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How to get a UPC code for Amazon? Beginner Guide 2024

The devil, they say, lies in the details, and that is particularly true in the fiercely contested e-commerce sector, and even more so on the biggest e-commerce platform in the world, Amazon. One such detail is the Universal Product Code (UPC), which is often disregarded by retailers but is very critical for a product listing on Amazon. 

For starters, the UPC is a 12-digit number that is used to uniquely identify a product and its seller on Amazon’s marketplace. These codes are Amazon’s version of a barcode and are necessary for a product to be listed on Amazon. Apart from product identification, there are several other reasons why Amazon considers this coding system to be an integral part of its operations.

UPCs can be confusing for many new sellers, so we will explore the world of Amazon FBA UPC codes, explaining the what, why, and how of UPCs so that you can better understand their significance in your Amazon selling journey. Let’s dive in How to get a UPC code for Amazon and figure out what weird numbers on Amazon mean.

Understanding the Basics of UPC Codes

Understanding the Basics of UPC Codes

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12-digit number used for identifying a product on Amazon. Due to their importance in tracking products in stores, Amazon also uses them for inventory management, sales records, and other purposes.

A UPC consists of a barcode and a 12-digit number. Scanning the barcode translates the numerical code into information that can be processed by a computer.

A global organization known as ‘GS1’ (more on that later) allocates the first six to nine digits of the UPC to a retailer to uniquely identify a product. The next two to five digits are the product number, which the retailers assign themselves. The last number is a “check digit,” which is used to make sure that all the other numbers are entered correctly.

Now you might be wondering how to find the UPC on a product. This is where tools like ‘UPC code lookup free’ come in handy. These are essentially online websites with a simple search bar, where you can enter the UPC of a product, hit ‘Enter’, and get all the information about it. These tools are a great help when researching products to sell, allowing sellers to make sure that the details are correct.

On Amazon’s platform, UPC codes are the way that products are identified. Whether you run a small business or a large one, if you wish to list your products on Amazon, there is no other choice but to get UPC identifiers first. 

Related: How To Convert ASIN To UPC

The Process of Creating a UPC Code

The Process of Creating a UPC Code

First off, you cannot actually ‘create’ your own UPC code and have Amazon happily recognize it too, despite whatever some free UPC code generator for Amazon tools might have you believe. Even if you create one, it would be worthless without the recognition of GS1. 

Now, a quick rundown on GS1: this is a global organization overseeing the process of UPC code generation. This organization helps standardize all UPC codes, and its seal of approval is necessary for a UPC code to be accepted by Amazon. Understanding how to create UPC codes for your products simply boils down to ‘requesting’ one from GS1, and you will to follow a standardized process to get it done. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to get a UPC code for Amazon:

  1. Apply for a GS1 Company Prefix

Your company’s unique identifier, also known as the GS1 Company Prefix, is the first six to nine digits of the UPC code. You can get this by submitting an application on the GS1 website. The number of products for which you require individual codes will determine the total length of the prefix.

Keep in mind that you can only get the GS1 company prefix for the marketplace where your business is based. i.e., if you want a company prefix for the US market, your business needs to be registered in the USA, and you need to be a member of GS1 US.

  1. Assign Product Numbers

The next step after obtaining your GS1 Company Prefix is to give each of your products its own GS1 Product Number. The next two to five digits of your UPC code will consist of this number, depending on how many digits your company prefix is. Keep in mind that each size or color option must have its separate product number.

  1. Calculate the Check Digit

The final digit of your UPC code is a check digit. This is calculated based on the preceding 11 digits of your UPC code. The purpose of the check digit is to ensure the rest of the UPC code was entered (or scanned) correctly. GS1 provides a formula to calculate this digit.

  1. Generate the Full UPC Code

With all the components of a UPC code firmly in your hands, you can go ahead with generating full 12-digit UPC codes for all your products. 

Amazon has a no-nonsense policy regarding UPC codes, and it is pertinent to ensure that the UPC codes you’re using for your products are legitimate and unique to avoid issues with Amazon’s strict product listing policies. For this reason, it is recommended that you take all the UPC code generators on Google with a pinch of salt.

‘Creating’ a UPC code might come across as intimidating at first, but once you figure out the process and the meaning of each individual part of the code, you’ll find it to be actually quite simple. Take your time when creating these UPCs; they are essential to your success as an Amazon seller.

Related: What is the difference between UPC and GTIN exemption?

The Process of Buying UPC Codes

The Process of Buying UPC Codes

We told you how to ‘generate’ UPC codes; now let’s take a look at where can i get a upc code for amazon.

This process is about acquiring a Company Prefix, with actual money, if you want to do away with the requesting part. 

Many Amazon businesses commit the blunder of buying these prefixes from third parties, who are actually reselling those after having bought them from an original provider before. This creates a lot of confusion during the actual identification process, and when Amazon discovers that your UPC does not match the one registered in the GS1 database, it starts seeing you as an untrustworthy seller, and you know the rest.

The solution is simple: start spending money. You’ll have to shell out some cash to buy legitimate UPC codes from GS2, and here is what you need to do:

  • Visit the GS1 website.
  • Apply for a GS1 Company Prefix.
  • Decide how many UPC codes you need, which is the number of products you intend to sell on Amazon. A unique UPC number is required for every variation of a product. 
  • Pay the corresponding fees to GS1. 
  • Once you receive your GS1 Company Prefix, you can generate your unique UPC code for it.

How to Get a UPC Code for Amazon

How to Get a UPC Code for Amazon

The best place to buy UPC codes is directly from GS1. This ensures that the codes are unique to your company and products. While there are third-party companies that sell UPC codes, these are often recycled or reused codes that can lead to complications down the line. Amazon has strict UPC guidelines and has been known to remove listings or suspend seller accounts that use illegitimate UPC codes.

Therefore, when you’re buying UPC codes, it’s recommended to purchase directly from GS1. It might be more expensive, but it offers peace of mind that your listings won’t be removed due to UPC issues.

Remember, as an Amazon seller, following Amazon’s guidelines is essential for maintaining your seller account and building a successful business. Buying UPC codes directly from GS1 is an important part of this process.

Related: How do I get a UPC code? 

The Importance of UPC Codes in Amazon

The Importance of UPC Codes in Amazon

UPC codes are Amazon’s by-default identification system, and the E-Commerce giant takes it very seriously. Apart from identification, these codes serve many other purposes which make them very important to how Amazon functions. 

Here are some of the factors behind the significance of UPC codes for Amazon:

  • UPC codes are Amazon’s keycards for product listings. No UPC code means no product listing, period.
  • UPC codes fulfill the Amazon UPC requirements that aim to maintain product authenticity and prevent the sale of counterfeit items. 
  • Each UPC code is unique to a specific product. This means when you list a product with its corresponding UPC code, you are ensuring Amazon and the customer that this is a genuine product.
  • UPC codes are also integral to Amazon’s inventory management. At any stage in the Amazon supply chain, the UPC code (also known as the “Amazon product barcode”) can be scanned to reveal comprehensive product details. This description includes the product’s name, seller, price, and more. With this information, Amazon can efficiently manage inventory, monitor product movement, and fulfill customer orders.
  • UPC codes are pivotal in improving the shopping experience for customers. When a customer searches for a product, Amazon uses the UPC to match the search with the correct product. Furthermore, customers can also use the UPC to verify the authenticity of a product and compare prices across different platforms.
  • UPC code acts as a universal language that bridges the gap between sellers, Amazon, and customers. It is an essential tool that ensures smooth operations, maintains product authenticity, and enhances customer satisfaction. As an Amazon seller, understanding and meeting the Amazon UPC requirements are crucial steps towards establishing a successful online business.

More recently, Amazon has gone on to harden its stance regarding UPC codes by announcing that it will now check each product’s UPC against GS1’s database to ensure each code’s authenticity and legitimacy. If a UPC code doesn’t match the GS1 database or Amazon suspects any wrongdoing in its usage, the listing won’t be accepted and will be taken down, with the seller predictably coming under Amazon’s radar for all the wrong reasons.

Conclusion

The Universal Product Codes (UPC) are a critical aspect of selling on Amazon. These twelve-digit codes are the Amazon equivalent of barcodes and are required for listings. It is crucial for Amazon sellers to have a firm grasp on the fundamentals of Universal Product Codes (UPCs), including all their individual components and how to generate them. 

While there are ways for sellers to generate free UPC codes for Amazon, they are not reliable because Amazon vigorously checks these codes for authenticity. The best option is to buy these codes, which should also be done with caution, because there are third-party sellers who could be reselling codes purchased from someone else, which is sure to irk Amazon’s ire if found out.

GS1 is the ideal source to buy UPC codes from, because the company has put in place stringent measures to ensure the authenticity of codes it issues. Buying UPC codes from a source other than GS1 can cause complications, so it’s best to get them from GS1 themselves.

UPC codes serve multiple purposes, including product identification, inventory tracking, and providing additional information to shoppers. Recent actions taken by Amazon to ensure the validity of UPC codes highlight their importance and the consequences of not complying. 

Keep visiting Amazon Seller Forum to know more about how Amazon functions, and how to improve your selling experience on this platform. 

FAQs:

What is UPC in Amazon?

Universal Product Code (UPC) is a 12-digit number that Amazon uses to identify products and sellers on its marketplace.

How to get UPC code for Amazon?

Here is how you can get UPC code to list your products on Amazon’s marketplace:

  • Visit the code issuing organization’s (GS1) website.
  • Apply for a GS1 Company Prefix.
  • Decide how many UPC codes you want to sell, and need the UPC codes for. 
  • Pay whatever fees GS1 asks for. 
  • Generate your unique UPC code after getting the GS1 company prefix from GS1.

Can I list on Amazon without UPC code?

No. Universal Product Code (UPC) is Amazon’s very own system of identifying and tracking each product on its platform, and Amazon requires a UPC code for each product to be listed on its marketplace.

February 2, 2024

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