What Are Amazon’s Barcode Requirements in the UK?

Every Amazon seller needs a reliable set of barcodes, not only to help sell products but also keep them moving smoothly through the supply chain. Barcodes are much more than that, however, as they are also important to your business bank account.

Getting them right from the outset is crucial and this is where GS1 barcodes and GTINs (Global Trade Item Number) come in – completely unique to each seller and quickly giving customers the required information about any given product.

What Are Amazon's Barcode Requirements in the UK? Chris Turton Ecommerce

What are GS1UK barcodes in the UK and do you need them to sell on Amazon?

Up until 2016, the global eCommerce giant had not been too strict about implementing GS1 barcodes – however, today, you’ll find that all UK Amazon sellers must use a GS1 barcode for each item they list and want to sell.

Amazon has understandably chosen GS1 UK and made it a requirement for sellers because, at the moment, GS1 is the only place where authorised and authentic GTINs as well as barcode numbers can be acquired. They are globally recognised by not only Amazon but other major retailers and marketplaces as well like Google shopping and eBay. Therefore, as it stands, sellers cannot trade on Amazon without a GS1 barcode.

With that said, UK Amazon sellers should not be discouraged by this requirement because GS1 barcodes and GTINs can greatly improve their products’ visibility on major search engines. Here’s a very significant advantage of buy your Amazon GS1 barcode from GSI UK:

The first multiple numbers are you company’s unique prefix and will remain the same throughout. But if you buy barcodes from elsewhere, you will be using UPCs which have already been assigned to a different company and product at some point. This can translate into trouble. Sellers need to be very careful if they decide to bypass GS1 barcodes altogether because while it’s not illegal to reuse barcodes, you may have to deal with unnecessary issues down the line:

  • The reused barcode is still being used for another product, one which may bear resemblance to your own or be completely different;
  • The reused barcode was assigned to a product belonging to an entirely different category with a completely different license;
  • The reused barcode is actually a replicated UPC code not searchable within the GS1 UK system and cannot be verified as such.

Once you open an account with GS1, you can have your own company prefix, which means your listings on Amazon are always safeguarded – each code can be easily traced back to your brand or company, identifying it as yours alone.

Membership and subscription fees for GSI UK

GSI UK memberships are based on a seller’s annual turnover – the Starter 10 plan is for businesses having an annual turnover of up to £100,000, with one or two products only (£50 per year without VAT);

The Starter 100 plan is for more established sellers having an annual turnover of up to £500,000, where they have a range of products to sell and are planning to further expand (£50 per year without VAT);

The Standard membership applies to all businesses and starts at £119 per year (without VAT).

How does Amazon use GS1 barcodes in its database?

Amazon wants each seller to buy GS1 barcodes because it leads to a trusted and transparent supply chain. Each GS1 code prefix is fully unique to your brand and traceable to you only. Without it, you cannot raise cases if need be or change product details. Amazon verifies the authenticity of each product’s UPCs by running them against its internal GS1 database. Any UPCs which do not match the necessary information provided by the GS1 database will be considered null and invalid.

This is why Amazon always recommended buying GS1 certificates directly from the GSI UK website and not through a 3rd party.

Final thoughts

With your own GS1 barcodes, there’s no more confusion with other items listed which have the same numbers. Plus, no 3rd party retailer can claim that they own your business, brand or products. Finally, GS1 barcodes conform to Amazon’s packaging criteria, making Amazon selling not only more streamlined but also helping sellers to make the FBA shipping service easier through a qualified barcode system.

Chris is the managing director of Ecommerce Intelligence, a full service Amazon agency. He has over 13 years experience selling on Amazon and other marketplaces. Follow Chris on LinkedIn for daily tips and advice.

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