It is inevitable, you will need to deal with barcodes on Amazon. With a barcode, you ensure that your private label product gets a unique number. This identifies the product inside or outside Amazon. At the beginning, it was quite a challenge for us to figure out how it worked, what type of barcode to use, and how to use barcodes in relation to Amazon. This article will make clear how this process works.
Adding a new product on Amazon:
As soon as you want to add a new product on Amazon, such as your unique private label product, the first crucial information asked is the barcode you’re going to use. What stands out are the multiple options:
The first question you ask, of course, is: ‘which option applies to me? ‘
To clarify the abbreviations:
- GTIN: Global Trade Item Number — generic abbreviation for barcodes
- EAN: European Article Number — this is the type of barcode you’re going to need (unless you’re going to sell a book)
- ISBN: International Standard Book Number — the unique code needed to label books
- GCID: Global Catalog ID — this barcode is generated based on brand registration
- UPC: Universal Product Code — this is the type of barcode needed in the United States
- ASIN: Amazon Standard Identification Number — it’s really true. Amazon is so big that they have their own system to give products a unique code. For example, this code can be used to direct customers immediately to your listing, or the code can be used by customers to find your product directly. In the Marketing Inserts article you can also find a clever way to use the ASIN.
In the case of GTIN, EAN, ISBN and UPC, it’s worth realizing that these types of barcodes are not directly connected to Amazon. For example, the EAN barcode you have for your unique product can be listed on Amazon, as well as on eBay or your own web shop. Later in this article we will come back to how the different barcodes are related to each other.
How do you get the right barcodes?
There are multiple ways to get barcodes. On the internet there are plenty of barcodes sellers selling barcodes at a bargain price. However, when you buy barcodes from a random provider on the internet, you’ll never be sure if the barcode is unique. It is therefore advisable to register with GS1 United Kingdom, even though you need to pay for it annually (starting at €55, – per year).
Once you’re registered with GS1, you’ll receive a unique company number that you can use for all your products. This number covers the first part of the barcode. The rest of the barcode is automatically generated per product you assign the barcode to. This auto-generated code is unique per product, colour variation and product size. For example, if you sell a 0.5 liters water bottle and one with a volume of 0.75 liters, both should have their own barcode!
As we stated beforehand, the EAN code (also called the 13-digit code, GTIN-13 or EAN-13) is most commonly used. Virtually all packaged products have this type of code. Follow the steps on the GS1 Netherlands website to order the barcodes, after which you will receive the barcodes by email.
The (EAN-) barcode is there, what’s next?
You choose a barcode from the list to register your product on Amazon. When going through this process, at some point you will run into the Seller SKU (Stock Keeping Unit):
This is a unique code for your product, which is the same across Amazon. You can let Amazon generate a code, but we would recommend choosing a code yourself. That way, you can clearly track which SKU number belongs to which product and EAN code. The SKU number helps you manage your inventory.
For example, to keep it clear for yourself, you could start the SKU with the company code generated by GS1. You can complete that code with 001 or something else that is useful for your administration.
Don’t get distracted: Amazon also talks about MSKU. This stands for Merchant Stock Keeping Unit. This is the same as the Seller SKU. After all, it’s a number you have entered (or have generated) yourself.
We talked about the:
EAN barcode: a unique number for every unique product or product variant. This code is independent of Amazon.
ASIN: The unique code to find your product on Amazon. This code is only relevant to Amazon.
(M)SKU: The number you can link to the EAN code to do inventory management on Amazon. This code is only relevant to Amazon.
Now we can talk about the last thing that’s important to remember. The combination of the EAN, ASIN and (M) SKU results in the FNSKU. This stands for Fulfillment Network SKU, or Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit. The FNSKU is used to give Amazon a way to link the product to the seller who uses Amazon FBA.
These are the product labels you need to stick ultimately when you send the products to Amazon!
You can print the product labels generated for you in the ‘Label Products’ step when you’re preparing your shipment:
Hopefully, the different codes and numbers used within Amazon are a bit clearer to you now. It may sound a bit complicated, but it’s ultimately meant to make sure Amazon can do its job as flawlessly as possible. After all, you don’t want the sales of your product to end up with the wrong seller right? 😉
Want to know more?
GS1 United Kingdom — the place to request barcodes
Tariffs, GS1 United Kingdom — determine here what it costs you to own barcodes