Amazon requires every seller to register a GTIN with each product listing available on their marketplace. Amazon sellers can either buy legitimized UPC codes directly from GS1 or purchase through a reseller. EAN or European Article Numbers (also called International Article Numbers or IANs) are GS1-issued barcodes that include company prefixes at the beginning of the numeric GTIN. Two primary forms of EANs are popular among Amazon sellers: EAN-13 and EAN-8, which encode a GTIN-13 and GTIN-8, respectively.
If you are unable to add the FNSKU labels yourself, Amazon can affix the labels on sellers’ behalf for a fee. There is no cost associated with the FNSKU numbers themselves.
1. What is a GTIN?
2. What are UPC Codes?
3. What are EAN Codes?
4. Where to Buy Your UPC Codes
5. Steps to Buying a UPC Code
6. Amazon’s UPC Code Requirements
7. What is an FNSKU?
8. When Don’t I Have to Purchase a UPC Code for Amazon?
What is a GTIN?
Again, make sure that your single GTIN or company prefix can be traced back to your business by buying your prefix and Amazon UPC codes directly from GS1. To purchase your UPC codes from GS1, you need to fill out an application on their website.
GS1 lays out 4 steps to buying your UPC code for Amazon.
- UPCs (Unique Product Codes)
- EANs (European Article Numbers)
FNSKU numbers will be automatically generated for your products when you opt to print your shipping labels in Seller Central; a different FNSKU will be issued for every product variation.
If the items you’re selling are in a box or other packaging, you can affix the FNSKU in an easily-identifiable location on the outside of the package. If your item doesn’t include packaging—such as a single t-shirt—the FNSKU can be added to any tags on the item, including the size tag itself.
GTINs can be encoded into different types of barcodes: When a team member at the Amazon fulfillment center receives your shipment, they will scan the FNSKU barcodes to determine which Amazon seller sent the shipped products. Amazon requires that this number be added to every product they’re fulfilling, and that it is easily scannable to streamline the process. The FNSKU is so important because it lets Amazon know which seller to credit when a sale takes place. It also allows Amazon to trace each item back to the Seller of record if there is ever a quality issue, and helps prevent co-mingling of stock. A GTIN is a Global Trade Item Number that identifies individual products – not to be confused with an actual product barcode. GTINs are a combination of GS1 US-issued company prefix numbers and a unique product number, plus a check digit that helps to ensure the GTIN is created correctly.
What are UPC Codes?
As an Amazon seller, it’s important to place your barcode in a place that is visible and scannable.
Last, but definitely not least: put your barcode on your product!
Avoid placing your barcode on the edge of the package, and make sure there’s enough white space around the barcode so it’s scannable. Make sure that the barcodes you use are printed clearly, sized correctly, and match the information on the GS1 database.
There is only one legitimate global producer of UPC codes: GS1. GS1 (Global Standard 1) is a non-profit organization that has set the global standard for supply chain barcoding.
There are various UPC and EAN resellers out there who will try to sell replicated UPC codes to satisfy Amazon’s UPC code requirements. Many sellers purchase their UPC codes from third-party websites due to their cheaper prices — but using resold Amazon UPC codes can cause more harm than good in the long run.
What are EAN Codes?
It’s important to assign each product a unique GTIN, and you must ensure that every variation of an item is assigned a globally unique number.
If you are buying a reseller’s UPC code from a third-party website, that UPC code was probably originally assigned to another company. If those replicated UPC codes belong to another company, Amazon won’t associate your company with your products.
Figure out how many barcodes you’ll need. How many unique products do you have? Each combination of size and color variation needs its own barcode. As illustrated in the graphic below, this means that if you offer an item in 3 different sizes, and each size is available in 3 different colors, you would need 9 barcodes—one for each size and color combination. You can use GS1’s barcode estimator to get a more accurate picture.
“We verify the authenticity of product UPCs by checking the GS1 database. UPCs that do not match the information provided by GS1 will be considered invalid. We recommend obtaining your UPCs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling UPC licenses) to ensure the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database.”
The first six to nine digits of your barcode are your company prefix. The company prefix is a unique identifier of the product’s manufacturer. As a supplier, your company prefix will remain the same on each barcode for all of your different products. Each product that you offer will then be assigned a unique product code that follows your company prefix.
Where to Buy UPC Codes for Amazon
The bottom line – since GS1 is the creator of the GTIN system, they are the only legitimate resource to check barcode validity.
The next step is to assign your products unique product numbers, aka GTINs.
If you haven’t packaged or designed your labels for your product, you can obtain a digital barcode file directly from GS1 to incorporate it into the packaging and labeling of your product.
Amazon has specific requirements for sellers when it comes to UPC and/or FNSKU code placement. The easier you make it for FBA warehouses to accept, process, and track your inventory, the better set up for success you’ll be.
Keep in mind, in most Amazon categories, sellers are required to use a separate UPC for multi-pack products, and they must also indicate the ” item package quantity ” when listing multi-packs. Product bundles (aka Amazon product bundling) are composed of different products (not multiples of the same product) and each bundle requires its own unique UPC (or EAN). For more info, check out Amazon’s Product Bundling Policy and How Products are Defined.
Keep reading for everything you need to know about Amazon’s UPC code policies and how to buy UPC codes for Amazon in 2021.
As an Amazon seller, you should already be familiar with UPC codes and what they entail. Amazon requires sellers to have unique product codes (also called UPC codes) to list their products.
How to Buy a UPC Code for Amazon
Jump to a section below:
Step 1: Determine if you should buy a single GTIN or apply for a GS1 company prefix
GS1 US is the organization that provides UPC codes to US-based businesses, but there are more than 100 GS1 organizations around the world. GS1 issues unique prefixes to brand owners so that they can create their own unique barcodes with the prefix number given to them by GS1.
— Nancy Hebert, Senior Specialist, Marketplace Operations at Tinuiti