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.
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.
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).
As per GTIN management standard, Amazon recognizes Global Trade Item Numbers under these four titles.
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.
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.
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.
You can apply for a GTIN exemption if you fulfill the following criteria.
Be mindful of these things when you’re applying for a GTIN exemption.
GTINs are not the only product identifiers used on Amazon. You will come across some other product identifiers as well.
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 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 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.
Before we sign off, it is important to answer some of the most recurring questions on GTINs.
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.
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.
There is no difference between GTIN and EAN as well. Like UPC, EAN is also an 8 and 13-digit variant of GTINs.
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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