Facing UPC or EAN barcode or Product Id issue in Amazon Listing

Amazon can look like a monster to you if you are stepping as a new seller on this giant marketplace. There are various steps that a seller needs to complete to sell their products on Amazon platform for sale right from creating Seller central account, Amazon store setup and many more formalities. In lack of knowledge, the amateur sellers sometimes may fail in providing the needful information to Amazon, which results in problems in creating an account and when the seller gets success in creating a seller account on Amazon, the real battle starts.

Now the next step is listing and half of the battle needs to be fought while existing. Many sellers do get issues while listing their products on the Amazon platform and they think that Amazon is complex in dealing with its sellers. But, believe us, Amazon is neither a  monster nor a complex instead it is easier and friendly with its vendors, sellers and of course with buyers too. Being a seller who is urging for listing products you just need to have complete documentation, information about your products you are launching or reselling and understanding for Amazon guidelines, rest all would be set with ease. 

For a listing process, you need complete documents & information for your product including title, brand name, product description, quantity, and much more information. For complete guidelines on how to list your products on Amazon store, you should refer our previous blog on A comprehensive guidelines on listing your products on Amazon.com
Now with this information you also need 
1. Invoice 
2. Trademark certificate for getting brand registry (If you request to register your brand)
3. Product Identifier- or GTIN or popularly UPC/EAN 

When you want to sell your own brand, you are required to have a brand registry to which can be obtained by requesting Amazon to register your brand on Amazon. For other products GTIN or EAN/UPC is required.  But we know that being a new seller, you may find it hard to buy your first UPC or EAN barcode. No worries, this post is all meant to you.

First of all, let us know….

What is UPC or EAN?

Explicitly, UPC and EAN are barcodes & product identifier, generated by the vendors for their products for differentiating them on the basis of their category, type, colour or any other aspect for. The UPC stands for “Universal Product Code” which is 12 digits long for those countries whose country code is (0) by default as US and Canada.
While EAN is meant for European countries as “European Article Number” with 13 digits. This is the same as 12-digit UPC but the only difference is that it contains one more digit as a country code as its prefix. 

UPC Exemption

If you don’t want to involve in UPC game, let's get UPC exemption from Amazon. But don’t be happy as Amazon allows it only for few categories that too on request and sadly only for 80 days. Thus when you are new to Amazon, you can request for UPC exemption for the non-branded products you are selling. On request, Amazon verifies the list and templates and then allows you to be exempted from UPC generation. Also, manufacturers or vendors are exempted from generating UPC as they need to prove their trademark certificate. 

Why UPC or EAN is required?

Amazon needs to identify the similar products of different countries from its inventory. Thus rather checking on the basis of name and type it is easier to check their unique barcodes or product identifier. Therefore it supports GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) which includes UPC and EAN in it. 
Secondly, UPC/EAN is required to submit at the time of listing the products. In the listing window, when you click on Add a product, along with the product title and other information, UPC/EAN is also required. Post product classification details, you need to submit UPC/EAN or GTIN. If you are selling with the already registered brand, the list of products matching yours will appear and when you click the relevant product, a UPC will automatically be generated. 
But what if, you want to add a new product to Amazon list? There will be no existing UPC or EAN for the new product. You need to generate a new UPC.  If you miss the UPC/EAN entry, you will be left with the error message blinking on your window in red. Better you should be ready with this essential UPC/EAN barcodes.

Now come, questions of million dollars….

How to get barcodes?
How to buy barcodes?
How to apply for barcodes for Amazon?
How to generate UPC/EAN for the first product?

Relax, here we present the answer to all questions. There are various websites that claim to provide UPC for your products on Amazon, eBay or other online marketplaces with the minimum and affordable prices. But be aware of the fraudulent ones. Because there are many resellers of these barcodes. They buy from barcode generator websites and then resell it to you and maybe even other sellers also. Thus there are the chances that your product’s Unique code( which is no more unique) would be a duplicate code for other products from other sellers. Thus in case, if any seller sells the wrong product Amazon may catch you for delivering poor services to your customers as you too have the same UPC. You may be charged and your Amazon store would be at risk.

These fraudulent resellers would avail you with many offers with low prices. Don’t come in their cheaper but risky offers. Remeber the saying “ everything that glitters is not gold”. You can go through snapUPc, speedybarcodes, buyabarcode.com etc. but with the open eyes to have a different and unique EAN or UPC.

Amazon has approached GS1:

To avoid any fraud or act in barcodes generation, Amazon has come with a strict action to check these UPC and EAN of products on its platform with its database of existing UPC and EAN. If it finds something fishy, it may take a strict action. For this, Amazon has approached GS1, a Global Standard 1 organization to generate UPC for the Amazon sellers. Thus it is highly recommended for you to buy UPC barcodes from GS1 to avoid further issues with Amazon. 
The GS1 incurs charges more than other UPC selling websites and thus many Amazon sellers are getting it tough to buy from it when they have numerous products to sell. But, believe us, if you want to have a risk & tension-free sleep, rush to GS1 right off bat. This charge will save you from Amazon charges. ;)

How can you buy UPC from GS1?

For GS1, there are 4 easy steps but we add the last step as placing the barcodes on the products for Amazon to sell. Follow these steps to get UPC code:

1. Applying for Company Prefix: The first step is to apply for company prefix that would be 6-9 digits long. This company prefix is a manufacturer prefix that would be the same for all your products. Post this prefix, the code will be generated.

2. Assignment of Product unique number: After the company prefix generation, GS1 provides a number set to the seller to pick a number for the variety of products. The numbers in this number set are equal to the quantity of product, the seller has mentioned in the application that he/she wants to sell in the future. No worries, you can apply anytime, for any quantity to have UPC. The only thing is you need to pay higher charges. In total, a unique product code number and company prefix should be 11 digits long. The last 12th digit is calculated by GS1 as a check digit on the basis of these 11 digit barcode. This completes a 12 digit UPC barcode for Amazon.

3. Have a look at barcodes display: As an Amazon seller, it is suggested to get acquainted with the uploading of barcodes from the digital file. Before labelling and packaging, have a look at- how the generated barcodes would be visible on your products. Ask GS1 to send a digital file. Else you can order the adhesive barcodes if you are done with the labelling and packaging.

4. Order Barcodes:  Finally, order your barcodes to print. You can use many barcode printing websites for this service. But as always, be alert and cautious not to mix your barcodes with another seller.

5. Fix and Place Barcodes: Last but not least, finally your barcodes are ready and you need to fix them on your products. This is the final step to start selling on Amazon.com

Bottom line: Make sure that the barcodes are clear and easy to visualize. Fix them properly while labelling them on products. As soon as you generate UPC  and EAN barcodes for your products, sooner you would have a privilege to sell on Amazon. If you find any problem in generating barcodes or while listing through GTIN, you should go through seller support on Amazon or should approach Amazon service providers.

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