Find out the story behind Optimal Workshop’s NZ$10m investment πŸš€Β  Β Read More

MAG My Amazon Guy logo capitalized

UPC, EAN, and GS1 Issues Adding Products to Amazon

Amazon policies keep changing on just about every front, and one area that has been particularly frustrating and confusing for many sellers is UPC, EAN, and GS1 codes.

GS1 is an organization that certainly revolutionized the world of business by generating, tracking, and issuing barcodes – the code acting as a universal identifier to quickly scan, track, and identify any product through a computerized system. Companies of all sizes need barcode numbers to identify and sell their products in stores or online. The power of the data captured through the barcode intends to solve large and complex industry challenges, and Amazon has required it for many years.

However, the system is not all peaches and cream. The first scenario or issue that is prevalent, and is affecting many sellers, is that the Chinese hacked GS1. As a result, many sellers who had bought UPCs years ago, particularly in the supplements, health & beauty industries, tried to list them and found they’d already been assigned to other products – primarily inactive items on the Amazon platform.

Another frustrating factor is that these codes now have an expiration date and must be registered and renewed with an annual payment. Before, you could buy unlimited or retired codes without these obstacles, but that’s no longer the case.

The simple solution, as it stands, is to buy as many UPC’s off eBay as you like – thousands if necessary. But there is one significant problem. If your brand has ever registered with GS1, even once, your UPC’s must come consistently from them. You can’t launch a new product any other way because the code will be rejected, preventing you from listing it.

This scenario is crucial if you’re an Amazon aggregator – a brand looking to acquire other brands to create a conglomerate list of selling opportunities across accounts – as you’ll need to know if your new brands previously used GS1. If they have, you’ll have no choice but to continue at substantial expense and possible, if not probable, inconvenience.

Many sellers, even some who have never registered with GS1, have or will receive an email along the lines of, “We have investigated and found that GS1 does not vend UPC/EANs. If vended by GS1, please provide relevant proof to validate the UPC/EANs.”

In that instance, you’ll have to send them proof that you own these UPC’s, a copy of the certificate issued by GS1, evidence that you’re the legal entity, and a letter or legal agreement from the manufacturer or brand stating that the GTIN you are using to list a product is valid and owned by them or that you are allowed to use your own GTIN to sell unique products with their brand. UPC’s that don’t match will be considered invalid – meaning you can’t list products on Amazon.Β 

If the brand or brands you’ve acquired have not yet used GS1, it’s almost certainly best not to start yet – until it may be forced by them or by Amazon in the future.Β 

As previously mentioned, it’s far more practical to buy retired codes in bulk on eBay rather than do it the right way from GS1 – ironically. Doing so will allow you to burn your codes how you want, without the hassle.



Want traffic conversion tips?

I was fortunate to be part of MAG's first batch of its Advertising Internship Program. The timing was perfect for me as I was looking for an opportunity to learn more about Amazon PPC and at the same time to have hands-on training to work on accounts.Β Β 

Β 

When I started my internship, I listed down the things I wanted to learn. And I am happy to say that I've ticked all the boxes! My most favorite was "Optimization Using Bulk Files”. Bulk files and I, we did not get along at first, it was so scary seeing all those data! But I had a great mentor who guided me along the way. He patiently taught me step by step on how to process the data. He was very enthusiastic in answering all of my questions. He supported me until I gained the confidence in uploading my first, second, third (and so on) bulk uploads.Β 

Β 

The biggest advantage in working with MAG (and I must say one thing that I always look forward to every week) is its Weekly Ads Training. Every week, we discuss various topics about PPC. Interns/Ads Specialists/Ads Managers, we all share knowledge, information, and updates about PPC. During our discussions, we exchange ideas and feedback. It became an avenue not just to learn a skill, but also to clear any vague or ambiguous PPC topics.Β 

Β 

For me, the biggest disadvantage is the work schedule. As an Intern, I have to follow EST timing. The time difference from my location was only 8 hours, but being a morning person, I really struggled to keep myself awake. But if you are a night owl, then this will not be a problem for you.

Β 

So if you are considering joining the MAG Advertising Internship Program, my advice to you is to take action - APPLY NOW! The knowledge that you will gain and the skill that you will develop from this program will be invaluable. And who knows? From being an Intern, you might be the next one to be promoted as Jr. Ads Specialist!Β 

Maria Victoria Piedad