As a seller, you’re always on the lookout for ways in which you can save your business money and, therefore, increase your profits.
When selling products, UPC codes are a necessary expense and, in this article, I’m going to show you how to buy cheap UPC codes on Amazon.
A UPC (Universal Product Code) is a product identifier that is presented as a series of 12 numbers and black lines.
Commonly known as a barcode, UPC codes are essential for identifying products in order to maintain stock control and to ensure that correct prices are charged.
In many countries, including the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and, the United Kingdom, a product may not be sold in a retail store without a UPC code (you will, I’m sure to be familiar with these codes as they appear on everything from cell phones to tins of beans).
There are a few exemptions including
- Customized products
- Private labels
- Business to business products
A UPC code is also required in order to sell products on most online platforms, including Amazon and, exempted products may only be sold with special permission from the platform.
In addition to UPC codes, other codes found on Amazon include:
EAN: An EAN (European Article Number) is a form of UPC code exclusive to European countries and, performs the same role in identifying products which are offered for sale.
It is a 12- or 13-digit product identification code which prints on packaging or product label.
ISBN: An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is a UPC which is exclusive to the sale of books and is assigned to each and every variation or edition of a book. Typically, it has 13 digits.
GTIN: A GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is a unique 14-digit number to exclusively identify trade items and is generally used to look up product details in databases held by retailers, manufacturers and other business organizations.
ASIN: An ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number) is a 10 character UPC exclusive to goods sold online on Amazon.
SKU: A SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is a code which is used to identify and track products or services used within a business. Amazon does not have restricted rules on how to form an SKU No. so sellers can decide their own SKU codes by their management habits or product features.
It is unique for each product and can be numeric, alphabetic or alphanumeric. If you don’t create our own SKU codes, Amazon will generate one for you randomly.
Amazon requires all of the products sold on its sites to hold a GS1 verified UPC code as these are used in the product ID section of each listing.
There are over 350 million products listed on Amazon for sale, including by Amazon Marketplace sellers, and, so, it is essential that each product has a unique identification code.
Unless you have an exempted product, you will not be able to list a product on Amazon without a valid code.
Can I sell my products on Amazon without a UPC?
It is possible to sell exempted products on Amazon without a UPC, however, you will need to apply for special permission from Amazon in order to do this.
Firstly, you’ll need to get a letter from the product owner, manufacturer or brand detailing why the product is exempt from needing a UPC.
You can then apply to Amazon for exemption on your product.
After approval, for some special categories, Amazon will assign you a GCID code to replace the UPC code.
How many UPC codes do I need?
You need one UPC code per unique product to sell on Amazon. If you are selling 100 T-Shirts which are identical, you will need one UPC code for each of these.
For example, if you are selling blue and pink T-Shirts in different 3 sizes(S, M, L), each color in different sizes will need a separate UPC code, that means you will need 6 codes.
There are a number of ways of getting hold of a UPC code and, these are as follows:
Direct from Amazon
You can purchase a UPC code directly from Amazon by heading over to the Product ID section of a product and selecting ‘UPC’ from the drop-down menu.
Or, you can ask for an exemption from Amazon, so you won’t need to fill in this option.
Direct from GS1
You can purchase UPC codes directly from GS1 by going over to the website and entering the details of your product.
It is verified and recognized by Amazon but its prices for UPC codes are more expensive than others.
You will get the first six to nine digits in the barcode which represent your company prefix.
The company’s prefix is the unique identifier of the product manufacturer.
As a supplier, the company’s prefix will remain the same on all barcodes of various products.
Each product you want to sell or provide will be assigned a unique product code, which will immediately follow your company’s prefix.
Direct from manufacturers
If you publish a branded product that does not belong to your own brand, you should use the UPC code provided by the product manufacturer.
Manufacturers and brand owners are the most reliable source of getting valid UPC codes, so it is suggested to contact your suppliers.
How much does a UPC code cost?
This very much depends on where you buy the code from but, as a guide, if you buy barcodes from GS1, a standard charge would be $250 for the initial code and, then, $50 per year for renewal. If you buy mane codes in bulk, you will get a discount.
Many agencies will offer really low prices for barcodes and, some will even offer these free of charge.
Free UPC codes
Sites like Barcode.tec will allow you to generate and download barcodes free of charge.
Although it is, of course, tempting to save your cash by getting your code this way, not all sites are legitimate and, most don’t offer verification and registration.
These barcodes will also, not usually be branded with your company name. As a result, your barcode may not work on some sites, including Amazon.
Amazon does not allow to applying the same UPC code on different products.
A standard (or paid for) UPC code offers security against duplication and, cases where a barcode fails to work.
So, if you get free UPC codes (most likely used by others already) and apply to your own items, it will be rejected by Amazon. And, more worse, your can be prohibited from selling on Amazon.
So, it is important that you get UPC codes from legit sites. The cost is necessary because it will save you much hassle in the future business.
As I’ve mentioned, it’s possible to buy Amazon UPC codes cheaply from online agencies.
When doing so, it’s important to check out the company’s reviews and rating to ensure that it is a legitimate business. Some of these legitimate companies are:
It is a trusted and legitimate site to create UPC codes for Amazon. It does not sell the codes directly but you can buy GS1 Company Prefix.
With the Prefix, you have the ability to create identification No. for UPC codes that you use for your products.
The price ranges from $250 for 10 items to $2,100 for 100,000 with annual renewal fees.
This Europe based company offers barcodes from £4.95 and promises delivery within one minute.
Used by many Amazon sellers, EAN Codeshop has a Trustpilot rating of 4.5 stars.
Based in the United Kingdom, this company has a 4.5 star Trustpilot rating and offers a guarantee for each and every barcode sold.
Prices start from £3.99 and delivery is within 24 hours of placing an order.
With a five star Trust Pilot rating, this Florida based company offers barcodes from $9.99 for one code and $0.27 for 200,000 codes.
The business also offers vanity codes on request.
This American UPC code site offers codes from just $5 and has a 4.5 star Trustpilot rating. The business is also able to supply labels for your barcodes.
How to Lookup UPC Barcodes?
After getting your UPC codes, you can look up your code first to make sure the codes are new and unused by anyone.
You can check if a UPC code has been used in three ways:
- Type the number into a search on Amazon or, on Amazon’s ‘Add A Product’ search bar.
- Enter the code into the GS1 database to find its status.
- Use other UPC converter websites such as ASINScope to look up your barcodes.
Setting up your product with UPC code on Amazon is fairly straightforward and shouldn’t take you too long.
The process is as follows:
- Log onto your Seller Central Account
- Click onto Add A Product from the inventory drop-down menu
- You’ll be presented with three options and, for the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume that you have one new product so, click onto ‘Create A New Product Listing’
- You’ll now be asked to assign a category to your product – if you don’t already know the category, you can look this up by using the search engine function
- You’ll now be given further options regarding your product’s classification – choose the one which describes your product the closest
You’ll now be presented with seven tabs labeled: Vital Info, Variations, Offer, Images, Description, Keywords and, More Details.
Fill in all of the information required for these tabs. In the ‘‘Product ID’’ option, please fill in your UPC code. If you list products in European or Japan marketplaces, please choose EAN.
Be sure to include clear photographs which adhere to Amazon’s guidelines.
If you are unsure of any of the details required, you can find help HERE. Once finished, click onto ‘Save And Finish’.
If the link is still shaded out and you can’t click onto it, this means that some of the information is still incomplete so, you’ll need to go through and look for the caution exclamation point which will highlight the problem areas.
If you are selling an item which has variations, for example, a T-Shirt which is available in blue or pink, you can do this by adding a variation.
List your first product as normal and, then, once you’re finished, click onto ‘Create A New Variation’ to add the second product with different UPC code.
You need to select your product ID type as YPC or EAN or GCID. Then, fill in your prepared barcodes and finish the save the changes. Your product is ready!
Another quick way to upload multi-variation products is to use the ‘‘bulk upload’’ feature on Amazon.
You can directly download a bulk upload form based on different categories in the Amazon seller central.
Then fill in all the necessary product information and UPC/EAN codes, import the file to Amazon.
Notice: If you list product with a invalid or wrong UPC code, you need to close the listing and re-list the it with the correct code. All product listings with invalid UPC codes will be deleted by Amazon and may result in the temporary or permanent removal of the ASINs and sales privileges of your store.
Making sure that you have valid and correct UPC codes for your products to be sold on Amazon is incredibly important.
Not only does this help you to avoid any usability problems but, it also adds credibility to your selling business and keeps you in good stead with Amazon.
Although it’s absolutely fine to buy cheap UPC codes, you should always check that the company you’re buying from is reputable and legitimate.
Once you’ve bought a barcode from any supplier, it’s a good idea to verify it before uploading to Amazon to make sure that it is in good working order.
Finally, it’s usually best to avoid free barcodes where possible as they are rarely of good quality and may even already be in use by another seller.
If in any doubt, always refer to Amazon’s guidelines for good measure.
You may also like:
The Beginner’s Guide To Amazon UPC Codes
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