Do you think someone just sneezed in their alphabet soup, since your GTIN matches your ASIN? There are a lot of numbers and letters thrown around when it comes to product identification and barcodes. The addition of Amazon adds to that confusion.
The GS1 US team decided to create a separate guide on GTINs, UPCs, and Barcodes to complement the one we wrote about GTINs, UPCs, and Barcodes last month. Michelle Covey, a member of the GS1 US team, wrote the guide. You can find out where to get Amazon UPC codes below.
Describe the differences between UPCs, GTINS, and ASINs.
Let me first clarify something. This glossary will help you understand product identification numbers in case you’re unfamiliar with them.
Global Trade Item Numbers
In the official international database, this number identifies the product. All product databases are synchronized by these numbers to speed up verification and reference.
Global Standard 1 (GS1)
The GTIN database is maintained by this international organization.
UPC stands for Universal Product Code
GTINs with barcodes are mostly used in the US and Canada.
There are two types of EANs: European and American
GTINs are another type of barcode, although they are used mostly in Europe and the rest of the world.
An ASIN, or Amazon Standard Identification Number, identifies a product on Amazon
GS1 and GTIN are not affiliated with this product identification number. Unlike GTINs, ASINs are mostly for Amazon’s own internal use and are not recognized outside of Amazon. Amazon’s ASIN is listed in a product’s description or at the end of its URL.
We can explore these differences further by examining how they affect your business.
Amazon uses UPCs in what ways?
Most Amazon products require a GTIN. As long as it’s registered by GS1 it can be either a UPC or EAN. The numbers are used by Amazon to verify products’ authenticity and combat fraudulent listings, but they are also useful for organizing products internationally.
An ASIN is automatically assigned to your product once it is registered on Amazon. Obtaining it isn’t necessary.
You should already have the UPC or EAN if you are reselling or selling directly from the manufacturer. When you sell homemade or private label products, what should you do? Usually, there are two options:
You can buy your own UPC (see below)
Exemption from Amazon GTIN application
Individual products without GTINs or barcodes are exempt from the requirement for GTINs, either because of the fault of the manufacturer or because of home-made nature. GTIN exemptions on Amazon are based on brands and categories; you can apply for up to 10 different combinations of brands and categories on a single form.
It might be easier to purchase your own GTIN or even a GTIN company prefix if you manufacture or mass-produce your own products to be sold under many different brands and categories.
Amazon UPC codes: where can you find them?
Each retailer needs GTINs, just like UPCs. Companies with multiple factories might want to consolidate hundreds of barcodes with their own prefix, while small companies that make their own products locally might be interested in individual UPCs. GS1 offers both options.
An individual UPC barcode costs $30 without renewal fees. You can, however, get a discount if you buy in bulk if you require several UPCs.
The GS1 US Data Hub contains tools that let you create your own barcodes and manage your own product data, among other perks of using a GS1 company prefix. There is a yearly fee associated with this, so it’s only appropriate for established brands with a large number of barcodes to print.
Interested in learning more?
Are you still unsure? For a more comprehensive explanation of product identification numbers, including those not limited to Amazon, check out GTINs, UPCs, and Barcodes: Everything You Need to Know.
MarketScout lets you upload a list of UPCs you are considering selling, so you can get the competitive information you need for better sourcing decisions.