UPC Codes for Amazon: Unlocking the Gateway to Successful Selling

01 upc codes for amazon

If you’re looking to sell products on Amazon, it’s important to understand the role of UPC codes in the process. UPC codes, or Universal Product Codes, are unique identifiers for each product, making it easy for Amazon sellers and customers to find your products.

Getting a UPC code for your products might seem overwhelming at first. However, it’s essential for your success on Amazon. As an experienced e-commerce expert, we advise you to familiarize yourself with the requirements, benefits, and legal aspects of UPC codes to streamline your online selling experience.

Proper UPC codes can greatly impact your product’s visibility and discoverability on Amazon. By properly utilizing these codes, you enhance your chances of connecting with potential customers and revving up sales on this online platform.

What is UPC (Universal Product Code)?

UPC codes are unique 12-digit identifiers assigned to products for tracking purposes in stores and online marketplaces. These codes consist of bars and numbers, making it easy for retailers to scan and manage inventory.

As a seller, you’ll benefit from using UPC codes, as they help streamline the sales process and provide essential product information.

Benefits of UPC Codes

UPC (Universal Product Code) codes are essential to product identification and inventory management in the retail industry. They provide a standardized, unique identifier for each product, which can be scanned using barcode readers for quick and efficient processing.

The benefits of UPC codes extend beyond simple product identification; they play a critical role in improving business operations, customer experience, and overall success in the marketplace. Here are some of the key benefits of using UPC codes:

Efficient Inventory Management

UPC codes simplify inventory management by allowing businesses to track products accurately and in real time. This helps to prevent stock shortages, overstocking, and human errors, leading to better overall inventory control and reduced operational costs.

Streamlined Checkout Process

Using UPC codes at the point of sale speeds up the checkout process, as cashiers can quickly scan the barcode instead of manually entering product information. This results in shorter waiting times for customers, enhancing their shopping experience and increasing the likelihood of repeat business.

Accurate Product Information

UPC codes provide a standardized method for encoding product information, ensuring customers receive accurate and consistent data about the products they purchase. This helps build customer trust and credibility, positively impacting sales and customer satisfaction.

Data Analysis and Insights

UPC codes enable businesses to collect and analyze valuable data about product performance, customer preferences, and sales trends. This information can be used to make informed decisions about product offerings, pricing strategies, and marketing campaigns, ultimately driving business growth.

Global Compatibility

UPC codes are universally recognized and can be used across various industries and countries. This makes it easier for businesses to expand their reach and tap into new markets without adopting different product identification systems.

Simplified Product Listings

For online retailers, UPC codes facilitate listing products on e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. These platforms often require UPC codes to ensure product uniqueness and prevent duplicate listings, which can lead to a more streamlined and organized online store.

What is EAN (European Article Number)?

EAN codes function similarly to UPC codes but are 13 digits long and primarily used in Europe. The additional digit in EAN codes allows for a broader range of available numbering options to accommodate more products. Both systems are designed to simplify inventory management, reduce human errors, and expedite the sales process for retailers and consumers.

02 ean (european article number)

Differences Between UPC and EAN Codes

UPC and EAN codes are barcodes used to identify and track products in various industries. While they serve a similar purpose, there are key differences between the two systems.

Below, we will examine the main differences between UPC (Universal Product Code) and EAN (European Article Number) codes;


  • UPC: The UPC barcode system was developed in 1973 by George J. Laurer, an IBM engineer in the United States. It was the first barcode system implemented for retail purposes and quickly became the standard for product identification in the US and Canada.
  • EAN: EAN codes, now known as International Article Number, were introduced in 1976 by the European Article Numbering Association (EAN). The system was developed as a superset of the UPC system to accommodate the growing international market and provide a standardized barcode format for global use.


  • UPC: The UPC system consists of two main types: UPC-A and UPC-E. UPC-A is the most common format with 12 digits, while UPC-E is a compressed version with only 6 digits.
  • EAN: The EAN system has two primary formats: EAN-13 and EAN-8. EAN-13 is the most common and consists of 13 digits, while EAN-8 is a shorter version with 8 digits.


  • UPC: A UPC-A barcode consists of a 1-digit number system character, a 5-digit manufacturer code, a 5-digit product code, and a 1-digit check digit.
  • EAN: An EAN-13 barcode consists of a 2- or 3-digit country code (the GS1 prefix), a manufacturer code, a product code, and a check digit.

Geographical Usage

  • UPC: UPC codes are primarily used in the United States and Canada. However, since EAN codes are a superset of UPC codes, EAN-13 scanners can also read UPC-A barcodes.
  • EAN: EAN codes are used internationally, including in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Due to their global reach, EAN codes are more widely accepted and recognized than UPC codes.

Are UPC Codes the Same for Identical Products?

  • Unique Codes: Each product variation (e.g., size, color) should have a unique UPC code to ensure accurate inventory tracking and management.
  • Consistency Across Retailers: Identical products sold by multiple retailers should share the same UPC code to facilitate accurate tracking and reporting throughout the supply chain.
  • Manufacturer Responsibility: The manufacturer assigns UPC codes to their products, ensuring all items have the correct codes before stocking them on shelves or listing them online.

Amazon’s UPC Code Requirements

Understanding UPC codes is crucial for successfully selling your products on Amazon. In this section, we will go over when you need a UPC code, Amazon’s policy on GS1 barcodes, and how many UPC codes are needed for listing one item.

When You Need a UPC Code to Sell Products on Amazon

In most cases, you will need a UPC code to list a product on Amazon, ensuring that your products are unique and properly identifiable. There are a few exceptions, such as handmade items, books, or products that have been given an exemption by Amazon. You may not need a UPC code if your product falls under these categories.

Amazon’s Policy on GS1 Barcodes and What It Means for Sellers

Amazon requires sellers to use GS1-certified UPC codes uniquely assigned to their company and products. This helps prevent counterfeit listings and ensures a higher level of trust between sellers and customers. To obtain GS1-certified barcodes, you must register with GS1 and purchase codes directly from them.

How Many UPC Codes Are Needed for Listing One Item on Amazon?

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Each unique product variant requires its own UPC code. For example, you will need six UPC codes if you sell a T-shirt in three different colors and two sizes. Ensure you account for all product variations to avoid issues when creating your Amazon listings.

Listing Products on Amazon Without a UPC Code

While Amazon requires a Universal Product Code (UPC) for listing products, there are instances where sellers may not have a UPC or wish to list their products without one.

Sellers can unlock new opportunities and expand their presence on this powerful online marketplace by understanding the intricacies of listing products without a UPC.

Amazon Product ID Section Explained

To list products without a UPC code, you need an alternative identifier. Amazon uses unique identifiers, such as ASINs (Amazon Standard Identification Numbers), to manage and track products in its catalog.

If you’re listing a product already on Amazon, use the existing ASIN. If not, Amazon may assign a new one when you create your listing.

Remember, you must accurately describe your product to avoid listing errors or difficulties for buyers.

Alternatives to UPC Codes for Listing Products

If your product doesn’t have a UPC code or requires an exemption, consider these alternatives:

  • EAN: European Article Number, used internationally.
  • JAN: Japanese Article Number, used in Japan.
  • ISBN: International Standard Book Number, used for books.

If your product category requires a UPC exemption, submit a request to Amazon. Once approved, you’ll receive a GCID (Global Catalog Identifier) to list your product.

Reselling Products on Amazon: Do You Need a New UPC Code?

When reselling products, you should use the existing UPC code or identifier if the product is already on Amazon. This helps maintain accurate product information and prevents duplicate listings.

If you modify or bundle products, creating a new, differentiated offer, you may need a new UPC code. Check Amazon’s policies to ensure you’re compliant.

Sometimes, consider purchasing a new UPC code for your product, but research Amazon’s requirements first to avoid potential issues.

Generating and Using Amazon UPC Codes

Amazon UPC codes play a crucial role in the eCommerce ecosystem, allowing your products to be identified, tracked, and managed within the marketplace. Below, we’ll discuss the process of obtaining, how to buy UPC codes, using UPC codes for your Amazon products, and incorporating barcodes into your product packaging

How to Obtain a UPC Code for Your Product

First, you need to obtain a UPC code from GS1, the organization responsible for assigning these codes. Visit GS1 to apply for a company prefix and purchase UPC codes for your products.

When you receive your UPC codes, assign them to your products correctly, as each code must be unique to a single product.

Buying and Using UPC Codes for Amazon

When listing your products on Amazon, you’ll be prompted to enter the UPC code during the inventory setup process. Ensure you enter the right code for each product, as failing can lead to listing errors and possible suspension from the platform.

Some categories may require other product identifiers, such as EAN or ISBN codes. Always research Amazon’s requirements for your specific category to avoid any issues.

  • Do: Enter the correct UPC code for each product listing
  • Don’t: Use the same UPC code for multiple products or inaccurate codes
  • Remember: Amazon may require other identifiers for specific categories

Printing UPC Barcodes on Product Packaging: Is It Necessary?

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While printing UPC barcodes on your Amazon product packaging is not mandatory, doing so can improve your inventory management efficiency and speed up order fulfillment. A printed barcode allows you, your suppliers, and Amazon fulfillment centers to scan and process products more quickly.

If you print barcodes on your packaging, follow GS1 guidelines for barcode size, spacing, and print quality to ensure accurate scanning.

Navigating Amazon Product Listings

As an online seller, it is crucial for you to understand the process of using UPC codes on Amazon. Let’s take a closer look at how to navigate product listings and the importance of UPC codes.

Creating a New Product Listing: Where to Enter the UPC Code

You must provide a UPC code to ensure a unique identification when creating a new product listing. To do this, begin by signing in to your Amazon Seller Central account and clicking “Add a Product” under the “Inventory” tab.

During this process, you’ll find a field labeled “Product ID,” where you’ll enter your UPC code. This is essential for maintaining Amazon’s extensive catalog of products and preventing duplicates.

Listing an Existing Product on Amazon

If you’re listing a product already on Amazon, you won’t need to create a new listing. Instead, you can search for the product using its title or ASIN. Once you find the correct product, click the “Sell Yours” button.

The product already exists in Amazon’s catalog, so the UPC code should be associated with the listing. You only need to provide your pricing, shipping, and inventory information.

UPC Code Requirements

Amazon has specific requirements in place for UPC codes, which include the following:

  • Each product must have a unique UPC code issued by GS1.
  • UPC codes must not be reused or shared between products.
  • UPC codes must accurately represent the product being listed.

It is vital to adhere to these requirements to ensure a smooth selling experience and avoid potential issues with your Amazon account.

Final Thoughts

UPC codes have emerged as an indispensable tool for businesses seeking to thrive in the highly competitive Amazon marketplace. By understanding the importance of UPC codes and mastering the process of obtaining, purchasing, and integrating them into their stores, sellers can unlock the gateway to successful selling on this powerful platform.

These unique identifiers streamline inventory management and product tracking and enhance the customer experience by providing accurate and consistent product information. By leveraging the benefits of UPC codes, business owners can enjoy improved visibility, higher customer trust, and, ultimately, increased sales.

Embracing UPC codes is a strategic move for any seller aiming to stand out and grow in the ever-expanding world of e-commerce.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

If I Start a Private Label Business on Amazon, Where Do I Enter the UPC Code When Creating a New Product Listing?

When creating a new product listing for your private label business on Amazon, enter your product’s Universal Product Code (UPC) in the “Product ID” field. This can be found under the “Vital Info” tab in the “Add a Product” section of your Seller Central account.

Does the Amazon UPC Code Need to Be Physically on Each Product I List, Even If I’m Listing 50 Products?

Yes, having the UPC code physically on each product is important for tracking and managing inventory. For this reason, Amazon requires that you print the UPC code on your product’s packaging or attach a barcode label to your products, regardless of the quantity you list.

I Have a Manufacturer’s Code, Do I Still Need a UPC Code for My Amazon Listing?

If your product has a Manufacturer’s Part Number (MPN), you may still need a UPC code for your Amazon listing. Amazon requires a unique product identifier — such as a UPC, EAN, or ISBN — and an MPN alone may not meet this requirement. To avoid potential issues, it’s best to obtain a valid UPC code for your listing.

If I Am Reselling a Product on Amazon, Do I Need to Purchase a Separate UPC Code?

When reselling a product on Amazon, you do not need to purchase a separate UPC code. You should use the existing UPC code provided by the original manufacturer if you’re selling an identical product. However, if you’re modifying the product or packaging, you may need a new UPC code.

My Product Is Already Listed on Amazon, and I Want to List the Same Product. Do I Need to Purchase a New UPC Code?

If you’re listing an identical product already available on Amazon, you can use the existing UPC code associated with the product. In this case, purchasing a new UPC code is not necessary. Simply enter the existing product’s UPC code in your new listing, ensuring that the product and packaging are exactly the same as the existing listing.

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