN) is typically referred to as a UPC (Universal Product Code). This twelve-digit number is comprised of a Company Prefixe licensed by GS1, an item number, and a check digit. Japan’s GS1 office licenses Company Prefix for what they refer to as a JAN, which is a Japanese Article Number. All other countries refer to their product identifiers as EANs (European Article Numbers). UPCs, EANs, and JANs are all product GTIN identifiers and the only difference is that the UPC is 12 digits whereas JANs and EANs are 13 total digits.
Valid UPCs – Amazon’s Definition
Amazon recognized they made a horrible mistake by not enforcing legitimately obtained UPC barcodes and many unsuspecting suppliers bought discounted UPCs from online reseller websites. In 2016, they started communicating the importance of a brand licensed Company Prefix and in July of 2019 they took even more aggressive action with the following notice on the Seller Central website.
Despite the warnings and notices, many very successful companies on Amazon are just now having their product listings deactivated for not using a Company correctly licensed o their brand (company). This was a recent post on Seller Central.
Related Post: The Ramifications of Cheap UPC Barcodes
Barcode US – Bar Code Graphics
Since the first UPC, Bar Code Graphics has provided the original barcode artwork and assignment support. Today, over 100,000 members receive certified .eps barcode files and 1 year of support from an assigned consultant. Since GS1 is solely the standards agency that assigns Prefixes/GTIN, Bar Code Graphics provides coordination and implementation support. As of 2022, members receive access to GTIN.cloud which is a global repository to manage assignments and image links.
Amazon GTIN Product ID FAQ’s
Are suppliers required to have UPC or ISBN barcodes for items/books being sold on Amazon?
YES! In order to set-up items in Amazon’s brand registry, users are required to enter a UPC number (general merchandise) and an ISBN (for books) as part of the item set-up procedure. NOTE: There are some exemptions to the UPC/ISBN requirement, refer to Amazon’s UPC/ISBN Exemption policy if you believe your company does not need a UPC/ISBN product identifier.
Does Amazon have a GTIN Exemption Policy?
Yes! Amazon does have a GTIN exemption workaround for FBA warehouse fulfillment involving certain types of product categories and companies. It is important to note that the Amazon GTIN exemption is a short-term strategy to get your non-barcoded products listed on Amazon. Companies who intend to build lasting brands in the future, and sell on other marketplaces or physical stores, should properly obtain GS1 UPC barcodes that identify their products to their brand. Click Here To Learn About the Amazon GTIN Exemption
Does Amazon allow suppliers to use UPC barcode numbers obtained from a UPC Reseller?
As of May 2016 the answer is NO, UPC barcode numbers from UPC Resellers are NOT ALLOWED. Amazon revised the UPC section on Amazon Seller Central that explicitly states ‘Amazon requires sellers to obtain ‘valid’ UPC’s from the GS1 and further states that Amazon will confirm UPC barcodes are registered to their sellers and not 3rd parties.’ We have worked with several Amazon suppliers who reported that during the item set-up procedure, Amazon flagged their UPC numbers for either of the following reasons:
- – UPC Numbers were already being used by a different supplier
- – UPC numbers were not issued to supplier being set-up.
In every case, Amazon required the supplier to license a UPC Company Prefix from the GS1. Click Here for GS1 UPC Barcodes. Suppliers who need UPC barcodes to set up items on Amazon should contact us to discuss available options.