UPC Codes for Amazon Products: What you need to know about it – Amazon Seller Guide by Successful Marketers on UPC Codes for Amazon Products
What is a UPC?
UPC or a Universal Product Code is a barcode symbol widely used in first-world countries that run tracking trade items in online stores. Countries such as the United States, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the UK use this symbology uniquely assigned to a trade product. It needs to be scanned in a POS for easy inventory and tracking. Per GS1 Specifications, a barcode is assigned to one item involved in trading.
The UPC is displayed in two different ways: a barcode and printed numbers. It also consists of three parts, where the first six digits indicate the manufacturer, the following five – the item number, and the last digit serves as a check digit.
When scanned on POS, it widely registers the item name, brand, size, colour, and content. UPC is also used to expedite the checkout process in shops and stores. It has been used to track the product inventory in a warehouse.
Since we live in a world where technology runs most of the business processes, UPC has great use for entrepreneurs and consumers online. It makes the transaction on stores done swiftly and saves time on inventory. It makes the store owner prompt the manufacturer to process a refill order.
How do you create a UPC?
The UPC is created and generated at the point of sale of the recipient operator. UPC must have a fixed length of 12 digits, with no other characters added. You can notice that all products imported by Amazon have a UPC if sold in Canada, the UK, Australia, and the USA, unless they are made by an artisan and handmade or are under GTIN exempted.
What products use UPCs?
Sellers who are selling UPC-coded items associate their stock with a barcode. If you are a manufacturer and want your product to have a UPC, you must obtain a UCC Company Prefix from the Uniform Code Council.
Some items do not use UPCs, like medicines that are under the ND Code or the National Drug Code. Perishable products and consumables such as foods have their own special UPC, which is only given to the store that sold these items in particular.
What if a seller inputs a mismatched UPC?
Since some are not that authentic in putting on the barcodes and product’s UPC, Amazon quietly made some changes about their Product UPC and GTINs policy in which they need to check on with GS1 database if the seller put correct information about the item; otherwise, they will consider this as an invalid.
Rampant black market sellers sell UPCs to Amazon online entrepreneurs and provide incorrect information about the specific products that may result in misleading information in the system causing duplicate listings.
Amazon urges its sellers to use only GS1 to obtain their product UPCs in the GS1 database to avoid duplicate listings that may confuse customers.
This may affect your feedback and rating as a seller. There might be a chance that Amazon, due to duplicate product UPCs, might send your buyer a wring product due to confusion on barcodes which will boomerang again on the seller’s feedback section.
There are different kinds of GTINs as you hear about UPCs, EANs, and JANs. They are all turned into a barcode that will integrate into every product on your inventory. It is a readable machine code that makes the process easier. If you happen to get a fake UPC for your product, there might be a disruption in the process of fulfillment. The barcode will reflect the company prefix, and it might not identify the product you sell. Chances are Amazon won’t be liable for any mistakes resulting from entering a wrong code.
You might also want to read more about this blog: Starting Business on Amazon: Top-5 Risks You Need to Avoid.
Do I have to pay for a UPC for my product?
Have you tried to sell online and been stumped because you needed to submit a UPC to run your product in your store? Literally, yes! You need to pay for it. Well, there are plenty of ways to get a free UPC without worrying about the cost. Here are some ways to grab free UPCs you can use for your product listing:
1. Online retailers
If you sell the same item you see in the grocery store, you can get their codes for free. Most of the online retailers includ the product UPC on the item they sell in stores. A quick search for the product will make you get the code for free.
2. Internet UPC database
Internet UPC database is known as the storehouse of free UPCs for most products. Though some of the data inputted on this site might be wrong or outdated, it is still one of the resources that worth considering.
3. Barcode lookup
Barcode lookup is a user-friendly website where you can find the barcode of the item you are searching for. You simply need to enter the product name to see the UPC and the information of the item searched.
4. Internet search
With the use of the Internet, you have a good chance to get a free UPC. There are some websites and forums that share codes online.
Also you can post your queries, and get opinions from other people who have tested the particular item or encountered the same issue as you have.
5. Social media
Social media platforms are great when you want to dig something deeper. Checking out Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter may help you find the information you need about the product and its code. Social media contains photos at times containing the bar code you can use for your product listing.
Some sweepstakes sponsors offer a free code to drive traffic to their social media accounts. Some companies offer and share codes for free for the same reason. Social media is a good platform to start a conversation with your fellow sweepers if they have kept UPCs that they can share with you.
6. Local stores
When you are at your local grocery store, try to check the UPCs on the products you need. You don’t need to buy the product. You can simply snap a camera from your phone to get the codes.
7. Online Questions and Answer sites
You can throw your questions on Yahoo Answers about UPCs. Some generous people are active online who can help you have the codes you need for your products. If you want to hear the opinion of other people, you might get the answers to your questions on Q&A sites.
UPC Codes for Amazon Products: Selling on Amazon without UPC
You can sell on Amazon even if you don’t have the code if your product belongs to the GTIN exemption. Also, if you sell a private label or handmade products, you can sell your products on Amazon without a UPC. Otherwise, all products listed without the GTIN exemption require UPC Code on Amazon.
GS1 is the legitimate issuer of UPCs to use on Amazon. The moment that you list your product on Amazon, you must know the techniques on how you will be able to avail yourself of free UPCs, or else, you need to pay for them. If you haven’t got the UPCs from the GS1, you must have an Amazon Barcode, or FNSKU stapled to your product packaging when using FBA.
Four ways of selling on Amazon without UPC
As a seller, you should know what you need to prepare when you post your product listing on Amazon. There are four ways how to do it:
1. If the product you sell is already listed on other Amazon marketplaces, and you don’t have the code, you can use Product ID as ASIN. If you can’t find the ASIN of the product, you can link the product on the ASIN that the other seller is using without the need for barcodes.
2. If you sell a new product and it was not listed elsewhere, you can apply for a brand registry if you happen to own the brand you sell.
3. A link to the website that will direct you to the UPC exemption categories.
4. You can list your products in the “Everything Else” category if you can’t find any source for the UPCs.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I obtain an Amazon GTIN?
On the Amazon website, go to the HELP section, and see the GTIN link. Click on that link and put all the information about your product. You don’t need to upload all the products in the same category for GTIN exemption.
2. How much is GTIN worth?
GTIN may be costly as you can pay $750 for 100 items listed that need it, and you have to renew it for $150 annually.
3. Do you need a barcode to sell on Amazon?
You need a barcode when you upload your product online to sell it on various online marketplaces. Amazon would not ask for a barcode, but if they do, you should produce a UPC depending on what category your products belong to. Your product ID section should be completed when you plan to sell on Amazon.
4. What is the difference between the GTIN barcode and EAN barcode?
GTIN Barcode and EAN barcode almost do the same purpose; however, they differ on the purpose on where you apply these barcodes, as EAN is used in Europe and the UPC in Amazon USA.
5. How can I find my GTIN?
GTIN or what we call the Global Trade Item Number internationally recognizes the product’s identifier. You can see it next to the barcodes located on your product’s packaging.
If you want to keep your status on Amazon as your seller, be sure to know all the facts you have to learn about Amazon UPCs. In this way, you’ll avoid any issues and complications with your business.