Amazon Barcode Requirements
Amazon’s policy for barcode numbers continues to change, as well as variations in how strictly it is enforced. While we work to keep this information up-to-date, if you wish to be certain about barcode acceptance on Amazon or with any other retailer, it is best to check with them directly. We cannot guarantee that any specific retailer, including Amazon, will accept our barcodes, as any retailer can impose any restrictions they choose on any products they stock, no matter how arbitrary or unreasonable those restrictions are, and restrictions can be changed at any time.
Amazon uses barcode numbers (13-digit EAN or 12-digit UPC) as unique product identifiers. Then they also assign their own unique identification number. This is called an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number).
Until a few years ago, barcodes on Amazon were very uncontrolled. Anyone could list any product on Amazon using any barcode number, as long as that barcode number wasn’t already in use for another product on Amazon. However, this caused problems for a few legitimate sellers who found that their numbers had been stolen and used illegally by someone else on Amazon.
Searching legacy barcode numbers on Amazon
In 2016, an Amazon Executive joined GS1’s board of governors, and they began to implement tighter policies and also started undertaking some ‘house-cleaning’ to tidy up the Amazon database. Unfortunately, legacy barcode numbers are still being used on Amazon that conflict with the numbers we own and sell. To avoid issues with this, we have implemented increasingly deep-level searching of the Amazon databases to find these fraudulent legacy numbers. We use the Amazon APIs, which have some success with current products, but unfortunately, these are limited in how deeply they search the Amazon databases.
So our tech gurus developed some sophisticated search software that goes far beyond the traditional Amazon search options. We use this software to deep-search Amazon for all numbers before we sell them. If it finds any of these (historic fraudulent listings using our numbers), we delete the numbers and don’t sell them. This is proprietary software. It is much more effective than Amazon’s APIs and searches far deeper than any other barcode seller.
Current Amazon barcode requirements
Amazon prefers barcode numbers to come directly from GS1. They have a preference that their suppliers are current members of GS1. GS1 is a membership organisation that provides its members with barcodes in exchange for a yearly fee. Many businesses, especially smaller businesses that don’t need many barcodes, choose to buy their barcodes from us for use on Amazon and in shops worldwide.
As mentioned above, there are thousands of products currently listed on Amazon using our barcodes. You can view some examples at: https://barcode1.co.uk/products-on-amazon/
In recent years, Amazon has moved to try and stop branded products (big brands) from being listed on Amazon using barcode numbers other than those of the original brand. This is possibly to stop pirating or illicit listings. To enforce this, Amazon became ‘tighter’ with barcode numbers.
We don’t know where Amazon is heading regarding its barcode policy. Hopefully, Amazon will be reasonable and allow people to list products using legitimate and verifiable barcode numbers (the ones we sell). However, Amazon might become increasingly restrictive and, eventually, no longer accept our barcodes in the future.
How to list unbranded on Amazon
Follow our step-by-step instructional video on how to list unbranded on Amazon.
Many customers still use our barcode numbers to list their unbranded products on Amazon. Amazon checks branded products’ barcode numbers in the GS1 database. Our barcode numbers can be seen on the GS1 database (hence showing that they are of GS1 origin, but the listing will show the original licensee as the owner and not you) and also because our customers can list their product/company details alongside their barcodes at https://barcodesdatabase.org. We can’t update the GS1 GEPIR database. No barcode reseller has access to the GS1 database.
- Sometimes Amazon asks for proof of the connection between the supplier (you) and the original barcode licensee (as listed on gepir.org). Our guarantee certificate provides customers with a document demonstrating this chain of proof. Some of our customers have had this accepted by Amazon.
- It is possible to apply to Amazon for GTIN exemption. This allows the listing of products without a GTIN (barcode). The process and requirements for this exemption are unclear.
- Recently (since late 2019), Amazon has tightened up on the ‘brand’ field when listing. They are pushing suppliers to register on the Amazon brand Directory. However, we have been able to list products using ‘N/A’ in the brand field (as recommended by Amazon). Other Amazon suppliers report being able to use ‘Generic’ or ‘un-branded’ in this brand field.
So if you want to sell on Amazon and use the Brand Registry and FBA, Amazon will require you to get your barcodes from GS1.
Amazon Error Codes
Listing on Amazon can be difficult. A few specific error codes can commonly occur while trying to list on Amazon. These typically concern the ‘Brand’ field during the listing process.
Fortunately, these usually have a simple solution. Common error codes and solutions can be seen here: https://internationalbarcodes.net/amazon-error-codes-and-solutions/
If you have any questions feel free to contact us.