Amazon ASIN, EAN, ISBN and UPC Guide

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Amazon is the far most popular e-commerce marketplace in the world, for both sellers and customers, mostly because of its convenience and worldwide reach. Amazon's product catalog counts more than 350 million items, and it's the first place where customers look for a certain product, even before Google. Therefore, Amazon became a crucial sales platform for countless online retailers. 

Each product sold on Amazon has various identification codes for better identifying, managing, storing, and delivering goods. Understanding, using, and mapping these codes is essential for customers, Amazon sellers, and all parties associated with product sales, delivery, and storage. 

Many people are puzzled about what all these codes actually are, and how they supposed to use them. In this article, you will learn everything about Amazon ASIN, EAN, ISBN, and UPC. With this in-depth guide, you will find out why you need these codes, how to acquire them for your products, what they represent, and much more.

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Amazon ASIN Number

What is the ASIN number?

ASIN is an acronym for Amazon Standard Identification Number, and it represents a ten-digit code that recognizes products on Amazon. Every product has a unique ASIN. The same products on Amazon have the same ASIN numbers, even if they come from different sellers. In case you are adding a new product to Amazon's existing catalog, that particular product will be assigned with a unique ASIN number. Later, when other sellers add that same product already existing in the list, they will use the same ASIN number. 

All items on Amazon have their ASINs, except books. Books have an ISBN for identification, which is used as an ASIN number. Amazon Standard Identification Number is mandatory for all products before they are listed for sale on Amazon. 

New or existing ASIN number?

Every product on Amazon should have its unique ASIN and product detail page. This way, it's much simpler for buyers and sellers to navigate through Amazon's extensive product offer. All duplicated items and their ASINs will eventually be merged. 

Before you list your product for sale, check if your product is available in Amazon's catalog and, therefore, already has an existing ASIN number. If it is, you can list your item under that ASIN code while sharing that ASIN with all other sellers who are offering the same merchandise. This is a typical case with products from resellers, retailers, and items with wide distribution. 

In case that your product isn't available within Amazon's catalog, and your product doesn't have an ASIN number, you need to create a new product page in Amazon's catalog. Amazon will give a unique ASIN code to your newly added product, and you can start selling it. This is generally the case with private-label sellers, brand owners, and traders with exclusive distribution rights. In short, all products that have been added to the catalog for the first time will get a new ASIN number. 

How to find an ASIN number?

Amazon

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You can locate the ASIN number of a particular product with the search box on Amazon's homepage or when you go to the Add a product page within your Amazon Seller Central account. Simply type the product's name, model, UPC, or EAN code. When Amazon generates a list of products available, click on the product that matches yours and go to the product's detail page. Among all other details, there will be an ASIN number as well. The product's URL will also reveal its ASIN number. 

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Software tools

Amazon's search box will work with single product research, but for ASINs in bulk, you'll need the help of Amazon tools. These third-party tools will seek ASINs in bulk, and you can do it manually or upload files. You will need to provide the item's name, model, UPC, or EAN, and software solutions will lookup based on that information. 

But keep on your mind that most solutions offer single searches for free, while you will need to subscribe and pay for searches in bulk. 

How to create a new ASIN?

Amazon's admin panel

Use the Add product option in your Amazon Seller Central account. With this method, you will be able to manually add all information regarding your product through Amazon's admin panel and learn about all data requirements. Aldo, this method is pretty simple, it can't be used for adding a vast number of products. 

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Amazon inventory templates

Another way is to add products with Amazon file templates. First, find the template for a particular product category in your Amazon Seller Central account with Add products via upload feature. 

After you downloaded the template and filled in all of the information required, upload the file back on Amazon. Then, Amazon will process the file you attached, create a new product page, and assign an ASIN to your item. 

This method is recommended when you're adding items in mass, but keep in mind that it requires a certain level of proficiency with Excel. 

Feed solution

An automated feed solution is another excellent method for creating new products on Amazon. This solution helps sellers produce large numbers of new products quickly, efficiently, and systematically. A feed gathers data from sources such as your e-commerce shopping cart or backend system and sends it back to Amazon. 

Feed solutions have innovations that allow you to edit your source data before it's posted to Amazon. This is beneficial considering your source data may need additional adjusting to match Amazon's strict data obligations. With feed, you will be able to optimize your product's page for a higher conversion rate and SEO. 

Upload mistakes

When you're creating a new product in Amazon's catalog, you need to match Amazon's ASIN creation policy and strict data requirements to avoid mistakes that can lead your product to suppression or resulting in a new product creation failure. 

In case you're using the admin panel to create new products, Amazon will suggest and point out any errors immediately. But if you're using templates or a third-party solution, you won't notice any mistakes until your file is already processed with Amazon. 

Exploit your ASINs for the best causes

With ASINs, you will be able to preserve your brand, improve description content, and direct organic traffic on the right ASINs. 

Amazon Brand Gating decreases counterfeit sales and defends brands from unapproved use. Sellers won't be able to use ASINs of a specific brand without the brand owner's consent. 

If you want to sell a gated brand on this platform, you will have to pay a fee of around $1000 or more for a single brand. Also, you will have to provide additional proof such as invoices or written authorization that is backing the brand's approval. 

If you want to apply for Brand Gating to protect your own brand, you will have to:

  • Register in the Amazon brand registry ;
  • After your brand is registered in the program, you will need to open a support case and send a file with ASINs you crave to have gated.

Before you can enroll in Amazon's Brand gating program, you must file your brand as a trademark.

Products that are in Amazon's brand registry have access to A+ content that allows more valuable description options such as enhanced images, text placements, and unique brand story feature. Product pages optimized with A+ content can draw increased organic traffic, sales, and higher conversion rates. 

Merging ASINs

As we previously mentioned in this article, Amazon does not allow various ASINs for specific products marketed on Amazon. But sometimes sellers create new ASINs for existing products accidentally or intentionally. If that happens, traffic for that product is adulterated among various product detail pages. Another downside of this situation is that duplicate ASINs may lead to discrepancies in the quality of the product detail pages, and reviews may furnish customers with the wrong opinion of the product. 

If you already created a duplicate ASIN number, simply open a support case and propose an ASIN merge request to Amazon.

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EAN number

EAN stands for European Article Numbering code and represents an identification code that assists suppliers, sellers, manufacturers, and customers in finding a specific product. EAN is composed of unique letters and number combinations, and every product has its one of a kind EAN code. This product identification code is mainly used in Europe and globally, while the UPC number is used in the United States and Canada. 

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In general, this code is created to:

  • Make the quest for a particular product much easier
  • Reduce the possibility of human error when it comes to processing goods
  • Avoid handwritten and inconsistent information and wrong product labeling with a standardized system.

Manufactures have to use EAN code so that merchants can quickly locate and compare the goods online. In case you have a dropshipping business, you'll need to get in contact with your supplier to add EAN codes to your products.

With the EAN code implementation, your goods will have a higher value and a better reputation, while potential customers will be able to find them on a dime.

Amazon and many other massive e-commerce platforms require the implementation of an EAN code. All products being sold on these platforms need to have a valid identification code so that you can sell your products within Europe and obtain significant visibility on the marketplace. 

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When do you use the EAN code?

Not all online sellers need to have this code. But if you're selling products to the European audience, you'll need to ensure every product has an EAN code. 

In case you're selling digital products or products within the craft and art category, this code won't be necessary. Also, if your market is within the United States or Canada, you won't be needing EAN codes. 

The number of EAN codes that you will be needing depends on the number of items you're planning to sell. Since every different product needs its unique EAN, the same products with different patterns or sizes have different EAN codes. 

How to get an EAN code for your products?

To get an EAN code for your products, you will have to go to the GS1 website. This non-profit organization for standards in global business communication is the only official provider of EAN codes. Aldo, there are many resellers on the internet, don't fall for it.

Once you register your company within the GS1 organization, you will be assigned with a unique company prefix that will let you generate EANs. The company prefix is licensed to you for one year, after that, you'll need to renew it as long as you need to identify your goods. 

ISBN number

What is ISBN?

ISBN is an acronym that stands for an International Standard Book Number. This 13-digit code serves for worldwide identification of published books. ISBN that was once assigned can never be used again for another book. 

The International ISBN Agency is the authorizing authority for the ISBN system globally. The ISBN recognizes the title of a book, edition, the registrant, and format of products used by publishers, bookstores, and libraries, and it's vital for ordering, sales reporting, and inventory management. 

While this code is vital if you want your book to be found across the globe, many bookstores won't feature or sell your book if it is not primarily listed within their warehouse database. All books that need to be registered within the bookstore's warehouse must have an ISBN. 

WHSmith, one of the biggest book retailers in the UK, first launched the SBN or Standard Book Numbering system in 1967 to be able to identify books in their latest computer-assisted warehouse. Later, the whole world acknowledged this system as a proven one. ISBNs firstly were only ten digits long, but in early 2007, the code expanded to 13-digit code. 

Every ISBN is composed of 5 elements, and spaces or hyphens separate every section. Three out of five elements may differ in length, but the final code is always 13-digits:

  • The Prefix element - it's always three digits long, and it can either be 979 or 978;
  • The registration group element - it's between one to five digits in length and represents a specific country, geographical region, or language area partaking in the ISBN system;
  • The registrant element - its length is variable and goes up to 7 digits. This part recognizes the particular publisher or imprint;
  • The publication element - the same books that have different editions also have different EAN numbers. This number that can be up to 6 digits represents a particular edition or format of a specific book;
  • The check digit - the last single digit that mathematically verifies all other numbers with a Modulus 10 system with alternate weights of 1 and 3.

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What is an ISBN used for?

The ISBN barcode is a vital book identifier utilized by bookstores, libraries, publishers, online retailers, and all additional supply chain associates for ordering, sales records, stock management, and listing purposes. This code recognizes the registrant, book title, edition, and format.

ISBNs - law, and copyright

The ISBN code serves to identify, and it doesn't carry any form of legal or copyright protection. But in certain countries, ISBN is a legal requirement. 

Who should apply for ISBN? 

Publishers of the book should apply for the unique ISBN. The publisher is an individual, company, organization, or group accountable for initiating the product's distribution. Typically, the publisher is a person or body who maintains the cost and financial risk of distributing the book. 

Many countries have specific laws regarding publishing. Contact your national ISBN agency for more information and advice. 

UPC number

What is a UPC?

UPC stands for Universal Product Code, and as its name implies, it's a general code used with retailers and marketplaces to identify a specific product. UPC number is combined with the barcodes, and assists stores and sellers to monitor their sales. With UPC, manufacturers will have a clear insight into the number of products sold worldwide. 

This code is a 12-digit number with a barcode that identifies product name, type, weight, etc. These attributes are essential because a bar code reader recognizes the code and ties its characteristics to a specific price. The arrival of UPC provided the use of computerized billing and more express checkouts. 

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How many UPCs do you need?

Every single item that you are planning to sell must have its own unique UPC. Aldo The Company Prefix authorized by the GS1 will persevere the same numbers, you must assign a unique Product Number and Check Digit for every product. 

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How to generate a UPC?

With the rigorous standards of the GS1, individual companies aren't allowed to generate their own UPCs. If you need a barcode that will be able to get scanned at a Point of Sale, you must obtain a Company Prefix number authorized and given to you by the GS1. 

The US authority on barcode creation and UPC implementation are the GS1 US . You can find lots of useful information on their website to understand the essence of a brand licensed UPC, Company Prefix, and how to acquire GS1 UPC barcodes. 

Getting a barcode for your goods is a simple four-step process:

  • Apply for a UPC Company Prefix
  • Assign a unique item number
  • Define how your goods will show barcodes
  • Order UPCs for your products

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Frequently Asked Questions

What's the Difference Between UPC and EAN?

UPCs are generally used in the United States, while EAN codes are used worldwide. Most places accept both code systems, but if you're planning on expanding your products outside the US, EAN codes are probably a better fit for your business. 

EAN code has 13 digits, and the 0 is implemented at the beginning of the regular GTIN-12 number UPC. However, EAN and UPC are identical. 

Can you obtain an Amazon UPC barcode from a UPC reseller?

Definitely, the answer is no! In 2016. Amazon revised its UPC requirements that forbid UPC barcodes from 3rd parties. The only valid and acceptable UPCs are the ones provided directly from the GS1. To check all Amazon UPC requirements, visit your Amazon Seller Central.

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For many years suppliers took UPC numbers from UPC 3rd-party resellers who advertised online with discounts. As a result, Amazon flagged their UPCs because:

  • UPCs were already in use by a different supplier
  • UPCs were not issued to the supplier being set-up.

Do all Amazon suppliers need to place a UPC barcode on every product shipped to Amazon Fulfillment Centers?

Amazon demands an Amazon Product Label for every non-Stickerless Commingled item. Suppliers who aren't able to put an Amazon Product Label on every piece, must label products with a UPC label and then pay $.20 per label so that Amazon can print and implement their Product Label.

Is there an advised label size for the FBA Product Label?

Despite that Amazon allows suppliers to use different label sizes for the FBA Product Label, it would probably be the best if suppliers use a 2.625″ x 1.0″ label for the FBA Product Label. This sticker size allows the FNSKU barcode to be printed in a format accessible for scanning. 

How to list products that do not have a Product ID (UPC, EAN, or ISBN)

In case your product doesn't have any product ID (also known as a GTIN or Global Trade Item Number), you are qualified to demand a GTIN exemption. 

First, you need to check if your product exists within the Amazon catalog, matching any actual item. If so, you can add your bid to the current product detail page without a GTIN.

But if your product doesn't match to any available item in Amazon's catalog, you must request a GTIN exemption before you list your product on sale. 

Only after your product is attached along with an existing identification number of products already available in the catalog, or have received the GTIN exemption, you can list your item for sale!

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