UPC Codes

The Ultimate Guide to UPC Codes


You need UPC codes for each of your products whether you’re selling on Amazon or your own website. UPCs (Unique Product Codes) allow your company, distributors, and customers to quickly receive product information by scanning the code.

Every Amazon product, bundle or kit must have its own unique product code. Our expectation is that Amazon will start enforcing UPC checks in accordance with Global Standard 1 (GS1) to ensure product legitimacy.

Are you familiar with UPCs and how can you make sure your products are coded correctly and according to Amazon’s and global standards?

What is the GS1 standard?

Barcodes are encoded using Global Standard 1 (GS1). One of the world’s only legal international databases for supply chain barcodes is maintained by this non-profit organization.

GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) are issued by GS1 to every supplier and company. There are three types of official codes for different types of products: country, industry, and type.

UPCs – what are they?

Computers and systems use barcodes to identify which items belong to a given order. Product descriptions, stock quantity, and price are displayed when the barcode is scanned. A business can also make better use of inventory, metrics, and individual product sales with a POS system.

GTINs are also referred to as product barcodes by GS1. It can be eight, twelve, thirteen, or fourteen digits long, depending on the type of product. GTIN stands for Global Trade Identification Number, and it is in the form of a string of numbers. As far as barcodes go, GS1 supports two main types: UPC and EAN.

Unique Product Codes (UPCs) are product barcodes in their original format. A series of 12 digits is displayed underneath these lines and bars. GS1 calls them GTIN-12s since they have 12 digits.

United States and Canada use UPCs as their primary barcodes. EANs (European Article Numbers) are more commonly used in other countries that can read and scan UPC codes. In addition to the UPC, International Article Numbers have different country codes and slightly different lengths from UPCs.‍

What is the process for getting UPC codes?

Are you thinking about where to buy Barcodes? Amazon and beyond can only get UPC codes from GS1. For this reason, you should buy your UPC codes directly from GS1. Several companies, including Amazon, use this standard resource to check the validity of a UPC.

It is possible to purchase UPCs from a number of retailers, including eBay. It’s possible for you to get into legal trouble if you do not purchase directly through GS1. You will likely find a UPC already registered to a third party website if you purchase it from one. As a result of this, your company won’t receive a specific prefix, which may lead to delegitimization in the long run.

It is also a good idea to avoid parties who sell duplicate UPC codes. It is possible to find “fake” UPCs that can be attributed to lots of products. You could risk your business’s legal standing overall if you do this since it confuses and upsets your customers. A listing that doesn’t have a valid, GS1-backed UPC will be removed from Amazon.

What is the GS1 process for getting codes?

1. Obtain an organization prefix.

Along the supply chain, your company prefix serves as an identifier. By using UPC codes and products specific to your brand, you can create a portfolio of products.

A UPC barcode will contain your fixed company prefix in the first six or nine digits. Regardless of which UPC prefix you purchase for your products, it remains the same.

Business owners tend to opt for the less safe “resold UPC” route due to the cost of purchasing the company prefix.

It can cost as much as $10,000 to acquire a GS1 company prefix, depending on your number of products. Additionally, you will have to pay $50 to $3000 for an annual renewal.

While GS1 is expensive, buying from them offsets the financial and legal risks associated with purchasing fake UPCs from resellers.

2. Generate the product number.

There should be a unique number for each of your products. It should be separate for each SKU. Each color variation of a shirt requires its own UPC if it comes in three colors.

A set of product numbers will be provided to you by GS1 once you submit the application with the number of products you requested. You can number your products yourself since they won’t give each one a number.

Your UPC must always be 12 digits if you are selling on Amazon. GSI’s unique product number and the company prefix represent the first 11, while the 12th number is a GSI-generated “check digit.”. Your country code will also appear in the first number.

The final chapter

You can be confident that you are getting your UPC codes from GS1 legitimately. If you do this, you’ll be able to sell your products on Amazon, your website, in box stores, and other platforms in the United States as well as overseas.