Are you ready to take on the world of e-commerce and start selling on Amazon? Buckle up, because one of the most important things you’ll need to do is get familiar with the Universal Product Code (UPC) system. Not only is it crucial to keep Amazon’s inventory organized, but it’s also the key to your own long-term success.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the ins and outs of how to buy Amazon UPC codes so you can start selling like a pro. 

 

What are UPC Codes?

UPC Codes

Universal Product Codes (UPC codes) are a 12-digit number that is represented by a black-and-white barcode that is unique to every single listed product. They’re just like the barcodes found on your everyday grocery store items, however, they play an essential role in selling products on platforms like Amazon and eBay.

Amazon sells over 20 million products per day and a staggering 353 million products when we consider third-party sellers). It’s clear to see just how crucial Amazon UPC codes are to your daily operations. These codes allow Amazon to identify and differentiate between millions of similar products to ensure smooth shipping and logistics for your business.

By utilizing Amazon UPC codes, online shoppers can easily search to find the products they desire on the platform. For sellers, it’s necessary to fill in the code in the “Product ID” field when creating a new listing. While there are other codes in the marketplace (such as ASIN, EAN, and GTIN), UPC is the most widely used and acknowledged product identification method.

 

How exactly does the UPC system work? 

So, how exactly does the UPC system work? 

A UPC code consists of two key parts: a company prefix and a product number. The company prefix is a unique code that is specifically assigned to a company by the GS1 organization. For the second part, the product number is assigned by you as the Amazon Seller.

When these two elements combine, you get a distinct barcode that is used to identify and represent a specific product. This code can then be scanned by a barcode reader, allowing retailers (like Amazon) to easily track the inventory and manage stock. 

 

What is the difference between UPC-A, UPC-C and EAN?

There are two widely used codes that sellers and marketplaces use around the world: UPC and EAN (European Article Number). Amazon UPC codes are used for product identification in the US and Canada while EAN codes are used in other countries.

There are two main types of UPCs – UPC-A and UPC-E. UPC-A is a 12-digit number, while UPC-E is an 8-digit number that removes all leading zeros. In comparison to EAN (European Article Number), they also use company prefixes at the beginning of the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number), with 13 digits represented as an EAN-13, and 8 digits represented as an EAN-8 code.

Both UPC codes and EAN codes are relevant when it comes to inventory control, product identification and ordering processes on websites like the Amazon Marketplace.

 

What are the benefits of using Amazon UPC Codes?

One of the primary benefits is that Amazon UPC codes allow for more effective inventory management, making it easier to track stock levels and restock in a timely manner. This results in reduced stockouts and lowers potential lost sales.

In addition, Amazon UPC codes can help to prevent counterfeits and protect trademarks. Because each UPC code is unique to a product, it makes it more difficult for counterfeiters to replicate the exact same code. This can help Amazon sellers protect the intellectual property of brand owners and lead to higher levels of trust among customers.

Amazon UPC codes also allow for more accurate tracking and reporting of sales data. This data can be used to monitor product performance, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions about pricing, marketing, and more.

Overall, the benefits of having UPC codes for products on Amazon are far-reaching and extend beyond just the marketplace. They improve inventory management, combat counterfeiting, protect trademarks, and provide valuable sales data. In short, investing in Amazon UPC codes is a smart choice for any seller looking to succeed on Amazon and gain an edge over the competition.

 

Where To Get UPC Codes

If you’re looking to purchase Amazon UPC codes, it is crucial to make sure that they are fully compliant and adhere to Amazon’s standards. While there are many online marketplaces offering UPC codes at low prices, be careful as some could be non-compliant or even fake.

To avoid issues and ensure authenticity, it is recommended to purchase codes directly from GS1. GS1 is an international non-profit organization dedicated to providing global standards for business communication. They are most commonly known for their product identification and barcode system, which is used by companies around the world.

GS1 is trusted as a reliable source of Amazon UPC codes, as they have developed strict criteria to ensure all codes are compliant with industry standards. When purchasing UPC codes from GS1 or an authorized reseller, you can trust that the codes will be legitimate and approved by Amazon.

As part of its efforts to strengthen its verification process, Amazon has updated its policy on Amazon UPC codes, requiring all Amazon UPC codes to be verified and authenticated against the database provided by GS1. This is done to ensure the authenticity of each code and protect sellers from listing counterfeit products. In the event of a mismatch or misuse of a UPC code, the listing will not be accepted and may be removed. 

 

Step-By-Step Guide For Buying UPC Codes

The process of buying Amazon UPC codes from GS1 is a simple and straightforward process.

1. Go to GS1 US Official Website

2. Select the type of UPC code you need.

GS1 US offers two options – either a GS1 US GTIN or a GS1 Company Prefix

As a rule of thumb, if you need one or less than 9 codes, meaning you’re selling very few products with not many varieties , then consider GS1 US GTIN. If you will be selling multiple products with multiple colors and variations, you will need to buy GS1 prefixes. 

Example:

  • If you make a blouse with three sizes and three colors

Then that means 3 colors x 3 sizes = 9 barcodes total

  • If that blouse comes in three style variations, three colors, and three sizes

Then that’s 3 style variations x 3 colors x 3 sizes= 27 barcodes total

  • AND if they can also be sold as part of three packages

Then that means 3 style variations x 3 colors x 3 sizes x 3 packages= 81 barcodes total

To make things easier, the Barcode Estimator can help you decide which one is best for your product line and how many barcodes you need. It also tells you if your product is eligible for the GS1 US GTIN. 

 

3. Add your quantities to your cart and checkout.

If you’re buying GS1 US GTIN,  here’s what you should do:

  1. On the GS1 US GTIN page, enter the Brand Name associated with the GTIN/barcode in the right field. This will be listed as the brand name associated with the product in the GTIN Registry.
  2. Enter the Product Description associated with the GTIN/barcode that should appear in the GS1 database. The Product Description helps retailers and marketplaces to know more about your product.
  3. Repeat for every GTIN you want to add to your cart. If you need more than 9 GTINs, consider licensing a GS1 Company Prefix instead.

When you’re done adding all desired GTINs, click on the cart icon in the upper right-hand corner of the screen to complete your checkout. Be sure to provide your full legal company name during checkout – this is the name that gets registered with each of your GTINs. 

On the other hand, if you’re buying GS1 Company Prefixes:

  1. On the GS1 Company Prefix page, choose the number of items that need a barcode – this is your prefix capacity.
  2. Add the prefix to the cart. You can add more than one prefix if necessary.
  3. Use the cart options on the right side of the page to begin checkout.
  4. During checkout, you will be asked whether or not you will be using this prefix for medical devices.

The initial fee for GS1 Membership will be charged at the start. An annual renewal fee is required to maintain access to all member resources and continue using your prefix and barcodes.

 

How To Generate Your UPC Codes

To generate an Amazon UPC code for your product, you must first become a member of GS1 US which will provide you with a unique six-digit GS1 Company Prefix as instructed above. 

You, the seller, will then add a five-digit number to this prefix that uniquely identifies your product, after which a check digit is added to make sure the GTIN is correctly generated. 

This 12-digit number is the unique GTIN for your product and can be used to create the scannable UPC code.

 

How Much Are UPC Codes?

For a single product, you can purchase a GS1 US GTIN for $30. For products with multiple units or variations, the recommended option is to purchase a GS1 Company Prefix following the pricing guide below:

How Much Are UPC Codes?

*These rates may change without prior notice.

 

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are UPCs Really Required For Selling on Amazon?

Yes and No. Amazon has a detailed set of rules that sellers must follow to ensure accurate and complete product listings. One of these rules mandates the use of Amazon UPC codes on all product listings.

By requiring sellers to use UPC codes, Amazon can maintain a standardized product catalog that makes it easier for customers to find what they’re looking for. Additionally, using Amazon UPC codes allows Amazon to track inventory, reduce listing errors, combat counterfeits, and provide a better overall customer experience. These benefits make Amazon UPC codes an essential requirement for sellers wishing to succeed on the Amazon platform.

 

Know that this rule is not absolute. 

Some sellers can be exempt from this requirement through a GTIN exemption. There are several scenarios where you might want to apply for a GTIN exemption, such as if your product manufacturer or brand does not provide a GTIN or if you sell unique, handmade or private-label products in very small quantities. Perhaps you sell product parts, like automotive or mobile accessories, that don’t have a GTIN, or maybe you sell bundled packs or generic, unbranded products. If your seller profile and portfolio fit any of these scenarios, then a GTIN exemption could be a solution for you.

 

How To Apply For GTIN Exemption?

To apply for a GTIN exemption, simply go to Seller Central and fill out an online form with the details of your product. Amazon will then assess your eligibility and if approved, you’ll be asked to submit product photos as proof. 

Within 48 hours, you’ll receive the final decision via email. So if you’re looking to list products on Amazon, but don’t have or can’t obtain a UPC code, a GTIN exemption might just be the solution you need.

 

Do Resellers Need Amazon UPC Codes?

Yes, if you are looking to resell a product on Amazon, you will need an Amazon UPC code for each product. UPC codes are issued by GS1 and are used for product identification in the US and Canada. Without a UPC code, Amazon won’t allow you to list your product unless you have GTIN Exemption.

 

My Products Are Already Listed on Amazon. Do I Still Need A UPC Code?

Yes. It’s important to have a UPC code for your product so that it can be properly tracked and processed through Amazon’s system. This also helps to reduce the chances of your product being wrongly identified with another seller’s product.

 

How Many UPC Codes Do I Need Per Product?

Each product listing on Amazon requires its own unique UPC code. This means that if you are selling multiple variations of the same product (such as different sizes or colors), each one will require its own individual UPC code. As an example, if you’re selling a hat with five different colors, you need five unique Amazon UPC codes. 

 

Does my UPC barcode need to be printed on my product packaging?

While the physical UPC barcode does not necessarily need to be printed on your product packaging, the FNSKU barcode derived from your UPC is required to be printed on each unit of your product that is being sent to an Amazon fulfillment center. 

This FNSKU barcode ensures that Amazon can accurately identify and track your product throughout the logistics process, from receiving to shipping to the customer. Therefore, having a UPC code and properly labeling your product with the corresponding FNSKU barcode is crucial for selling on Amazon.

 

In Summary

Amazon requires all products to have a unique UPC code to facilitate efficient and smooth operations of the marketplace. By investing in a UPC code, sellers can provide a unique identifier for their products, increase discoverability, streamline inventory management, and provide better customer service. Amazon UPC codes also allow for effective tracking of products during shipping and protect trademarks from counterfeiters. 

With the Amazon marketplace becoming increasingly competitive, having a UPC code for all products is a valuable investment for sellers who want to achieve maximum sales potential and improve the overall customer experience on Amazon. However, obtaining Amazon UPC codes and managing product onboarding can be a time-consuming task. 

Fortunately, Lab 916’s Amazon Specialists are available to handle this process on behalf of the sellers. With Lab 916’s Amazon Product Listing Services, Sellers can have a worry-free and optimized Amazon experience as the team takes care of the entire product onboarding process, allowing them to focus on other aspects of their business.

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