Thursday, April 18, 2024

Amazon Product Barcodes / UPC Codes: What, Why, and How?

Amazon’s colossal marketplace is built upon a foundation of accuracy and efficiency, and at the heart of this system lies the utilization of product barcodes. Amazon leverages these unique identification numbers to ensure seamless order processing, inventory management, and product listing on the platform.

However, many Amazon sellers often get confused about the necessity and importance of Amazon product barcodes or UPC codes. So, this guide will delve into the significance of the Amazon product barcode, covering all the basics you need to know about.

What is the Amazon Product Barcode?

Amazon product barcode, commonly referred to as Amazon UPC (Universal Product Code) code, is a standardized code used to identify products in Amazon’s vast marketplace.

This code consists of a series of digits that provide crucial product information, including product name, manufacturer, and other relevant details, upon a single scan. They serve as a digital fingerprint for the product.

The barcode simplifies the task for sellers during the listing process. For instance, they can input the barcode, and the Amazon barcode scanner automatically retrieves and displays the item associated with it.

Amazon Barcode Anatomy

The 12-digit Amazon barcode contains crucial information in 3 distinct parts, as follows:

  1. The initial part identifies the product’s manufacturer, essentially serving as the manufacturer’s signature.
  2. The middle part conveys the details of the product itself, including its size, type, and other relevant specifications.
  3. The last digit, known as the check digit, is randomly generated and automatically calculated. Its purpose is to verify the code’s accuracy.

This three-part barcode structure ensures that it also maintains data security and reliability besides identifying the manufacturer and the product.

Types of Amazon Barcodes

Amazon uses 3 different types of barcodes to identify the products. These include:

  1. Manufacturer Barcodes: Manufacturer barcodes typically include EAN (European Article Number), UPC (Universal Product Code), JAN (Japanese Article Number), and ISBN (International Standard Book Number). You can use these barcodes if your product is already labeled with one of these.
  2. Amazon Barcodes: Amazon provides its own set of barcodes called FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit). The platform generates these barcodes, which are unique to Amazon. You can use them when listing products on Amazon, essentially when bundling items or creating a new listing.
  3. Transparency Authenticity Code: Transparency codes are specific to brand owners and are produced to prevent counterfeit products. All sellers don’t require it, but it might be needed if you’re a brand owner seeking to ensure your products’ authenticity. Transparency codes are a part of the platform’s anti-counterfeiting efforts.

Amazon Product Barcode Benefits

Amazon UPC codes or product barcodes allow the platform to streamline various aspects of its operations. These include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Product Listing: It allows sellers to use barcodes to list their products accurately. By entering the barcode number during product listing, the platform displays the product information, making it convenient for customers and sellers.
  • Inventory Management: Amazon product barcodes allow sellers to quickly track inventory levels in the fulfillment centers. Each product with its unique barcode makes it easy to manage stock levels and ensure products are available for customers.
  • Product Identification: Barcodes make product identification a breeze in Amazon’s high-volume fulfillment centers. This makes up for efficient picking, packing, and shipping. What’s more, it becomes easier to track products when they are in the process of shipping. 
  • Order processing: The platform uses the product barcodes to identify the right products when customers place an order. This eliminates the likelihood of errors in order fulfillment.

Why Amazon UPC Codes are Necessary?

Amazon UPC codes are an integral part of doing business on the platform. First, they help identify each unique product. Secondly, you are required to fill out the Amazon Product ID section while creating a new product listing. Hence, there’s no escaping it, and you’ll need to enter the Amazon product barcode to ensure product listing.

Although EAN, ASIN, and GTIN are other code options, UPC is more compatible with the platform. Here are two other reasons the Amazon barcode is essential:

  1. Compliance with Amazon Policies: Amazon has specific requirements for product listings, and using a legitimate product barcode ensures adherence to these policies. It is worth remembering that the platform checks each item’s code against the database provided by GS1, the only UPC code provider. Using duplicated or incorrect codes can lead to product removal or, even worse, account suspension.
  2. Better Searchability: Product listings with UPC code help with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Simply put, customers can easily find these products on the platform, boosting your chance of driving more sales.

In short, having valid Amazon UPC codes is critical to list products on Amazon.

How to Get UPC Code for Amazon Products?

Obtaining a UPC code for your Amazon products is straightforward if you follow the right steps. Here’s how you can get one:

1. Create a GTIN

Firstly, you cannot generate your own code. Instead, you have to refer to GS1, an organization responsible for assigning UPCs and maintaining standards for product identification worldwide.

  • The process begins with creating a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). It is an essential part of the UPC code structure and serves as a corresponding numeric identifier.
  • Visit the GS1 website to start the application process. Remember that GS1 operates in several countries, so make sure you visit GS1 US.
  • You’d need to write your brand name and the description associated with the product in the boxes on the right side. The product description helps marketplaces learn more about your product.
  • You are required to pay $30 to get a GTIN

2. Assign the Code to Your Products

  • Assign UPCs to your products individually. Each item variation (color, size, etc.) requires a unique barcode.
  • You can create a list of your products and assign them UPCs accordingly. GS1 provides a UPC management tool to monitor your UPC assignments.

3. Generate UPC Barcodes

  • A check digit is included in the 11-digit number to ensure the GTIN was generated accurately.
  • The 12-digit number you’ve acquired now serves as a unique GTIN for your product. With this in hand, you can generate a UPC code that can be easily scanned.

4. Include It On Product Listings

  • When listing products on Amazon, you’ll be asked to provide UPC for each item. Ensure that you enter the correct UPC for each product in your inventory.
  • Amazon uses the UPC to match your item’s listings with the existing catalog or generate a new listing if it doesn’t already exist.
  • Ensure each label and product packaging includes the UPC barcode and is clearly visible to the Amazon barcode scanner for scanning it easily.

5. Maintain UPC Records

Maintaining UPC records is a good practice. It allows you to ensure compliance and accuracy with GS1 guidelines and minimizes the risk of errors.

When to License a GS1 Company Prefix?

The GS1 offers different options for businesses based on your unique barcode needs. For instance, if you need over 9 GTINs, you’d need to license a GS1 Company Prefix, as stated on the official website.

This Prefix will be a part of every barcode you generate for your products. You can pick a barcode for each product variation. Here’s how you can place an order:

  1. Select the number of products that require Amazon product barcodes. This will determine your prefix capacity.
  2. Add it to the cart. You can always return to the page and select more when licensing numerous prefixes.
  3. Check out by using the cart options on the right.

It is worth noting that your initial fee will be the cost of GS1 Membership. However, you’ll be required to pay a renewal fee annually to continue using the prefixes. The chart below reflects the pricing displayed on the GS1 website.

How to Order Your Amazon UPC Codes?

There are numerous third-party sites that allow you to order Amazon UPC codes, but it’s best to consider a solutions partner through GS1’s official website.

They are certified and familiar with the standards of the website. You can skim through the description of available options and choose one that best suits your needs.

Further, you also need to think about the presentation of the Amazon product barcode on your products. You can either get a digital barcode and print it directly on your product’s packaging. Contrarily, you can opt for barcode label stickers and stick them on the product.

FAQs about Amazon UPC Codes

Q1. What’s the cost of a UPC code?

The cost of a UPC code varies depending on your requirements. You only need to pay $30 to get a UPC code if you have a single product to sell. However, business owners with numerous products to sell would need more codes, so the cost will increase.

Q2. Does every product variation require a UPC code?

Yes, every product variation requires a unique UPC code. For instance, If you plan to offer shoes in various sizes, colors, and designs, each combination will be treated as a distinct product and need its own identifier.

Q3. Does an already listed product require a UPC code?

Yes, if you’re selling a product already listed on Amazon, you need a UPC or a similar product identifier like an EAN or ISBN to create a new listing or list it as a new product.

Q4. Does my product need a UPC code If I’m reselling it on Amazon under a different brand name?

Yes, you must have a UPC code even when buying a product from a wholesaler and reselling it on Amazon. It helps the platform separate each item from millions of products.

Wrapping Up

The Amazon product barcode plays a pivotal role in the hassle-free operation of your business. They allow for efficient inventory management, accurate product identification, and, above all, compliance with Amazon’s policies.

It empowers Amazon sellers to easily navigate the intricate Amazon ecosystem, ensuring that customers receive the right products on time. Although Amazon UPC codes require an initial investment, it is essential to list products and avoid business complications down the line.

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