See what barcodes you need and how and where to get them
Barcodes are digital symbols that can be scanned electronically. They encode information like product and batch numbers and are an important part of supply chains. Barcodes help identify and track products as they move through the supply chain.
But all the different barcodes needed when shipping with Amazon can be confusing. GTIN, UPC, ASIN, FSKU, and on. So in this article, we’ll explain the difference between the barcodes and when and why you need them.
The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a numeric code of 12, 13, and 14 digits. They are a scannable barcode that is on any item sold around the world.
GTINs can be a UPC (Universal Product Code), EAN (European Article Number), or an ISBN (International Standard Book Number), depending on the product and location.
The UPC is the most common GTIN in North America. UPCs are just one of the ways Amazon tracks products in their database. The EAN is the European equivalent.
UPCs are 12-digit codes that were initially created to accelerate checkout at grocery stores. Now, the main purpose of a UPC is for manufacturers to track inventory from production to distribution, to storefronts, and all the way to the consumers’ homes. They let the manufacturer know when more products are needed at warehouses or in-store. And they also allow manufacturers to alert product buyers about issues, such as recalls. They also identify things such as the product name and features such as size and color.
The first six digits of the UPC are the manufacturer. The next five digits are the product item number, while the last digit is the check digit. It’s generated by adding and multiplying digits in the code to confirm the UPC is valid, otherwise, it won’t scan properly.
When you’re adding your product to Amazon, you’ll need the UPC or other GTIN to create a product listing page. If you don’t need an FNSKU, which we explain next, the UPC may be used in the Amazon fulfillment centers to track and identify your products. You only need one barcode for a product. So if you have 100 of the same item, they will have the same barcode.
To learn more about obtaining your UPC, visit GS1 US.
Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU) is a barcode Amazon uses to track your items in their fulfillment centers and credit your business when they sell. Similar to the UPC, they’re important to have on anything you send to an Amazon warehouse if other sellers may have the same items. Without them, it’s possible another Amazon seller could get credit for your products.
Many sellers on Amazon get their products from the same manufacturer. This means if they all use the same UPC or EAN from the manufacturer there is a good chance they end up comingled when they get to an Amazon fulfillment center. Amazon will suggest when your product needs an FNSKU on the product or shipping label to make sure credit is given to the correct seller.
To get your FNSKU is easy. After setting up your product for Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) and launching it on Amazon.com, Amazon will assign a unique FNSKU to your items.
You can then export the barcodes generated by Amazon and add them to your packaging before you send them to the Amazon warehouse. You can also provide your FNSKUs to the manufacturer to include in your product by printing them directly on the packaging or applying them with a label.
No surprise, the ISBN is used in book publishing. It serves the same purposes for book publishers as UPCs do for other products. The ISBN is 10 digits, or 13 digits if it was published after January 1, 2007. You can get your ISBN at ISBN.org.
The ASIN, Amazon Standard Identification Number, is an Amazon-specific identifier created when a product is uploaded to Amazon. It’s a 10-letter and/or number barcode that is used as a product identifier in the Amazon catalog. Amazon uses it to track inventory, index their product pages to provide better for search on Amazon.com, and it delivers important data about the product to shoppers.
To create a new ASIN, sellers must enter their GTIN, which as mentioned above is most commonly is the UPC, ISBN or EAN. Amazon uses the GTIN to generate a new ASIN or find an existing one.