Using your barcodes on Amazon

Since 2008 Amazon has required a unique product identifier to create most new listings.  The EAN-13 and UPC-A barcode numbers we supply can be entered into the product ID field to successfully create new Private Seller listings.  Many of our customers use the barcodes we supply to create Amazon listings without any issues.   That being said, Amazon uses a complex, privately coded P.O.S system.   As such, there are some known barcode acceptance limitations and exceptions to GTIN usage on Amazon.

Limitations with using third party (re-seller) barcodes on Amazon

The barcodes we supply originate with the Uniform Code Council (UCC, the original GS1-US system) and have correctly calculated check digits.  They will validate on Amazon’s integrated forms and can be used to create new product listings.  There are however some differences with using our numbers as opposed to using barcodes obtained directly from GS1 UK.

GS1’s GEPIR Database

Amazon states on their website that they will check against GS1’s database for brand verification. While our numbers originate with GS1 (formerly UCC), a GEPIR search will show the first holder of the barcodes.  GS1 does not update records of UCC era codes beyond the first holder. There are no barcode re-sellers who can add your company details to GEPIR.

To have your brand appear on GEPIR you must join GS1 and pay annual license fees to maintain your barcodes. If you are using re-seller codes and Amazon manually checks the GEPIR database, you may have to take one or more of the following additional steps to verify brand ownership.

a) “a letter from the manufacturer/your brand stating that the GTIN you are using to list this product is valid” or
b) photographs of your product displaying the GTIN/barcode on the packaging.

For the vast majority of retailers worldwide, and most Amazon listings created, being seen on GEPIR is not a necessity.  However, checking GEPIR is potentially one of several methods Amazon can use to verify brand identity.  Primarily this concerns Amazon Brand Registry (not Private Seller listings) and serves to resolve unauthorised brand usage, counterfeit claims or duplicate product listings.

Amazon Brand Registry Limitation

We’ve found that Amazon tends to be stricter with Brand Registry listed items preferring direct GS1 membership over third party barcodes. This does not apply to Private Seller listings.  Amazon Brand Registry is a separate platform from Private Seller listings that is aimed at larger companies and requires a registered trademark to qualify. See https://brandservices.amazon.co.uk for eligibility requirements.  If you intend to apply for Amazon’s Brand Registry platform, we advise obtaining your numbers directly through GS1.

Third party sellers on Amazon range from small sole traders to some of the worlds biggest brands.  Therefore, Amazon’s real world approach to brand verification and GTIN use varies greatly among listings.  The aforementioned policy was quietly announced in 2016. Since then, millions of re-seller codes have entered the Amazon catalogue. Amazon’s communication of this policy is contradictory.  Amazon currently appears to be taking a balanced and realistic approach to help smaller businesses and Private Sellers who cannot afford GS1. Amazon cannot force every small seller into direct GS1 membership.  In many instances, Amazon seller support staff have recommended third party barcodes to smaller businesses.

Ultimately, meeting retailer supplier guidelines is the vendor’s responsibility.  No barcode re-seller can guarantee universal retailer acceptance, and Amazon is no exception.  We strongly advise you make yourself aware of all supplier guidelines, policies and vendor agreements before deciding on purchasing GTINs.