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How to Buy UPC Codes for Amazon in 2022

Before you can create a listing for your new product on Amazon, there’s one crucial step you need to take care of — purchasing a UPC. 

While it may sound a little intimidating to a new seller, the process is relatively simple.

In this article, we’ll go over what a UPC is, why you need one, and where to purchase one that’s compliant with Amazon’s Terms of Service.

 

What is a UPC?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code and is the barcode used to identify a particular retail product. When you look at nearly any product you purchase from a store, it will have a scannable barcode on the packaging. The unique 12-digit number underneath the barcode is the UPC.

When that barcode is scanned or entered into a search engine such as Amazon, the product connected to that code will appear in the store’s system or the Amazon search results.

 

Do you need a UPC to sell products on Amazon?

Yes and no — let me explain. 

You need a UPC for your Amazon product because Amazon requires all new product detail pages to have a unique product identifier when they are created, such as a UPC, EAN, GTIN, and so on. All these are examples of a product identifier.

Amazon wants to ensure that the brand name used to create the new listing matches the brand name linked to the UPC in the GS1 database. GS1 is the global standard for product barcodes and is the company Amazon verifies your UPC with. 

If the UPC does not match the information provided by GS1, Amazon will consider your UPC to be invalid and won’t let you list your product. 

In certain circumstances, Amazon allows sellers to list new products without a UPC or other product identifier in certain circumstances. We’ll go over this shortly.

 

Does my UPC barcode need to be printed on my product packaging?

While Amazon requires a UPC (or other product identifiers) to create a listing, technically, you don’t need to have the UPC barcode printed on your product packaging to sell it on Amazon. 

If you are sending your products into an Amazon fulfillment center using FBA, you will be required to label each product with an FNSKU barcode. 

The FNSKU barcode is your “Amazon Barcode” and tells Amazon that the product you’re selling belongs to your seller account.

 

How to list a product on Amazon without a UPC

If, for whatever reason, your product does not have a UPC, you may apply for what’s called a GTIN Exemption. If approved, Amazon will allow you to list your product on Amazon without needing a UPC or other product identifier.

 

 

Where to buy a UPC for Amazon

When purchasing a UPC for your private label product, always buy them through GS1. GS1 is a non-profit global organization that maintains and manages authentic product barcodes for over two million companies in 115 countries. Amazon requires all UPCs to be obtained from GS1 to ensure accuracy and legitimacy. 

In the past, Amazon sellers would purchase cheap UPCs from third-party websites, and even on eBay. The problem with doing this is that a seller is technically purchasing a UPC connected to a different brand/product. 

If Amazon finds that your UPC is inauthentic, they will remove your listing and may even suspend your ability to create new ASINs. 

Do not play around with this — always purchase your UPC or product identifier from GS1.

 

How to buy a UPC from GS1

To purchase a UPC from GS1, go to the website, and click on “Apply for a Barcode” in the top right. 

 

Previously, sellers had no other options but to purchase a minimum of 10 barcodes with an initial fee of $250 and an annual fee of $50. For most new Amazon sellers, that is nine too many. Plus, that was another high, upfront cost. 

Now, you can purchase one single UPC from GS1 for just $30 and no annual fee. It’s a welcome option for businesses that are just getting started and launching one product at a time. 

After clicking on “Apply for a Barcode,” scroll down to the “Start Small with a GS1 US GTIN” section and click on “Get a GTIN.” 

Fill in the required information, and you will have your UPC ready for Amazon!

 

 

What to do once you have your GS1 UPC

Once you have your UPC, you can create your Amazon listing. Go to “Add a Product” in Seller Central to begin this process. 

Then choose, “I’m adding a product not sold on Amazon.”

Next, you will choose your product’s category and move on to the details of your product. This section is where you will enter the vital information for your product, including the Product ID.

NOTE: Allow 24-48 hours for your UPC to become active on GS1. If you try to list your product on Amazon immediately, it may come up as invalid. 

When listing your product on Amazon, make sure that the Brand Name section matches the brand name exactly as it is in the GS1 database.

 

Everything you need to know about UPCs on Amazon

We hope this article gave you all the information you need about purchasing the proper UPCs for your Amazon product. Remember, only buy a UPC from GS1!

You can also check out our latest How to Sell on Amazon YouTube video, where we quickly talk about how to buy and use your UPC on Amazon. 

 

 

Do you have any more questions about UPCs? Let us know down in the comments!

33 comments on “How to Buy UPC Codes for Amazon in 2022

  1. Hello. Thank you for the great article. If I purchase one upc but have a couple hundred items I’m trying to place the barcode on how will that work?

  2. Hello, I am new on Amazon seller central. I have purchased my UPC code but i am having difficulty trying to add my first product on my account. Am wondering if something needs to be done to the code before using it or what am I not doing right please? Thank you.

    1. It may take up to 24 hours for your UPC to be in the system. What was the error you were getting within Seller Central?

  3. Thank you. I am learning as I go–trying to connect the dots here. How do you operationalize putting the UPCs on the products if one is using FBA so that merchandise makes it directly to Amazon’s warehouses? Isn’t that part of the point of using FBA? So far I believe this all means I need to purchase my products, ship them home (I do not have a warehouse), and then glue the UPC to each one to finally send them to AMAZON? I would sincerely appreciate your help with clarification.

    1. Hi,

      You can also have your supplier print the labels for you. Also, Amazon will likely require your products to be labeled with the FNSKU barcode (Amazon barcode) and not the UPC code. The UPC is just used to create your listing in Seller Central.

      Amazon needs the FNSKU barcode on your product because they need to know whos account those products belong to. You can also choose to have Amazon label the products for you, for a $0.50 per unit fee.

  4. I’m selling cosmetic products online and I want to sell cosmetic samples on Amazon but these brand samples don’t have a UPC from what I can see. What do I do in this situation? Also what if I want to bundle several different brand makeup samples in a listing? Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Yavanna,

      If a product you sell does not have a UPC, you can apply for a GTIN exemption. We have an article on that topic. You can purchase a separate UPC for a bundled listing.

  5. What if Amazon is removing a product because they say the GS1 doesn’t match whatever it is they are looking at. I am a reseller of a large company’s products, and 30% of my inventory has been delisted. I’ve been with Amazon since May of 2013. Where is this list they are looking at?
    “This ASIN has GTIN codes that do not match the brand associated to the ASIN. GTIN codes are reliable data that are used to limit duplicate products in the catalog and ensure product authenticity. We verify the authenticity of GTINs by checking the GS1 database and GTINs that do not match information in GS1 are considered invalid. We recommend obtaining your GTINs directly from GS1 (and not from other third parties selling GTIN licenses) to ensure the appropriate information is reflected in the GS1 database. If you believe we have removed your ASIN in error, contact Selling Partner Support here. Repeatedly creating ASINs for brands you do not have a relationship with will result in the removal of ASIN creation abilities. Learn more .”

    1. You should reach out to the brand you are reselling and let them know of the issue. That means that their UPCs do not match their products.

  6. so i bought a generic product that does not have an UPC and requesting an exemption but when i go to listing still request a code :(. not sure what im doing wrong

    1. Hi Carolina,

      Was your exemption approved? If so, you may have to wait 24 hours before listing the product. If it wasn’t approved, you could buy a UPC code for just $30

  7. Please help clarify: “If you are sending your products into an Amazon fulfillment center using FBA, you will be required to label each product with an FNSKU barcode.

    The FNSKU barcode is your “Amazon Barcode” and tells Amazon that the product you’re selling belongs to your seller account.”
    If I purchase UPC codes, why do i still need FNSKU codes on the product? Thank you in advance for your input.

    1. Hi Tien,

      Because a UPC just identifies the product. The FNSKU code identifies the product and your seller account. The code tells Amazon that inventory is connected to your account.

  8. Great article. Quick question – If I purchase a UPC, with a brand name on GS1, can I list it as generic on Amazon and still use that UPC? Also, does the Amazon SKU have to be entered in the GS1 portal? Thanks so much.

    1. Hi Randy,

      Why would you want to list your product as generic after getting a UPC code with a specific brand name? I don’t believe that would work because the brand names would not match. I don’t suggest listing as generic if you have a brand name.

      If you want to list as generic, try applying for a GTIN exemption which allows you to list without a UPC.

  9. Do we need to have our brand registered and get our UPC code under our brand name or can we buy UPC code under the name of the brand of the product( in case we are making our own bundle of 2 or more different products having their own individual UPC codes on each of them with their own brand)?

    1. Hi Monika,

      1. You don’t need to be brand registered to sell on Amazon
      2. You need to get a UPC for each SKU you are selling on Amazon. If one SKU features two or more products, that bundle should have its own UPC.

      1. Hi Brian,

        I am new on JS. Still researching before launching my first product on FBA.

        After reading all the comments, just to confirm once again, UPC label is not required to go on product, Only Amazon FNSKU bar code label needs to be on products?

  10. hi
    i have applied for trademark and I am doing private label, but i am not registered with amazon brand registry yet, so when i will upload my upc of GS1 to amazon while creating listing. Do you think amazon will allow me because my brand is not registered with them yet
    Thanks your help Brian

    1. Hi,

      Yes, you can still list your product on Amazon without Brand Registry. As long as you have the UPC, you will be ok. You do not need to be enrolled in Brand Registry to list a product and sell on Amazon

  11. Hello iam naveed from afghanistan
    I read the article and helped me so much.
    Thanks so much

    Big loves from afghanistan

    1. Hi Luis,

      If you are doing retail arbitrage, you don’t need to purchase a UPC code. The items that you will be selling will have their own UPCs.

  12. Your website answered all my questions regarding the “proper way” to purchasing my UPC codes for Amazon usage. Your site was honest, informative, simple to understand and to the point. I am now ready to fly.
    Thanks a million

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