Global Trade Item Numbers -What are they and why you need them to sell online?
We talk about at the first part of our 6-step pathway, Compliance, often with it being such a core part of our solution with VAT, Product Label Compliance, and Responsible Person. But actually, there is one other thing that is important that you make sure to get right at the beginning of your expansion before you even start to expand – and that is registering your product’s with barcodes.
So if you want to trade online, and as I said is eBay, Amazon Google, Google is a very important one as well because they’re at least at the top of their rankings and who serve as good barcode on it or a GTIN on it. So it’s really important. But there are many other marketplaces globally as you can see, Alibaba, Allegro, fruugo on by Walmart. And they all use these identifiers, search engines and marketplaces requesting GTINs in the same way that John Lewis in the UK or Tesco would as well, mandating a GS1. GT is the only way for retailers to avoid clashes in their system, and more and more are mandating it each year
So the barcode is like a passport number for the product. It’s a visual representation of the number that sits underneath it, which is called the GTIN, also known as the EAN or UPC. You only require one product identifier, EAN or UPC and not both. And this is really important to know. UPC is used in the US and in America, and EAN is more of a European one. But you don’t need both to trade in Europe or USA or vice versa. You just need one number. GS1 uses a global standard to allocate GTINs meaning once a product is bar coded can be sold by any retailer and any country without the need to re label. It satisfies each retailer or country’s requirements.
So what’s the difference between EAN UPC and GTIN? So UPC and a 12 digit GTIN does the same job as an EAN barcode and a 13 digit GTIN. UPC originated in the US is a part of the global GS1 system. When a 13 digit number is required, you can add a zero to the front of your 12 digit GTIN. EAN’s or GTIN-13’s are both accepted on the Amazon US platform and any retailer or marketplace globally. ISPNs also from our systems are managed by different organization is used to identify books and specific audio media.
So, what do marketplaces do with a barcode? It reduces duplicate listings for marketplaces and more and more. As you will know, if you trade on Amazon, they just want a single listing for customer experience, right? So they want customers to be able to find the product and compare prices from different centers. So, they created a single listing for that so it also reduces counterfeit products. And that’s becoming important when you go to list as I said, because Amazon are now checking whether the brand is the owner of the listing. So it’s really important and it reduces counterfeit products. It also reduces listings with low or no GMB as well because that just creates noise. It benefits to you online, improves customer experience, increases relevance of search, also easier product discovery, reduces unfair competition and it also increases sales and Google Shopping as mentioned earlier and need a GTIN for it to come up on their Google Search shop or Google Shopping search.
So when do you need to start thinking about a barcode? So you need to start thinking about barcodes at the point of creating your packaging really, you will need to supply the number to the manufacturer designer so they can add it to the packaging design. Again, the most common use is the GS1, EAN13 in the UK or the UPC in the US. If you do not use packaging on your product, you will still need to have a GTIN to be able to list online. It needs to be entered into the field for the identifier, gain sometimes quoted as EAN or UPC depending on the marketplace or the retailer. It can take a few days for your Amazon account to be verified to make sure you get GTINs while this is being done to avoid additional delays to your products.
So how many GTINs do you need, and the GTINs needed to be assigned to the products at the lowest variation level, sometimes called a skew or a child skew. So each variant needs to have a unique number. So each size, color, fragrance, flavor for example. So let’s take an example with T shirt. But, that T shirt comes in three sizes small, medium, large, and three colors blue, pink, and purple. You need to identify nine product variations. So top 3 sizes × 3 colors × 3 styles equals 27 barcodes also come in three stalls you need 27 barcodes. And if you then put three packages on that, that’s 81 barcodes. So all of a sudden, you need a lot of barcodes, or a lot of jeans, as we call them. So, it’s good to work out how many you need up front, really important.
So where do you get a barcode from? So as I said to you, right in the beginning, you need to become a GS1 member, a member of a GS1 organization, and there are 115 of us around the world. So usually one in your local country, we always encourage you to join your local organization, or the country that you’re based in, because then you get support in your own language, as well as, in local time as well. If you’re based in the UK, your local MO is going to be just one UK, and our membership starts as low as 119 pounds per year, we have plans to grow your business to more than one retailer and using the same identifier for all your channels will make your life a lot easier. They need to re label, bring fan stock or look up lists for identifiers to create reports. In addition, add search engines to combine product information, offers and reviews with confidence, and therefore enable your customers to find out ultimately, buy the product with the best buying experience.