Ever wonder how things run so smoothly on such a big marketplace like Amazon? If you’re planning to sell products on Amazon, you’ll need UPC codes. But they can be confusing for some new sellers.
UPC codes are unique identifiers for your products that allow Amazon to track your inventory and ensure that customers receive the correct item.
The question is how to get UPC codes for Amazon.
Here we bring this article for you. No matter if you are an Amazon seller or trying to sell on Amazon, read this article to solve all your problems with UPC codes.
What is UPC Code for Amazon
UPC codes, short for universal product codes, are standard in the US and Canada. We can quickly identify product details and keep tabs on inventory levels by scanning the 12-digit UPC number printed on the black barcode. It works as a kind of product identification, much like an ID card for products.
UPC is most commonly referred to as UPC-A. UPC-E is a variation of UPC. It is a 6-digit code that is used on smaller packages where it is impossible to use the entire 12-digit code.
The typical 12- digits in UPC barcode will include:
- The GS1 Company Prefix (first 6 or 9 digits),
- Product number assigned by the brand owner,
- A check digit (usually the last one).
The product’s size, weight, identity, manufacturer, manufacturing site, and other information are also part of UPC codes.
To sell on Amazon, your need to get UPC codes for your products because Amazon mandates that each new product detail page have a unique product identification. UPC, EAN, and GTIN are all examples of product identifiers.
Amazon will verify that the brand name entered into the new listing is the same as that associated with the UPC in the exclusive GS1 database. Amazon uses GS1 to validate your UPC.
Your UPC will be rejected for listing on Amazon if it does not correspond with the data provided by GS1.
Do You Need UPC Codes for Amazon?
When you sell products on Amazon, you’ll need UPC codes to list your items. So almost every product sold on Amazon needs UPC codes. However, different business models on Amazon can get UPC codes from different methods.
For wholesale, dropshipping, and retail arbitrage, the UPC codes for products are usually already printed or labeled on items most of the time. If there are no UPCs on the items, you can ask the manufacturer or supplier for UPC codes.
The private label requires UPC codes to be assigned to each individual product under the brand. Because of the GTIN exemption, private labels registered in Amazon Brand Registry can avoid providing UPC codes on Amazon.
Lastly, if you are registered to sell on Amazon’s Handmade Platform, you don’t need a UPC code for handmade products. But this only applies if you are listing in the Handmade section. If you are trying to list handmade articles elsewhere on Amazon Handmade, then you will need to buy UPC codes.
Can you sell on Amazon without UPC codes? Definitely, continue to check whether you are available.
Selling on Amazon without UPC Codes – GTIN Exemption Program
A GTIN exemption may apply if you sell a private-label or handmade product that does not have a GTIN assigned to it by the brand, publisher, or manufacturer.
If your product does not have a barcode but still want to sell it on Amazon, you can apply for a GTIN exemption. It is advised that you invest in a GS1 barcode in the future if you plan to create a lasting brand.
You can apply for GTIN if:
- You are the maker, owner of the brand, or publisher of a product you wish to sell, but you don’t have barcodes.
- You need to sell non-GTIN-encoded products (automotive parts)
- You’ve decided to sell a multi-product package to your customers (pack of 2 shirts)
How to Get UPC Codes for Amazon from GS1
There are a few ways to get UPC codes for Amazon. You can buy from the official website GS1 or get cheaper UPC codes from third-party vendors. We also list several ways for you to get free UPC codes for products if you have no need to buy UPC codes.
Have a look below for further details!
Buy UPC Codes for Amazon
Now that we’ve covered what UPCs are and how to get UPC codes for Amazon, we can go on to discuss where and how to buy them.
Best Place to Buy UPC Codes
GS1 is an international, non-profit organization responsible for standardizing corporate communication and retail product identification.
First, you’ll need to understand the relationship between UPC and GS1. UPC is just one type of GS1 barcode, which is useful because various areas may use different barcodes to identify products. It is mostly used in the US and Canada. Whereas, in Europe, European Article Number (EAN) is used.
Below is the detailed process of buying UPC codes for Amazon:
Step 1: Calculate the Number of Required UPC Codes
First and foremost, remember that a different barcode is required for each and every version of every product you sell. Before you fill out the application, you’ll need to figure out how many barcodes you’ll need.
All online and retail stores share the same unique UPC barcodes for a single product, so remember not to calculate one product’s UPC code twice.
If you are unsure of the number of GTINs/barcodes you may need for your retail products, use the Barcode Estimator tool.
GS1 provides kinds of price plans, choose the appropriate one
Step 2: Apply for a U.P.C. Company Prefix or GTINs
In addition to identifying locations, mixed cases, creating coupons, and creating higher layers of packaging like a case or pallet, a GS1 Company Prefix allows you to receive many barcodes at once.
GS1 Company Prefixes are useful for businesses that plan to expand their product offerings.
When you have the barcode, go to the GS1 website and click the “Get A Barcode” section. Go ahead and select “Get a GTIN.”
Simply enter the necessary details and you will have a UPC code for Amazon!
Important note: Most company owners avoid purchasing this prefix from resale companies. When Amazon detects a mismatch between your UPC and the one in the GS1 database, it creates a gap in the chain of authority and undermines the credibility of your brand.
Therefore, it is highly suggested that you acquire the GS1 code from their website.
Step 3: Obtain Documents of UPC Codes for Each Item
After completing the process, you will get a digital file of UPC codes. Then you can create listing on Amazon and label your products.
Step 4: Determine your Barcode type
The number of codes required will differ according to the method by which you sell your products. You may need FNSKU barcodes if your products are scanned in Amazon FBA warehouse, but only UPC codes will do if they’re sold exclusively online or in physical stores.
Where to Buy Cheap UPC Codes
Some small businesses or beginners of Amazon sellers may search for cheap UPC codes from third-party vendors. It is a good option to reduce costs, but we do not recommend it. Because you may face some risks:
- They may make up invalid codes to cheat you
- The code may not match
- Risk of suspending seller account for using non-legitimate codes
- Your product’s barcode may be reused (when scanned, another company may display it instead of yours)
However, if you truly cannot afford the price, look for certified and recognized sellers. Check their origin beforehand if you’re buying barcodes from a third party. Make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate GS1 code reseller that can provide significant savings over buying directly from GS1.
In addition, retailers like Bar Codes Talk often have sales that might attract you.
Get Free UPC Codes for Amazon
You can use free UPC codes if you are making sweepstakes without UPC codes for products. But keep in mind, if you want to get free UPC codes used to create Amazon listing, it is not available.
The major reason is that free UPC codes may be connected to an existing product or brand. Once you enter the free codes, Amazon may present the owner of the free codes. If Amazon finds your UPC is inauthentic, it could remove your listing
Here we provide some ways to get free UPC codes:
Ask for UPC Codes from Social Media
You can describe your products and show pictures of samples on Twitter, Instagram, Quora, or other social media. The right individual will reach out to help. Simply wait for the right person.
- Social media’s large number of users may provide useful information for you.
- It may require much time to get the right information or even no information which can be frustrating.
Use BarCode Lookup website
BarCode Lookup provides in-depth information and images for millions of items worldwide. You can easily enter the product’s name and get information about the product including UPC code.
- Easy and quick method
- You may need to know the detailed title or manufacturer of the product
Use UPC Codes Generator
Sometimes, you may get the numbers of UPC codes only. In this case, you need to generate the barcodes for scanning in the warehouse to manage inventory. You can use UPC codes generator for this purpose.
Simply enter a free barcode generator website, and enter the UPC code of your product. Next, you can customize the style of the barcode. The website will provide a picture of the barcode, which you can download and print to use.
What to Do After Getting UPC Codes for Products
Create Your Amazon Listing with UPC Codes for Products
It’s time to create your Amazon listing with your UPC. Here is the step-wise guide:
- Start by clicking “Add a Product” in the “Inventory” section on Seller Central.
- Select “I’m adding a product not sold on Amazon.” if the product belongs to your own brand. Or enter UPC numbers you get to the search bar to search existing products for wholesale, dropshipping, or retail arbitrage.
- Your product’s category and details come next. The Product ID and other product details go here.
- Finally, the UPC code is attached to your products.
Notice that it may take 24-48 hours for GS1 to activate your UPC codes, so you may get “invalid” if listing your products on Amazon immediately. Make sure your Amazon product listing’s Brand Name matches the GS1 database.
Print and Label UPC Codes for Products
Next, you’ll need to physically or digitally apply the UPCs to your purchases after you’ve purchased them.
FBA requires to label UPC code on your products if you use Amazon FBA services. Make sure that UPC codes are clearly visible on your products, ensuring that they can be scanned easily and accurately.
If you are unfamiliar with the label requirement, you can search for companies that provide prep service like FBABEE.
FBABEE provides professional prep services, including package and repackage, label, quality inspection, 14 days of free storage, etc. Contact us if required!
FAQs about UPC Codes
What is the relationship between UPC and GTIN?
If you want to sell something on an online marketplace like Amazon, you need a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) as a product identifier. GTIN and UPC are always present as a combination, as GTIN is the number encoded in the barcode. Besides, UPC is also regarded as GTIN-12.
How long do UPC codes last?
Once you get the UPC code for products, it will last as long as your company and products exist on Amazon. Also, you don’t have to pay any future fees.
How many UPC codes do I need for Amazon?
It depends on your number of products. Notice that every type of product needs a unique UPC code, even in different sizes, colors, etc. The same applies to packing and configurations.
Can I list a product without UPC Codes?
Yes, you can. But you need to apply for GTIN Exemption. Notice that UPC code is usually not required for bundled products or anything you make yourself, private label or acquire from a manufacturer.
Surely by this point, you see the whole process to get a UPC code for Amazon. FBABEE summarizes 3 tips you need to notice while dealing with UPC codes:
- You cannot reuse UPC codes for different products or duplicates.
- UPC codes must match the product being sold and must be accurately represented in the product listing.
- Products that require a variation theme, such as size or color, must have a unique UPC code for each variation.
UPC Code is not as complicated as you might think. It is only for product listing, so there is no need to take a lot of time to research it. Instead, put your priority on researching products if you are trying to sell on Amazon.