GTIN Exception: Unraveling the Mystery Behind Product Barcode Exemptions

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In the world of product identification and supply chain management, the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) plays a critical role in selling products. However, certain situations call for GTIN exceptions, leading to business confusion and challenges.

This article will delve into the complexities of GTIN exceptions, exploring their reasons and providing insights on effectively managing such scenarios. From understanding the implications of GTIN reuse to learning the intricacies of GTIN exemption for small businesses, readers will acquire a comprehensive understanding of this important aspect of product management to sell products effectively as a brand owner.

With this knowledge, businesses can confidently navigate the world of GTIN exceptions and apply for a GTIN, ensuring that they remain compliant with global standards and that their supply chain operations run smoothly and efficiently.

Understanding the Basics: GTIN, UPC, and Barcodes

Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), Universal Product Codes (UPCs), and barcodes are critical components of the eCommerce industry. To ensure a smooth sales process, it’s crucial to have a firm understanding of these concepts and their importance.

Why do you need a GTIN for your products?

GTINs are essential for uniquely identifying products in the global marketplace, allowing for uniform product tracking, improved inventory management, and streamlined order processing. Product listings on major eCommerce platforms, like Amazon and eBay, often require a valid GTIN for products to be accepted and recognized by their systems.

What is the difference between GTIN and UPC?

Although they serve the same purpose of identifying products, GTIN represents a broader term encompassing various barcode formats. At the same time, a Universal Product Code (UPC) is a specific 12-digit GTIN format primarily used in the United States.

Different regions and industries may utilize different types of GTINs, such as EANs, which are more common in Europe.

GTIN, UPC, Barcode, and FNSKU: What you need to know

  • GTIN: A unique identifier for products on a global scale, GTIN formats may include UPC, EAN, or others.
  • UPC: A 12-digit GTIN format, primarily used in the United States for retail products.
  • Barcode: A scannable representation of a product’s identifier, it can be a GTIN, UPC, EAN, or other formats. Barcodes facilitate product tracking and inventory management.
  • FNSKU: Exclusive to Amazon sellers, Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Units act as unique identifiers for individual products within the Amazon Fulfillment Network, further assisting in inventory tracking.

Understanding these terminologies and their relationships is crucial for online retailers, as it helps to ensure proper product identification and guarantees efficient order processing and inventory management.

Do You Need a UPC or Barcode to Sell on Amazon?

Amazon’s requirements for UPCs and barcodes

Amazon requires that most products have a Universal Product Code (UPC) or an equivalent Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to list on their platform. These unique identifiers help maintain accurate product information, reduce listing errors, and improve the shopping experience for customers.

Some product categories have more restrictive requirements, requiring sellers to use an Amazon barcode, Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU). FNSKUs create a clear link between the product and the seller, ensuring efficient and accurate inventory tracking.

When is it necessary to use an Amazon barcode (FNSKU)?

An FNSKU is a product ID necessary to sell products through Amazon’s Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) program. Amazon requires sellers to use FNSKUs to track each unique product and its corresponding seller. This helps prevent commingling issues and improves inventory management across the fulfillment network.


However, not all products require an FNSKU. If a seller opts for Amazon’s stickerless, commingled inventory method, they can use the product’s existing UPC or GTIN instead. It’s essential to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each method when deciding which one to use for your products.

  • UPC/GTIN: Can be used for non-FBA listings and stickerless, commingled inventory.
  • FNSKU: Required for FBA listings to associate inventory with a specific seller.

The Amazon GTIN Exception: When and Why You Can Apply

The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) plays a crucial role in product identification. However, there are circumstances where sellers can apply for an Amazon GTIN exemption. This section discusses when and why you might seek an exemption and the requirements to qualify for one on Amazon.

When can you apply for an Amazon GTIN exemption

There are specific scenarios in which sellers can request an Amazon GTIN exemption. These can include selling private label products, handmade items, or listing products that legitimately lack a GTIN. Also, sellers might seek an Amazon GTIN exemption if a product’s brand is not enrolled in the Amazon Brand Registry.

The requirements to qualify for an Amazon GTIN exemption

To apply for a GTIN exemption on Amazon, sellers must fulfill certain prerequisites. These include:

  • Providing a suitable reason for exemption, such as selling private label or custom-made items.
  • Submitting proof that the brand or category doesn’t require a GTIN, like a letter from the brand owner.
  • In cases of unbranded items, the seller must show proof they’re authorized to sell these products.

Once the necessary documents and justification are submitted, Amazon reviews the application before granting a GTIN exemption.

Preparing for a GTIN Exemption Request

Steps to take prior to requesting a GTIN exemption

Before submitting a GTIN exemption request, it’s crucial to research and gather all required documentation. First, ensure you understand Amazon’s GTIN exemption policy and requirements. Familiarize yourself with the product categories and types eligible for exemptions.

Next, prepare documents proving that your products don’t require a GTIN. This may include exemption letters from manufacturers or brand owners, trademark registration, or proof of resale authorization. Assemble all the required documentation in easily accessible formats for uploading during the exemption request process. Then, you can submit request on the Amazon Seller Central.

How to determine if the product you want to sell is already on Amazon

Determining if a product is already available on Amazon involves searching using relevant keywords, brand names, or model numbers. Check the catalog listings and product pages to confirm your product is already on the platform. Alternatively, you can search by the existing GTIN, such as the EAN or UPC, which can be found on the product packaging.

If your product is not available, consult the GTIN exemption guidelines to verify if it is eligible for an exemption. Remember, never list a product under another product’s GTIN to bypass GTIN requirements, which may lead to listing errors and penalties.

Requesting a GTIN Exemption on Amazon: A Step-by-Step Guide

Understanding the process of requesting a GTIN exemption on Amazon is important. This guide outlines the steps to request and apply for a GTIN exemption on Amazon.


How to request an Amazon GTIN exemption

First, you must determine whether your products qualify for a GTIN exemption. Some common reasons include:

  • Items that aren’t mass-produced or branded (private label products)
  • Products sold in bundles or sets
  • Replacement parts and accessories or mobile accessories

If your products meet any of these criteria, you can proceed to request an exemption. Visit Amazon Seller Central, and navigate to the inventory section. Locate the “Add a Product” page and click on the “GTIN Exemption” link.

Steps to apply for a GTIN exemption

Follow these steps to apply for a GTIN exemption on Amazon:

  1. Choose the product category: Select the category that best fits your product.
  2. Select the exemption reason: Indicate the reason for your exemption request.
  3. Provide product documentation: Upload required documents or images to support your exemption claim.
  4. Submit the application: Review your application and click on “Submit.”

After submitting your application, Amazon will review it and notify you of their decision. If approved, you’ll be able to list your products without a GTIN. Remember to be precise in your application and avoid any false or exaggerated claims.

Congratulations, Your GTIN Exemption is Approved! Now What?

Now that your GTIN exemption has been approved, it’s time to create your new listings and add products to your inventory. Below are two subsections to help you take the next steps required for successful e-commerce.

How to create your new listing once approved

To create your new listing, follow these simple steps:

  1. Log in to your e-commerce platform account.
  2. Go to the product listing section and select “Add a new product.”
  3. Fill out the required product details, such as title, description, and price.

Ensure that you mention the GTIN exemption approval in the relevant field, as this information will prevent your listing from being flagged for missing GTIN information.

Adding products to your inventory after getting a GTIN exemption

Once your new listing is created, adding products to your inventory is a straightforward process:

  1. Go to the inventory management section of your platform.
  2. Select the newly created product listing that has GTIN exemption.
  3. Add the desired quantity of the product in the inventory.

In case of multiple products with GTIN exemptions, repeat the above process for each product. Keep track of your inventory levels to continue offering products without disruptions.


GTIN exceptions play a crucial role in product identification and listing. Proper understanding and management of these exceptions can significantly improve the efficiency of online selling platforms and reduce potential issues.

Businesses that encounter GTIN exceptions should take appropriate steps to resolve them, such as researching the cause, contacting selling partner support, or seeking expert advice. Keeping documentation organized and up-to-date is also essential in navigating this aspect of ecommerce.

By effectively handling GTIN exceptions, retailers can prevent listing disruptions, maintain accurate product information, and ultimately, enhance their customers’ shopping experience. Utilizing best practices in product identification will ensure smooth, successful ecommerce operations for all parties involved.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I request a GTIN exemption if my product is already on Amazon?

Yes, you can request a GTIN exemption for a product that is already listed on Amazon. If the product is not registered under a specific brand or does not require a GTIN, you can apply for an exemption.

Do I need a GTIN exemption for every product I sell?

No, only products that do not have a GTIN or are not registered under a brand need a GTIN exemption. Most products, especially branded products, possess a GTIN and require no exemption.

How long does it take for Amazon to approve a GTIN exemption request?

Amazon’s processing time for GTIN exemption requests varies. Typically, it takes between 24 to 48 hours for Amazon to review and approve or deny a request.

Is there a limit to the number of GTIN exemptions I can apply for?

There is no specified limit to the number of GTIN exemptions you can apply for. However, excessive requests may raise concerns and warrant further review by Amazon.

What happens if my GTIN exemption request is denied?

If your GTIN exemption request is denied, Amazon will provide a reason for the denial. You can then address the issue or provide additional information and resubmit the request for approval.

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