Using Barcodes (GTINs) on Amazon

Since 2008, Amazon has required a barcode (GTIN) to list new products on their platform.  When creating a new Private Seller listing on Amazon the EAN-13 and UPC-A formats we supply can be entered into the product ID field.  Many of our customers use our barcodes to create Amazon listings without any issues.   However, Amazon is a massive global company who use a complex, privately coded P.O.S system.   As such, there are some known barcode acceptance limitations and exceptions to GTIN usage on Amazon.

Limitations with using third party (re-seller) barcodes on Amazon

The barcodes we supply originate with the Uniform Code Council (UCC, the original GS1-US system) and have correctly calculated check digits.  They will validate on Amazon’s integrated forms and can be used to create new product listings.  There are however some differences with using our numbers as opposed to using barcodes obtained directly from GS1 Australia.

GS1’s GEPIR Database

Amazon states on their website that they will check against GS1’s database for brand verification. While our numbers originate with GS1 (formerly UCC), a GEPIR search will show the first holder of the barcodes.  GS1 does not update records of UCC era codes beyond the first holder. There are no barcode re-sellers who can add your company details to GEPIR.

To have your brand appear on GEPIR you must join GS1 and pay annual license fees to maintain your barcodes. If you are using re-seller codes and Amazon manually checks the GEPIR database, you may have to take one or more of the following additional steps to verify brand ownership.

a) “a letter from the manufacturer/your brand stating that the GTIN you are using to list this product is valid” or
b) photographs of your product displaying the GTIN/barcode on the packaging.

For the vast majority of retailers worldwide, and most Amazon listings created, being seen on GEPIR is not a necessity.  However, checking GEPIR is potentially one of several methods Amazon can use to verify brand identity.  Primarily this concerns Amazon Brand Registry (not Private Seller listings) and serves to resolve unauthorised brand usage, counterfeit claims or duplicate product listings.

Amazon Brand Registry Limitation

We’ve found that Amazon tends to be stricter with Brand Registry listed items preferring direct GS1 membership over third party barcodes. This does not apply to Private Seller listings.  Amazon Brand Registry is a separate platform from Private Seller listings that is aimed at larger companies and requires a registered trademark to qualify. See https://brandservices.amazon.com.au/ for eligibility requirements.  If you intend to apply for Amazon’s Brand Registry platform, we advise obtaining your numbers directly through GS1.

Third party sellers on Amazon range from small sole traders to some of the worlds biggest brands.  Therefore, Amazon’s real world approach to brand verification and GTIN use varies greatly among listings.  The aforementioned policy was quietly announced in 2016. Since then, millions of re-seller codes have entered the Amazon catalogue. Amazon’s communication of this policy is contradictory.  Amazon currently appears to be taking a balanced and realistic approach to help smaller businesses and Private Sellers who cannot afford GS1. Amazon cannot force every small seller into direct GS1 membership.  In many instances, Amazon seller support staff have recommended third party barcodes to smaller businesses.

Ultimately, meeting retailer supplier guidelines is the vendor’s responsibility.  No barcode re-seller can guarantee universal retailer acceptance, and Amazon is no exception.  We strongly advise you make yourself aware of all supplier guidelines, policies and vendor agreements before deciding on purchasing GTINs.

How to Register your Barcode Numbers

Barcodes are simply a unique identifier assigned to a product and recorded in a retailer’s inventory system. When purchasing a barcode package from Oz Barcodes the numbers supplied are unused and ready for assignment.

Assigning your numbers

Firstly the barcode number is assigned by the product owner or company to the desired product.  This is done by selecting an unused number from the supplied barcode numbers txt file e.g. “0743566472514” .  The matching barcode image e.g “0743566472514.eps” is then included on the product artwork file or printed on a label that is affixed to the chosen product.  It is advisable to keep an internal record of code assignments and regularly update it to avoid duplications.  Most of our customers assign their barcodes on an “as needed” basis and work from the top of the list down.

Methods to ensure your retailers can return your product information when scanning the barcode

Retailers all have different requirements. So it is advisable to read your vendor agreements to ensure supply chain requirements and barcode polices are met.  Once your barcode is inluded on your product’s packaging the barcode number has begun doing it’s job of representing your product in the supply chain.  Often retailers will need a little more information about a product when first taking inventory.   Below are some common methods used by retailers to ensure the correct information is returned when scanning.

1. Submitting an Excel Sheet to your retailer that demonstrates your barcode assignments.  This is useful when sending a large inventory e.g. 50 unique products and wish to include detailed product information.  Excel allows for more columns information to be included such as size, price, ingredients etc.  The retailer will manually enter the relevant information into their POS system so the product details will be returned when scanned at POS.

2. In other cases, you’ll be required by your retailer to fill out a vendor form (or product information form) linking your product/company information to the unique barcode number.  The retailer will transfer this information into their inventory system allowing your product to be scanned at POS.

Online Platforms

For e-commerce platforms (Amazon, Ebay, Woocommerce), a field for the “Product ID” or similar is used to enter your barcode number. This is simlar to a vendor form where you’ll be able to enter further product information such as size, weight, ingredients, etc.

Smartphone Apps & Online Databases

For your product’s barcode to be scanned by smartphone apps, you’ll need to register your barcode number and product info with the company or organisation that maintains a database subscribed to by the app developers.  Listing your items with free database sites such as the below will increase the online visibility of your codes & products online.  Additionally, entering your product information on online platforms such as Amazon, Google Merchant and Ebay will allow Google to index your barcode numbers.

https://gtinsearch.org/ (using the former datakick.org’s open source database and Rest API)

https://gtinlookup.org/

https://upcdatabase.org/

How to download and open the .zip folder

We deliver your barcode package instantly to your nominated email address after you clear the checkout. You will find your images, numbers and OCRB human readable font inside a .zip folder attached to the automated email.

The following instructions will assist you in opening the .zip folder to access your files.

For Personal Computers (PC)

1 – Locate and download the folder. You will find the folder attached to the email sent to the email address used at the checkout.
The zip folder will be named according to the number of barcodes purchased for example: 5_barcode_numbers.zip
Hit download to download the file. Make sure to remember the location where your computer downloads to

2 – Locate the folder on your computer.
Unless you have changed the standard download location it will appear in “My Downloads”

3 – Right click on the folder and click on “Extract All” or “Extract Here”. The folder is now unzipped and you can access the files.

For Apple Macintosh (MAC)

1 – Simply double click the folder on your email attachment to access the files.

If you require further assistance opening the zip folder please use the following links for more detailed instructions.

PC: https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/help/14200/windows-compress-uncompress-zip-files
MAC: http://www.winzip.com/mac/en/zip-for-mac.html

Now that your folder is extracted you can access the files. The images are inside labelled folders for example UPC >EPS to access the EPS file type in UPC format or EAN->TIFF to access the TIFF file type in EAN 13 format.

PLEASE NOTE – For the OCRB font to correctly display in image editing programs such as Photoshop or Adobe Illustrator you will need to install the font onto your computer.