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Being the biggest online marketplace, Amazon handles many products across gazillions of categories. Therefore, Amazon asks sellers to list items with standardized product IDs recognized worldwide. Those IDs significantly help Amazon with cataloging and also prevent counterfeiting. 

GTIN is the globally standardized product ID Amazon uses. However, it is not the only product ID used on Amazon. There are many other acronyms (SKUs, FNSKUs, ASINs, etc) as well. Then, GTIN numbers also have more than one type. 

It often gets difficult for sellers who are just starting out to wrap their heads around the role and use of different Amazon product IDs, especially GTIN numbers. 

This blog post will act as a primer for all those sellers who want to understand what GTIN numbers are, how to get them, and how they are different from other product identifiers on Amazon. 

What Is Global Trade Item Number?  

Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an 8-14 digit long standardized product identifying system. GTINs are the unique product codes assigned by Global Standards 1 (GS1) and recognized across the globe. GTIN numbers provide a common nomenclature to businesses all over the world for in-store product checkouts, warehouse cataloging, and online product databases. 

Types of GTINs 

Different GTIN data structure types along with their barcodes

Credit: GTIN Info

GTIN primarily has four different classifications. All those GTIN types are used in data carriers such as barcodes or RFID (radio frequency identification). 

  • GTIN-8: It is an 8-digit product ID mainly used in regions other than North America. It is also called EAN or UCC-8.
  • GTIN-12: It is a 12-digit number more prevalent in the North American region. It is also known as UPC. 
  • GTIN-13: It is a 13-digit number. It is also primarily used outside North America and referred to as EAN or UCC-13.
  • GTIN-14: It is a 14-digit number used for all sorts of products worldwide.

Types of Global Trade Item Numbers on Amazon

As per GTIN management standard, Amazon recognizes Global Trade Item Numbers under these four titles. 

  • Universal Product Code (UPC) (GTIN-12)
  • European Article Number (EAN) (GTIN-8 and GTIN-13)
  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN) (GTIN-13)
  • Japanese Article Number (JAN) (GTIN-13)

How to Get a GTIN for Amazon?

If you’ve opted for the wholesale model, your product will already have a GTIN. Identify the GTIN type by looking at the packaging and spotting the barcode along with the string of digits. However, if you’re a private-label seller with a Brand registry, you may have to get a GTIN for your products. 

You can apply for the unique GTIN for your private-label product at GS1— a non-profit organization that helms the GTIN standardization. 

A single GTIN will cost you $30 (lifetime subscription). But if you have a growing product line, you can opt for the “Company Prefix” subscription model. This option lets you get multiple GTINs simultaneously. Also, GS1 offers you to identify locations, packaging types, etc through the GTIN with the Company Prefix subscription. 

The pricing of the Prefix subscription model’s bundled packages

Is a GTIN Mandatory for Amazon?

GTINs are necessary to add with Amazon listings for most product categories. Whether creating a new product page or offering an existing listing, a seller needs to link their products with globally recognized product IDs. You can use any GTIN (UPC, EAN, ISBN, and JAN) to have standardized product identification for your listing items. 

However, sometimes, you can also list a product without a GTIN. The following section will discuss how you can do that.

What Is a GTIN Exemption on Amazon?

While a GTIN is mandatory for most items, Amazon also offers GTIN exemptions where products don't have any existing ID. This exemption usually comes into play for private-label items. For instance, if you are selling private-labeled clothing items and beauty products, you’re eligible to apply for a GTIN exemption. 

On the other hand, there is no room for GTIN exemptions for most electronic products. So whether you're selling a major brand or private label electronic item, you will need a GTIN to list your item. 

Amazon offers a complete list of product categories and GTIN requirements for them.

Note: Even if your product falls into a category where a GTIN exemption is allowed, you won’t be automatically qualified for exemption. Instead, you will have to apply for it, and Amazon has the discretion to allow or disallow you the GTIN exemption. 

How Do I Get a GTIN Exemption on Amazon?

You can apply for a GTIN exemption if you fulfill the following criteria.

  • You sell handmade or private-label products.
  • You sell products that usually don't come with GTIN, e.g. mobile and automotive accessories.
  • You sell a bundled pack of products, e.g. a set of books or a bundle of socks.
  • You sell a brand not among the 3004 products that Amazon categorically marks for GTIN inclusion.

Preparation for GTIN Exemption

Be mindful of these things when you’re applying for a GTIN exemption.

  • You must have a minimum of two real-world pictures of the product and packaging. 
  • The brand/product name in the exemption application should exactly match the name given on the product and packaging.
  • Product/packaging should contain permanent branding.

Applying for a GTIN Exemption

  • Open Apply for a GTIN exemption page, select the product category and mention the brand to see if you’re eligible for GTIN exemption. For unbranded and bundled items, type “generic”. 

  • If you select a generic brand, you’re most likely to get automatic exemption approval. You don't need to submit any proof (product/packaging images) in such a case. Instead, you can simply proceed to list your item by clicking on "Add a product". 

  • If you enter a brand not exempted from GTIN submission, you will see this window. You will need to get the GTIN for the product you want to list in such a case.

  • If you enter a brand exempted from GTIN submission, you will see the below window. Next, click on the Continue to submit proof button to upload the product/packaging images.
  • Enter the product name and upload images covering all sides of the product and packaging. Make sure the brand logo is visible in the uploaded images. 
  • After clicking on the Submit request button, you will see this notification. Usually, you will get approved within a couple of hours. Check your Case Log to see the GTIN exemption approval notification. 
  • This is the GTIN exemption approval email you’ll receive from Amazon.
C:\Users\Rathore\Documents\May 22\What Is GTIN Number\gtin-exemption-approved-email.jpg

GTIN and Other Product Identifiers on Amazon

GTINs are not the only product identifiers used on Amazon. You will come across some other product identifiers as well.

ASIN

ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. It is like Amazon’s Social Security Number that the platform assigns to every item listed on its marketplaces. In other words, Amazon takes care of its entire product database through ASINs. Sellers can also search by ASIN to see if they are eligible to sell a particular product. 

Amazon itself generates ASINs, and these product IDs are mentioned on every product page. Unlike GTINs, ASINs are only relevant on Amazon.

FNSKU

FNSKU stands for Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit. It is an Amazon-generated barcode that the platform uses to associate a product with its seller. In FBA, this barcode is used to track a product across the fulfillment process. As an FBA seller, you need to get the auto-generated FNSKUs for your products from the Seller Central account and affix them to the packaging. 

SKU

SKU stands for Stock Keeping Unit. It is a short alphanumeric code that sellers can assign to their products. SKU offers a convenient way to keep track of products that usually have long names. Also, It’s mandatory to assign SKUs and mention them while listing an item.

FAQ

Before we sign off, it is important to answer some of the most recurring questions on GTINs.

Is GTIN the Same As Barcode?

GTIN is a product ID, and a barcode is a data carrier. So they are not the same. However, GTINs can be encoded in barcodes for easy scanning/tracking of products.

Is a GTIN the Same As a UPC?

Yes, GTIN and UPC are the same because UPC is essentially a 12-digit standard GTIN commonly used with products sold and bought in North American markets. 

GTIN vs. EAN: What’s the Difference?

There is no difference between GTIN and EAN as well. Like UPC, EAN is also an 8 and 13-digit variant of GTINs. 

Final Words

We hope that the above discussion clears all the confusion surrounding GTIN numbers. GTIN is an internationally recognized standard product identifier. It is also used on Amazon as UPC, EAN, ISBN, and JAN. For most product categories and brands, you need a GTIN to list your product. However, you get GTIN exemption for some brands and most private-label products. 

Want the list of best keywords to optimize your GTIN-exempted listing? Read this guide to find out how to run a deep search and unearth the most relevant keywords for your listing within a couple of minutes. 

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