If you’re selling products on Amazon, you’ll need to purchase upc codes for each item. Upc codes are unique barcodes that identify your product to retailers and consumers. While you can find free upc code databases online, it’s best to buy upc codes from a reputable source. This will ensure that your codes are unique and won’t cause any problems when listing your products on Amazon. Here’s a quick guide on how to buy upc codes for Amazon.
What are UPC codes?
UPC codes, or Universal Product Codes, are a pattern of numbers that are commonly found on retail products. These codes allow systems to easily identify the item being scanned – from groceries at the checkout counter to electronics at the store.
UPC codes can be scanned quickly and accurately by modern point-of-sale systems, eliminating time-consuming searches or manual entry. By standardizing product identification throughout the retail industry, UPC codes have greatly increased efficiency and accuracy in tracking sales and inventory.
In addition to making checkout and inventorying much faster, they have enabled retailers to better estimate customer demand which can improve pricing strategies.
Essentially, UPC codes represent a major advancement in automation for retailers.
How do you know this product in the storeroom matches the product the customer ordered?
The product identifier code:
A GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is a unique product identifier. GTINs are encoded into different formats, so there are a few codes that are just different types of GTIN. UPC is one of those.
If you’re selling online for the first time, the amount acronyms you’ll see is overwhelming. Let’s go through what the different codes mean.
UPC (Universal Product Code)
Also known as GTIN-12, this is the type of barcode used in the US and Canada.
EAN (European Article Number)
Also known as GTIN-13, this is the type of barcode used everywhere else. An EAN code is the same as a UPC but with an extra digit for identifying countries. If you’re required to enter a 13-digit number, but you have a 12-digit UPC, add a 0 to the start of the number.
ISBN (International Standard Book Number)
This is also a GTIN; it’s the type of barcode used on books.
GLN (Global Location Number)
You’ll also see mentions of GLNs. A GLN is a barcode that identifies locations (like warehouses) or legal entities (like companies). A GTIN is different because it identifies products.
SKU, FNSKU and ASIN
These are not internationally recognized codes like GTINs.
An SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is a number that contains information about the characteristics of products. You generate and use it internally in your business to keep track of stock.
ASINs and FNSKUs are Amazon-specific terms related to the way Amazon operates.
Amazon uses ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers) to identify products within the Amazon catalog. If you list a product that’s already being sold on Amazon, it’ll have the same ASIN. In this case, you usually won’t need to go and buy a UPC; you’ll just enter the ASIN. If you list a new product that doesn’t exist in the catalog, Amazon will assign a new ASIN.
FNSKUs (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Units) are related to ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ (FBA). An FNSKU connects an Amazon product to you, the seller. If you use Amazon FBA to fulfill your orders, your inventory is automatically tracked for you. For example, if you sell products from a supplier, it’s possible that other Amazon sellers do as well. Imagine these products are in the Fulfillment Center warehouse. They both have the same UPC barcode from the manufacturer. The FNSKU links you to the product; that way, you get credit when a sale is made.
Every product you list on Amazon needs to have a unique product ID, regardless of the method you’ll use to fulfill orders.
A Little Primer on UPC Codes
Worldwide, there’s a non-profit organization called GS1 that determines how UPCs should and do work. They have a database of all of these 12-digit codes in production, which Amazon dips into when checking if your UPC is a match.
GS1 is the only legitimate global producer of UPC codes, so use them to verify yours is correct. But just because GS1 is the world leader doesn’t mean you can’t buy UPCs elsewhere, as long as they’re GS1 organizations.
Diving a Bit Further into UPCs
It might look like a jumble of numbers, but each UPC has meaningful sequences that tie it to a specific company and product.
The first sequence is 6 to 10 digits long and identifies the Company Prefix. After that is a 1 to 5 digit sequence called the reference number, and it’s followed by one digit that’s known as the check digit (which means the barcode is correctly composed).
Do you need a UPC code to sell on Amazon?
Amazon requires that all of its products have a UPC (Universal Product Code) in order to go online. A UPC code is a 12-digit number that is usually found on the back of each product, and it allows the product to be cataloged and identified by the Amazon system.
Any item or product you want to sell on Amazon needs to have its own unique UPC code. It is important to note that not all products require a UPC code and some may already come with a barcode, but if you need one, it can be easily purchased from an authorized provider.
Once you have your unique UPC for any given item, it ensures efficient searchability and cataloging which helps make sure your item is found on Amazon’s marketplace.
A bit of prep before buying Amazon upc codes
Before buying Amazon upc codes, getting a bit of prep work done can make the process much smoother and burn less time.
First, researching different companies that provide upc codes is key in order to assess what needs to be bought and for how much.
Secondly, price comparisons should come into play. Rounding up competitive prices can help you get a better deal on the overall purchase.
Thirdly, making sure you’re dealing with legitimate sellers is also important since this will ensure you get codes that are valid and authentic.
Doing these few things as part of the pre-purchase process doesn’t take long and can make it hassle free once it comes time to buy Amazon upc codes.
Where to buy UPC codes?
When people look for cheap UPC codes they turn to shady sellers and get them from eBay. It’s most likely that these cheap codes are recycled. Using recycled codes may lead Amazon to believe you sell fraudulent products, which get your account shut down.
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.
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.
If you don’t purchase your UPC code from GS1 and purchase a cheap replicated UPC code that doesn’t match the information found in the GS1 database, Amazon can remove your listing and potentially suspend your seller account.
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. Obtain 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.
Important: All invalid product UPC listings will be removed and may result in your ASIN creation or selling privileges being temporarily or permanently removed. For more information on licensing UPCs from GS1, see the GSI standard website.
As our in-house Amazon expert David Cooley advises, “It’s important to stay up to date on Amazon’s policies around UPCs.”
The bottom line – since GS1 is the creator of the GTIN system, they are the only legitimate resource to check barcode validity.
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.
How to buy a UPC code for Amazon?
To purchase a UPC from GS1, go to the website, and click on “Apply for a Barcode” in the top right.
Previously, sellers had no other options but to purchase a minimum of 10 barcodes with an initial fee of $250 and an annual fee of $50. For most new Amazon sellers, that is nine too many. Plus, that was another high, upfront cost.
Now, you can purchase one single UPC from GS1 for just $30 and no annual fee. It’s a welcome option for businesses that are just getting started and launching one product at a time.
After clicking on “Apply for a Barcode,” scroll down to the “Start Small with a GS1 US GTIN” section and click on “Get a GTIN.”
Fill in the required information, and you will have your UPC ready for Amazon!
How to add your UPC code to Amazon
On the listing-creation page, there’s a field called “Product ID,” this is where you enter your UPC code.
Keep in mind, unlike other aspects of your listing that you create on your own — like the product description and image gallery — you can’t create your own Product ID. You must go through one of the above channels to get an approved barcode.
As long as the rest of your listing follows Amazon’s listing guidelines, your listing will appear on the site — ready for shoppers to buy.
What to do if you have ‘Bad’ UPCs?
Maybe you read this post after you already bought UPCs, or maybe you found a better price than with GS1. Whatever the case, if Amazon’s notified you that your UPC isn’t good, here are some reasons why and what you can do about it.
Reselling: Sometimes there’s already a listing with the correct information, and yours has the incorrect UPC. If that’s the case, shut your listing down and list against the correct one. Even if there isn’t a correct listing, you should still delete your incorrect one, then you can create a new listing with the correct information.
Private Labels: If you’ve got a private label, it makes things a little easier in that you don’t have to worry about getting a UPC from another brand owner. You can also decide which items to sell individually and which ones to bundle, and then get UPCs accordingly. However, you still have to follow the rules about getting UPCs from GS1 and making sure all your listings are valid. But if you have Brand Registry, then you can list without a UPC. To do this, you’ll have to contact Seller Support so they can change the key attribute to something other than a UPC.
UPC Codes for Amazon Sellers FAQs
How many UPC codes do I need to list one item on Amazon?
You only need to buy one UPC code for one new product listing on Amazon. One UPC code for the “Hat” no matter how many “Hats” you’re selling.
Does my UPC barcode need to be printed on my product packaging?
If you’re selling a product on Amazon, one crucial piece of information that you need to include on your product packaging is a UPC barcode.
Most established products will have pre-approved UPC codes, but if yours does not, order adhesive barcode labels directly from Amazon. Once applied, those labels are scannable and can be used to track order fulfillment and payments when selling on the platform.
They also help customers find more information about the order and make sure that they get exactly what was purchased. By taking the time to order and apply the barcode properly, you can ensure smooth yet secure performance for your Amazon operations.
Are UPC codes the same for the same product?
If it’s the same product then yes they are the same. You can use the same UPC code for any number of the same product. If the product has already been listed then simply change the amount of products you have for sale.
My product is already listed on Amazon and I want to list the same product do I need to purchase a UPC code?
If the item is already on Amazon and it is the exact same item, you should piggyback on that detail page rather than start a new page. You wouldn’t need to purchase a UPC code if the item is already on the site. Select ASIN on the product ID dropdown and enter the active listing ASIN number.
Does the Amazon UPC code have to physically be on each product I list? What if I'm listing 50 products?
You can use 1 single UPC code to list as many of the same item as you want. If you’re selling 100 hair brushes when creating the product listing you only need 1 UPC code for all 100 hair brushes. The UPC code does not have to be on your products.
When you create your product listing, Amazon gives you a unique identifier for each item and that would need to be placed on your product. The UPC code is only for product listing purposes.
When Don’t I Have to Purchase a UPC Code for Amazon?
UPC codes help Amazon, and shoppers, understand exactly which item you are selling. This is especially important in a crowded marketplace where there may be hundreds of items that look similar, but are indeed different.
If you have created your own new product, or are planning to private label products you have purchased or had manufactured on your behalf, you will need to assign unique UPC codes to each variation of these items. In a sense, they don’t exist yet in a way that retailers and shoppers can identify them with a concrete numerical ‘check,’ and giving them a UPC code is a bit like assigning them the item version of a Social Security Number. This number becomes a source of truth that retailers and shoppers can use to search for and/or identify an item
If you are reselling products that already have UPC codes assigned to them—these will typically be on the back of the item itself, or its packaging—you will not need to purchase a new UPC code. You can choose the UPC option, and add this existing number to the product ID field when you list your item for sale
If the exact item you’re selling is already available for sale on Amazon, you won’t be required to create a new page to support your item. You can choose the ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) option from the product ID dropdown, and input the ASIN of the existing, active Amazon listing
If the items you’re offering for sale aren’t in your physical possession (ie. dropshipping), you can contact your supplier or the manufacturer to obtain the correct UPC code. In some instances, you may also be able to find the UPC code yourself by simply locating the product in-store or online, though we encourage you to be completely certain the item you’re selling is an exact match. If you’re at all unsure, verify with your supplier or the manufacturer before using the code
What Goes Into the Amazon Product ID Section?
UPCs and EANs are the most common Amazon product ID’s.
The United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and other Western European countries commonly use UPC’s and EAN’s
When it comes to Amazon and upc codes, the two go hand-in-hand. Upc codes are extremely important for any product sold on Amazon, not only as a way of tracking information about the product, but also for own brand and private label products.
It is essential to obtain them for all own brand and private label products in order to receive the best possible results when it comes to selling on Amazon. Without upc codes, own brands or private label products might get overlooked by customers who are searching through Amazon’s website.
Furthermore, they are necessary to ensure that orders are correctly tracked and invoiced correctly, thus avoiding any legal disputes in the future.
Overall, having upc codes readily available is definitely something every business owner looking to sell own brand or private label products on Amazon should do before going further with their own products.