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Are you already confused among too many product identifiers and barcodes on Amazon or don’t want to further stress your budget with barcode shopping?

If that’s the case, you’ve landed at the right place.

In this post, we’ll discuss how you can list on Amazon without needing UPCs. 

But before we walk you through how to list on Amazon without UPC, it is imperative to know what UPCs are and why they are needed.

What Is UPC And Why Do You Need It in the First Place?

Universal Product Code (UPC) is a type of Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN). It is also known as GTIN-12. UPC is basically a 12-digit numeric string along with its readable barcode. This barcode gives any product a unique identity that helps manufacturers/sellers in various ways.

For instance, it becomes easier to identify and catalog products across warehouses and shipments with the machine-scannable barcode. Also, retail checkouts become quick and hassle-free when cashiers can make entry of a product just by scanning its UPC label.

Amazon also asks sellers to put GTIN (UPCs, EANs, ISBN, and JAN) information in the Product ID section of the listing page. This information helps Amazon in identifying the brand, product, and variants from an authentic universal database. This authentication plays a vital role in how the complex Amazon fulfillment process works. 

UPC/GTIN Requirements— Difference between Major Brands and Private Label Products

As you may already know, you can sell products on Amazon either from brands that already exist or introduce a product line under your own private label. Over 300,000 companies and brands  that sell across the globe in different marketplaces with omnichannel sales strategies always get a GTIN (UPC or EAN) for their products. It standardizes and improves their inventory management and their product on the international pedestal. This GTIN acquisition also helps in curbing the issue of counterfeits.

So, if you sell well-known major brands on Amazon, you usually can’t sell them without UPCs. As of now, Amazon has listed 3003 small and large brands that you can’t sell on the platform without UPCs or other relevant GTINs.

However, if you’ve enrolled in Amazon Brand Registry and started your private label, you can list and sell products without UPC. For that, you will have to apply for GTIN exemption while listing a product.

Amazon GTIN Exemption Requirements

Before applying for GTIN exemption on Amazon, you need to be aware of a number of requirements that the platform sets for sellers. Your request to get GTIN (UPC) exemption will only get approved if you fulfill the requirements mentioned in the following bullets.

  • You sell products under a private label.
  • Your products classify as handmade articles as per Amazon Handmade program. 
  • You deal in products where manufacturers or brands may not provide GTINs e.g. automotive parts and mobile accessories.
  • You sell generic products that come without GTIN. 
  • You list products that don’t belong to categories where GTIN is always required.

How to Apply for GTIN Exemption— A Step-by-Step Guide

Applying for GTIN exemption can get quite exhausting if you don’t get things right in the first go. For instance, you may have to engage in a lengthy back and forth with Amazon’s sales  representatives if you don’t select the right category or mess up with the submission of proof . Therefore, here we are outlining the steps you need to follow to apply for GTIN exemption without facing any trouble.

Apply for GTIN Exemption While Listing the Product

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Click on the Learn More link on the listing creation page as highlighted above. It will bring you to the page where you need to locate the Apply for a GTIN exemption link and click on it.

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Choose the Product Category and Add the Brand

When you click Apply for a GTIN exemption, you end up on the following page.

Here, you have to select the product category and then add the brand of the product to check its eligibility for the GTIN exemption.

Three scenarios can play out here.

  1. A Third-Party Branded Product

If you add any well-known third-party branded product in the relevant section and check its eligibility, there are strong chances that you will get the below notification. 

When we select Puma as the brand, we get this notification. It categorically says that this brand is not eligible for GTIN/UPC exemption. This message also suggests that we can list Puma products with their existing ASINs through wholesaling or retail arbitrage. 

  1. A Generic Product

If you add “generic” in the Brand/Publisher column, you get an automatic GTIN bypass/exemption. It means you can directly add a product without UPC. Amazon won’t ask you to fulfill any further requirements.

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  1. A Product Belongs to Brand Registry

In case you sell a private label and have registered it with the Amazon Brand Registry, you will see the following window on checking the eligibility of the product for the brand exemption. 

Holikme is a brand that deals in home improvement products and is part of the Amazon Brand Registry. You can see that a green tick appears in the status section, showing that Amazon considers this brand for GTIN/UPC exemption. You can proceed with the exemption by clicking on Continue to submit proof.

Submission of Proof

When you continue to submit proof, Amazon asks you to fill out the product’s complete name and upload three images of the product and its packaging from all sides. 

Once you submit your request, Amazon immediately notifies you that they will get back to you within 48 hours. Usually, sellers receive the approval (or denial) email from Amazon within a couple of hours. You can also see the status of your request in your seller account’s Case Log.

Suppose you get Amazon approval for GTIN exemption for a particular brand and product category. In that case, you can list items under their names without filling the Product ID section on the listing creation page.

Listing on Amazon without UPC: Benefits and Downsides

The above discussion has made it clear that UPCs are not absolutely necessary for selling on Amazon. Nonetheless, getting UPCs for your private label products doesn’t go in vain either. 

In short, listing on Amazon without UPC has its benefits and downsides that we’ll discuss in the following sections. 

Benefits of Listing on Amazon without UPC

These are some of the perks that you get when you list your products on Amazon without UPCs.

  • You save hundreds of dollars that are spent on getting UPC barcodes and their annual approvals.
  • UPC barcodes become redundant  if you use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) since Amazon asks sellers to hide and cover UPCs on the packaging by fulfillment labels (FNSKUs).
  • While labeling your products, you don’t have to get confused among different GTINs (UPC, EAN, ISBN, JAN) that are only slightly different from each other.

Downsides of Listing on Amazon without UPC

While leveraging the benefits of GTIN exemption, you must also be aware of the potential downsides of listing on Amazon without UPCsl.

  • You can’t list your products without Amazon’s additional approval. This means unexpected delays due to additional back and forth with Amazon’s team.
  • You can’t sell items from every product category since all of them aren’t GTIN exempted. In other words, your business prospects will remain confined to certain product niches.
  • GTIN barcodes that include UPCs have become a requirement for retail products in almost every marketplace. Therefore, you will find it difficult to sell your products outside of Amazon if they don’t have UPCs.

What’s the Difference between UPC and FNSKU?

Both UPC and FNSKU are affixed on products in a barcode form. Therefore, they can create confusion for those who are just starting their career as Amazon sellers. Here, we’ll try to tell apart these two Amazon product identifiers and barcodes in the simplest way possible.


  • It is a general/universal product barcode not exclusive to Amazon.
  • UPC’s 12-digit numeric code is used as a product ID when you create a listing on Amazon like other GTINs.
  • It doesn’t matter if the UPC barcode is affixed on a product when you opt for FBA.
  • UPC labels come from a third party and at a certain fee.


  • It is a barcode exclusive to Amazon that helps in easier handling and processing of products at Amazon’s fulfillment centers.
  • FNSKUs always have to cover and hide UPC labels when you fulfill your orders through FBA
  • FNSKU labels are not required when you fulfill your orders on your own.
  • Only Amazon can generate FNSKUs and don’t charge sellers anything for it (You need to, however, pay a fee if you want Amazon to put FNSKU labels on your products)

What If You Can’t Get GTIN Exemption?

There are some product categories where you can’t sell without UPC even if you have your private label. For instance, Amazon doesn’t allow products that belong to niches like music, videos, and sexual wellness without UPC no matter if they are classified as generic or private label.

You will have to buy UPCs for selling in such restricted product categories. Fortunately, buying UPC is not very difficult either. We’ve already covered how you can buy UPCs without a hassle [insert link].

In short, you need to go to GS1’s website (a not-for-profit organization that sets out global business standards) and order your UPC. You can go for an individual UPC as well as bulks of 10, 100, 1,000, 10,000, and 100,000.

Final Words

We hope that now you have the information needed to list products without UPC. To sum it up, you can request for GTIN exemption to list and sell products on Amazon without UPN if you sell:

  • Handmade products
  • Private-label products
  • Generic products that come without any UPC

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Navigating the complexities of UPCs and GTIN exemptions is just one part of the Amazon selling puzzle. Another crucial aspect is optimizing your product listings for maximum visibility and sales. That's where ZonGuru's new Listing Optimizer comes in. This cutting-edge tool, backed by ChatGPT-4 AI technology, offers you the ability to auto-generate or rewrite existing Amazon listings using the most effective keywords in your category.

What makes it a game-changer? The Listing Optimizer features an Optimization and Listing Strength scoring system, providing real-time insights into your listing's performance. It even allows for competitive analysis against up to 8 ASINs, giving you a comprehensive view of where you stand in the market. Whether you're a private label seller or dealing with GTIN exemptions, this tool is designed to give you a competitive edge. Experience it yourself by signing up for our FREE 7-day trial.

Take Control w/ AI Prompting

Can AI Write a Better Listing Than You?

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