Essential Guide to Getting UPC Codes for Amazon

Woman scanning barcode with phone

Essential Guide to Getting UPC Codes for Amazon

When you have as many things to store and sell as Amazon does, you'll need a system to keep track of them. Thus, Amazon's American marketplace uses a unique code known as UPC codes for a majority of their products sold.

Unfortunately, if you sell anything on their website, you will not be provided with UPC numbers for your items.

You'll have to get these yourself and make sure they're included with every item you sell. 

While the process may appear scary to a novice seller, it is actually rather straightforward.

The non profit organization GS1 is the greatest site to get Amazon UPC codes. Amazon only accepts this provider, and they use their database to check the authenticity of each barcode. This is why GS1 is the best place to buy a UPC code as an Amazon seller for your Amazon store.

But how do you actually start getting UPC codes for your own brand and products? What are the processes involved? 

Phone screen displaying QR code

What Exactly are UPC Codes?

Before we delve deeper into the process of getting UPC codes, let's touch upon what they are. 

The Universal Product Code, or UPC code, is a 12-digit barcode that is used to identify individual products. Essentially, they are a unique identifier or product id.

To give you an example, almost everything you buy at a store has a scannable barcode on the box. The UPC is the 12-digit number beneath the barcode.

The product associated with that barcode will appear in the store's system or in the Amazon search results when the barcode is scanned or entered like a global trade item number into a search engine like Amazon.

Why you Need UPC Codes

When a UPC code is scanned, retailers can see what the item is, as well as the brand name, size, color, and other pertinent details. This makes inventory tracking in a warehouse a breeze and speeds up the checkout process significantly.

UPC codes reduce the need for product information and check digit to be manually entered.

This is crucial for huge merchants like Amazon, with complex business communication and store millions of items in their warehouses on a monthly basis.

Does Amazon Require UPC Codes?

To do business and sell products on Amazon, you'll need UPC codes. Much like brick and mortar stores, UPC codes are used by Amazon's system to create a unique product identifier.

It's essential so you can quickly fill out the 'Product ID' area when establishing a new listing to sell. 

Other codes, such as ASIN, GTIN, and EAN codes, are also available. However, UPC is universally accepted and is the most extensively used identifying standard on the market.

Amazon needs to make sure the brand name used to create the new listing matches the brand name in the GS1 database that is linked to the UPC.

The GS1 organization is the global standard for product barcodes, and it is with them that Amazon verifies your UPC.

If the UPC does not match the information provided by GS1, Amazon will reject your product listing and will not allow you to list it.

How to get a UPC Code for Amazon?

Person taking photo of package

Always purchase your UPCs from GS1 when creating a private label product. GS1 is a non-profit company that monitors and maintains legitimate product barcodes for millions of businesses across the globe.

You'll often find that there are a plethora of third party websites that offer UPC codes. They're best avoided. These codes are likely to be utilized, and your listings may be removed from Amazon. 

Applying for and purchasing UPC codes for Amazon from the GS1 US website is a preferable option. You can trust GS1 US because it establishes the global standard for UPC codes.

Purchasing codes from GS1

To purchase UPC codes and get your own code, go to the GS1 website and click on the "Apply for a Barcode" button. For $30, you can get a single UPC from GS1 with no annual charge.

It's a useful alternative for companies who are just getting started and want to launch one product at a time.

GS1 company prefix

This is the part of your UPC code that shows and represents your company. Depending on how many products you require codes for, it can be anything from 6 to 10 digits.

If you'll need more UPCs, your company prefix will be shorter to accommodate more product numbers.

You'll also need to decide how many UPC codes you'll need, as well as your pricing strategy (there's an initial price and a renewal fee), and complete the application at this point for your company prefix.

Provide information for your GTIN

GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) are numbers that appear in an Amazon UPC code and indicate what the item is. This number's length is determined by the length of your company's prefix.

Simply put, you'll need to determine and provide information about what kind of product packaging you'll be selling.

Labeling your items with UPC codes

This is where you tell us if you need a barcode that will be read at checkout if you'll be selling things online, and if you'll require warehouse barcodes.

You can either get a digital file to give to your manufacturers or print them off and apply them yourself on your items.

Create your UPC barcodes

After completing the steps above, you're finally ready to start printing your Amazon UPC code. You can opt for either a digital file or prints for scannable UPC code.

Be sure to update your product listings to show that your retail products have the appropriate UPC code for Amazon.

Getting UPC Codes from Manufacturers

Person scanning QR code on package

You can use Amazon UPC codes from manufacturers when creating listings if you buy things from a source to sell on Amazon and they have one.

When you create your seller account, it's pre-configured to track inventory for FBA purposes using the manufacturer's code.

You can adjust this setting at any time to suit your needs, whether you wish to fulfill orders yourself or through FBA.

Proper Placement of UPC Barcodes

If you're making your own private label goods but haven't yet had the packaging produced, you can send your suppliers a digital file of your code.

They'll be able to embed your code straight into your packaging, eliminating the need for you to label your products.

If your packaging is already printed, or if you have another type of product that requires a UPC number, you can order adhesive barcode labels and stick them on your products.

Make sure your new UPC code code is not too close to the packaging's edge. It must also be printed in clear detail, have the correct size, and have enough white space around it to be scanned.

What you Should do Before Buying UPC Codes

For Amazon sellers, spending their hard-earned money to buy Amazon UPC codes can be a costly ordeal. Therefore, you'll want to make sure that everything goes smoothly. Here are a few things you need to consider before actually going through with the purchase:

Determine how many you'll need

Person taking picture of QR code on package

Individual or same product, as well as bundles, will require their individual UPCs. Take a few minutes to figure out how many barcodes and UPC codes for Amazon you'll need because buying in bulk usually results in better prices.

Pricing plans

While buying in bulk should result in lower prices, a pricing plan goes a step further. If you are a small firm with a limited number of products, you can purchase a single UPC or GS1 US GTIN for an initial fee of $30 each, with no renewal price.

Businesses that require more than nine UPCs should use the GS1 Company Prefix model, which is designed to assist companies to manage a bigger product line and scale their operations. There is a $250 startup initial fee and a $50 annual renewal fee.

Also worth mentioning is that you'll need a new UPC code if you plan on putting your inventory in an Amazon fulfillment center while waiting to be sold in the Amazon marketplace.

What if you Encounter UPC Code Mishaps

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There are several reasons why Amazon may inform you that your UPC is invalid.

Sometimes a listing with the proper information already exists, but yours contains the wrong UPC codes for Amazon.

If this is the case, remove your listing and replace it with the correct one. Even if there isn't a right listing, you should delete the one you have, and then make a new one with the correct information.

Private Labels

If you have private label products, you don't have to bother about obtaining a UPC from another brand owner, which makes things a little easier.

You can also choose which things to sell separately and which to bundle, and then obtain UPCs for each. You must, however, follow the regulations for obtaining UPCs from GS1 and ensuring that all of your listings are genuine.

If you have Amazon Brand Registry, you can list your product without a UPC. To do so, contact Seller Support using your Seller Central account and request that the key attribute be changed to something other than a UPC.

Conclusion

Amazon barcode and UPC codes might be perplexing for sellers, but if you understand how they work, getting codes to identify products isn't difficult.

To sum it all up: You'll need a UPC code if you're selling on Amazon and your brand isn't registered. GS1 or a GS1 reseller can provide you with a UPC code.

If you're utilizing Amazon FBA, you'll also need to make sure that all of your items have a UPC code or an Amazon code before shipping.

Also important to note is to never hesitate to get assistance if you're unsure how to handle things.

There are Amazon management partners who can provide valuable expertise to make sure you have everything you need to get UPC codes for Amazon and apply them to your products.

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