As an Amazon seller, understanding UPC codes is crucial to selling on Amazon. To create your product listing on the Amazon marketplace, you need to purchase Amazon UPC codes.
If you're new to the whole concept of UPC codes, read on to find out what Amazon UPC codes are, why you need them and how to get them.
A Universal Product Code (UPC) refers to a 12-digit barcode used to identify a particular retail product. UPCs are used by most retailers all over the world to track an item.
When you buy a product from a retail store, you may notice a scannable barcode on the packaging. This is called the UPC. When this barcode is scanned, the product connected will appear.
Amazon UPC codes are simply barcodes unique to products sold on Amazon. With millions of products sold on Amazon, these UPC codes make it easy for Amazon to track and distinguish each product.
Apart from helping both sellers and buyers identify a product, Amazon UPC codes help to streamline inventory management and make it easy to find products in Amazon FBA warehouses.
To identify products on Amazon, a product identifier is required. This is where a UPC comes in. UPCs are widely accepted and are the most common product identifiers. Without UPCs, your product will not be accepted on the Amazon marketplace.
While creating your product listing, you will be required to fill in your UPC code in the product identification section.
Also, it is important to ensure that your product’s UPC is obtained from the one and only legitimate provider of UPC codes - GS1. Products with UPCs not obtained from GS1 will not be accepted. You also run the risk of facing further penalties.
To get Amazon UPC codes, you need to purchase them from GS1. GS1 is a widely known and recognized non-profit organization that identifies retail products all over the world and sets standards for business.
Today, there are more than 100 GS1 organizations in various locations all over the world.
To generate your Amazon UPCs, you need to obtain a GS1 Company Prefix for your product. This is a unique six-digit number that identifies your business. To get this GS1 Company Prefix, you need to be a member of the GS1 organization within your business location. For example, if your business is located in the United States, you need to become a member of GS1 US.
Your UPC code will include your six-digit company prefix, a five-digit number that identifies your product, and a check digit that confirms that your GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is generated correctly. Your GTIN is simply the number that complements the black and white patterned stripe on your UPC code.
As we mentioned earlier, you can buy legitimate Amazon UPC codes directly from GS1, which is the only recognized organization that validates the authenticity of product UPCs.
GS1 manages and maintains the authenticity of product barcodes and has done so for over two million user companies and organizations in 116 countries.
To validate the authenticity of your barcode, Amazon checks the GS1 database.
Some Amazon sellers purchase UPCs from third-party websites or resellers. But the danger of purchasing your UPCs from third-party websites or resellers is that you may purchase an Amazon UPC code that is already connected to an existing product or brand.
A bigger problem may emerge if your UPC is inauthentic. Amazon could remove your listing or worse still, you may be suspended from creating new ASINs for your products.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to buying UPC codes for your products on Amazon:
The first step to getting an Amazon UPC code is to apply for a company prefix. A company prefix is an identifier unique to the product a manufacturer produces.
In other words, your company prefix will appear the same on all your product barcodes. It is the first 6 to 9 digits on your barcodes. To get a company prefix, you need to purchase product barcodes.
As we mentioned earlier, the safest way to purchase a legitimate UPC code is to get one from GS1.
To buy a product barcode, simply go to the website and apply.
Next, GS1 will give you a set of digits that you need to come up with your product numbers. Your GTIN will be a combination of your company prefix, unique product number, and a check digit which GS1 assigns based on the eleven digits on your product barcode. It also ensures that your GTIN was created correctly.
Your Amazon UPC codes must be a total of 12 digits.
The kind of barcode you will need depends on where your products will be scanned and sold.
Different barcode types are needed for products getting scanned at a brick-and-mortar store and an Amazon FBA warehouse.
If you're selling your products physically and online, you will need the same GTIN.
However, if you're selling with Amazon FBA, the Amazon packaging requirements are different.
Amazon requires that FNSKU codes are placed on your items.
Amazon may also be able to use UPC codes to track items that are exclusively available to you. However, FNSKU codes are best recommended.
The last step is to place your barcodes on your product packaging. Ensure they are visible and scannable. Ensure you print them properly and that they match the information on the GS1 database. To get your products accepted at Amazon FBA warehouses, it is important to follow all Amazon FBA packaging requirements which include UPC requirements.
Amazon UPC codes vary in price depending on what your requirement is. GS1 offers a single UPC code for $30. As a small business owner, this is a cost-effective option for you.
However, if you are selling lots of individual products, you will need more codes which will incur higher costs.
With thousands of products selling on the Amazon marketplace, UPC codes are crucial for both shoppers and Amazon to identify your product. However, some situations may not require you to purchase Amazon UPCs for your products:
FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit is a number specific to Amazon fulfillment. If you are fulfilling your own orders, you won't need an FNSKU barcode. However, if you sell with fulfillment by Amazon, you will need to attach an FNSKU barcode to all your items before sending them to fulfillment centers.
At the fulfillment center, officials will scan the FNSKU barcodes to identify the owner of the product sent. The number is also to be added to products sent for easy scanning.
FNSKU barcodes are also used for tracking items and crediting the seller.
FNSKU barcodes are easily and automatically generated once you print your shipping labels from your Amazon Seller Central account.
For every product variation, different FNSKU barcodes will be given.
You can add your FNSKU labels to your items individually or add them to your packaging design.
By now, you understand how important getting an Amazon UPC code is. Without UPC codes, Amazon will be unable to identify your product, making it impossible to sell on the Amazon marketplace.
However, it is important to go for valid Amazon UPC codes from GS1 to avoid any hitches along the way.