For beginners and experienced Amazon sellers alike, a conversation about barcodes can be an awkward one. That's because the whole topic is confusing as heck, and no doubt you have a lot of questions.
What are UPC codes? What is a GTIN?
Why do I need a GTIN exemption, and how do I get one?
And then there's ISBN, EAN, and JAN. What do they mean?
That's a lot of acronyms that you need to know, and we're about to cover them all and most importantly, explain what a GTIN exemption from Amazon is and how you can get one.
What is a Global Trade Item Number? (GTIN)
Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN for short, is also often referred to as a 'product ID'. To understand what a GTIN is, you should first learn what a UPC is. Luckily for you, it's actually pretty simple.
A UPC is a Universal Product Code, which is actually just a type of barcode most commonly used in North America. We'll explain more about that later.
The GTIN is the small portion of the UPC (barcode) where the numbers are. The GTIN is a 12-digit on a UPC, and it's a unique sequence of numbers that contains a company prefix (first 6 digits), product number (next 5 digits) and finally a check number (last digit).
There's an entire history behind UPC's and GTIN's but you really only need to have a basic understanding in order to learn more about GTIN exemptions.
What is a UPC, ISBN, EAN and JAN?
These are all barcode identifiers, but first let's define each one so you know what they stand for.
UPC - Universal Product Code
The UPC is the most common barcode used in North America.
ISBN - International Standard Book Number
The barcode you find on books, DVD's, CD's, ebooks and software is an ISBN.
EAN - European Article Number
The EAN is a 13-digit barcode used in most of the world on most products, with the exception of the USA and Canada where the UPC is more common.
JAN - Japanese Article Number
You might have guessed it, but a JAN is a barcode used exclusively in Japan.
Now you've got a little more information about the different types of barcodes and GTIN's, let's explore everything you need to know about Amazon GTIN exemption.
What do I Need to Apply for Amazon GTIN Exemption?
If you want to sell a product that doesn't already exist on Amazon, and the product doesn't have a barcode on it, then you might be able to apply for a GTIN exemption.
In order to apply to sell products without a GTIN, you will need to meet one of the following criteria:
- The product falls under the category of handmade products
- Your product is a bundled pack of multiple items
- You're a private label seller, which means you have your own brand of products that do not have barcodes
- The products you want to sell are parts or accessories. Automotive parts or mobile accessories like phone cases or covers are a good example of this.
Applying to Sell Without a Product ID (GTIN Exemption)
The first thing you need to do is ensure whether it fits into one of the categories we just mentioned above. You will also need to check the Amazon catalog to see if your product exists there.
If you're certain that you fit the criteria to apply for a GTIN exemption, you can follow these steps:
Commence the GTIN exemption application process inside seller central
Simply choose your product category by hitting the 'select' button, and type your brand into the box on the right hand side, or type in 'Generic' if your product is unbranded or if it is a bundle.
Once you hit the yellow "Check for eligibility" button you'll see your approval on the next screen.
Easy as pie, right? It is in this scenario, but if you are applying for a GTIN exemption using a specific brand name, you may have to complete additional verification tasks.
If you want a GTIN exemption for your own brand, you will first need to register for brand registry.
If you have entered a brand name that is eligible for GTIN exemption then you will need to go through the following process:
- Upload at least two photos (up to nine) of the product showing all sides of the packaging
- Provide a supporting letter from the brand owner (if you're not the owner) stating that you have permission
- Enter the product name
- Submit your request, and wait!
You can see that even this process is quite simple. Generally, you will get a response from Amazon within about 48 hours.
How to Create Your New Listing Once Approved
If you're ready to add products after getting GTIN exemption, it's quite easy. You'll first need to login to your seller central account, and go to your inventory management dashboard.
After you select "add product", you may first want to double check that your GTIN exemption request has actually been approved. You can do this on the bottom of the add product screen.
If you're ready to add your product, you will find a link below the input box that you would normally use. Click "I'm adding a product not sold on Amazon" and you will be able to enter all of the details for your GTIN exemption approved product.
Obviously, you won't have to enter anything in the Product ID fields.
So there it is, now you know how to list products on Amazon without a GTIN or UPC.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a GTIN Number on Amazon?
The terms GTIN and UPC are often used interchangeably, and for the most part they're all actually called a Product ID on Amazon. No matter which way you look at it, these are all ways of identifying products on Amazon.
Do I need a Universal Product Code (UPC) to sell on Amazon?
You don't, in certain circumstances, but if you do it's very easy to get one. You will need to use GS1US.org to be sure that you purchase a UPC that is yours alone. A little hack to get one cheaper is to use one for the GS1 sites overseas like the U.K.
What is a Difference Between GTIN and UPC?
A UPC is a type of barcode and the GTIN is the sequence of numbers on the barcode.
What is an FNSKU Code?
FNSKU is short for Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit. This is the product identifier that Amazon FBA sellers get for their products to help track their movements through Amazon's warehouses and fulfillment centers.
What is an ASIN?
ASIN is short for Amazon Standard Identification Number. Every single product on Amazon, and their variants, are given a unique 10-digit ASIN for product identification purposes.
What if You're Not Eligible for a GTIN Exemption?
If for whatever reason you are not eligible for a GTIN exemption, you will need to purchase your own UPC for each and every variant of your product.
The best place to purchase UPC's is somewhere like GS1US.org. Beware, there are a lot of other scammers out there that will sell you recycle barcodes.
If you buy a cheap and nasty barcode and it turns out to be recycled, meaning its been used for another product already, then you risk losing your Amazon account.
Prices start at $30 for a single UPC and get cheaper per UPC as the quantity increases.
GTIN Exemption Summary
We could have kept this article super short and sweet just by going through the GTIN exemption steps, but it's important to understand the terminology and the reasons for different parts of the process.
Arming yourself with all this information will make you a better Amazon seller, and we will all prosper.