What Is a GTIN Number?

Last updated: November 30 , 2023

Starting out as a Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) seller can mean trying to sift through lots of information on how to become an FBA seller, what you need to do, and which product codes and information are needed for each listing. One such term you may have come across in this research is GTIN or Global Trade Item Number.

In this article, we will answer questions including what is a GTIN code, where you can obtain a GTIN, and if you can list an Amazon product without a GTIN. Read on now to find out the answers.

What is a GTIN Number?

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number and is one of many numbers that are used by Amazon to identify the products sold on the marketplace. These numbers are universal and are found on the product's cover or packaging. They may be placed above or below the barcodes.

For Amazon sellers, there are many benefits to identifying products with GTINs. They can help the product's visibility within Amazon search results and boost the overall credibility of a small business using the Amazon marketplace.

Amazon requires sellers to uniquely identify each of their products with this item reference code to ensure sellers can prove they are selling legitimate and trustworthy products and so that good inventory management practices can be followed.

How Are GTINs Structured?

GTINs can vary in length. They may be 8, 12, 13, or 14 digits long, depending on their application and product constraints. Due to these varying lengths, there are a few kinds of GTINs, namely GTIN-8, GTIN-12, GTIN-13, and GTIN-14. The elements found in GTINs include the following.

Indicator Digit

For GTIN-14, the first 1-8 numbers help to identify the packaging level information of the product, and the ninth digit is used for variable measure products (such as a box that contains similar products).

Item Reference

This unique number is assigned to individual trade items. It varies in length depending on the company prefix used.

GS1 Company Prefix

This number is totally unique and is licensed to a company by the GS1 member organization. These unique identification prefixes are assigned as per the needs of a brand or business.

Check Digit

This final digit is calculated from the digits before it in the GTIN and is used to verify that the previous code is composed properly.

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Four Classifications of GTIN Formats

The previous section may be slightly overwhelming to understand, so we have broken it down per format to help you get a better understanding of what each kind of GTIN will look like.

GTIN-8

A GITN-8 has seven digits that contain the GS1-8 Prefix, an Item Reference, and the Check digit. GTIN-8 codes are used for small retail trade items.

GTIN-12

These contain 11 digits, including your UPC Company Prefix, Item Reference, and Check digit. They are mostly used in the USA and Canada.

GTIN-13

Sometimes called an EAN-18 barcode, this is the most common form of GTIN and is used globally in the retail industry. It contains 12 digits, including your GS1 Company Prefix, Item Reference, and Check digit. If a GS1 Company Prefix is being used to create a GTIN-13, it will begin with 1-9.

GTIN-14

A GTIN-14 is used when the goods are of a variable measure. This means that along with the digits in GTIN-13, it also contains an Indicator Digit.

Source: https://www.gtin.info/

GTINs Versus UPC Barcodes: Differences and Similarities

UPC (Universal Product Code) barcodes are the very recognizable barcodes you see on almost every product you buy. They are scanned at the checkout and work as data carriers for retail systems to capture the GTIN code.

UPC barcodes and GTIN are not interchangeable or the same thing. In fact, some online marketplaces prefer you to use both UPCs and GTINs.

When used together, a GTIN and UPC barcode can make it easy for business owners to track a product all the way through the supply chain. It links the physical product with the digital product data.

Do I Need GTINs as an Amazon Seller?

While there are ways around using GTINs on Amazon, it is in your best interest to use GTINs for your products. Products with GTINs will surface in the search rankings more, which leads to a higher CTR and more sales.

Product identification is a requirement in more than 25 of Amazon's product categories. In general, Amazon requires each sellable unit to have its own GTIN. For more information on products that may be exempt from the need for a GTIN, check your Amazon Seller Central account.

Amazon verifies product UPCs using the GS1 database. This means that if your UPCs/GTINs are not valid, then your product will be removed from Amazon, and your ASIN creation or selling privileges could also be temporarily or permanently removed.

To avoid this, make sure you acquire all your UPCs/GTINs from GS1 so that all predefined information is correct.

Listing Amazon Products Without a GTIN Code

As a brand owner, you may be wondering if you need GTINs for certain products. For example, those who sell private label products on Amazon or handmade products may be eligible for a GTIN exemption. A range of products meet the criteria for exemption. However, Amazon does have a list of brands that cannot be listed without a GTIN.

If you're looking for GTIN exemption, you can apply within Seller Central and await approval for your products.

Final Thoughts

GTINs are a universally used code that identifies products being sold in stores and online. They are not the same things as UPC barcodes, but work alongside them. Amazon sellers need GTINs in most cases, but some products may be exempt.

If you're looking for new products to sell on Amazon, then OA Cheddar can help. We curate a daily list (Mon-Fri) of product leads for FBA sellers and deliver it straight to your inbox to help you become the most successful Amazon seller you can be.

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