Finding GTINs For Your Products

GTINs, or Global Trade Item Numbers, are essential for identifying your products. In short, a GTIN is a numerical barcode and is found on a product, next to the barcode itself. Most marketplaces will require you to add a GTIN in order to list your product.

 

Read on to learn more about GTINs, how there is now a more accessible option for obtaining authentic GTIN, and how they work.

 

 

 

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Table of contents:

 

What is a GTIN?

Is a UPC the same as a GTIN?

Why are product identifiers required?

Why should you care about GTINs?

How to create a GTIN?

Is a GTIN mandatory?

How to find GTINs

How to send your product feed to various channels

Identifier exists (or not)

Ensure you have a brand listed


Final Thoughts

 


What is a GTIN?

 

A GTIN number (Global trade identification number) is a number that is unique to a product. It can take several forms depending on region and product type. Due to its international recognition and specificness, the GTIN is ideal for identifying products.

 

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Is a UPC the same as a GTIN number?

 

A UPC is one of various forms of GTIN. It is the form that is used throughout the North American continent on all products, except those that are multipacks, or books.

 

Although they are often used interchangeably, no, a UPC is not the same as a GTIN number but they are related. A UPC is a type of barcode symbol and GTINs are encoded into UPC barcodes, as well as other types of barcodes. A UPC is the form that is used throughout the North American continent on all products, except those that are multipacks, or books.

 

So what types of product identification may you encounter?

 

Here are the different GTIN numbers you might encounter:

 

UPC - North America

A symbol made of black lines and white spaces that is read by scanners at the point of sale, providing a 12-digit GTIN in a machine-readable format. Most predominantly used in North America. 

 

EAN - Europe

A symbol primarily used in Europe made of black lines and white spaces that is read by scanners at the point of sale, providing either an 8-digit or 13-digit GTIN in a machine-readable format. 

 

JAN - Japan

Similar to an EAN, it is a barcode used in Japan that provides either an 8 or 13 digit GTIN.

 

 

ITF-14 - Multipacks

The ITF-14 is generally used on higher packaging levels of a product, such as a case or carton. It lends itself well to be directly printed on corrugated material. It can provide 12,13, or 14-digit GTINs.

 

ISBN - For books worldwide

This is a 13-digit number (ISBN-10 values should be converted to ISBN-13)

 

ASIN - Amazon

A number specifically used on the marketplace Amazon. It consists of 10 letters/numbers.


Related: How to get an ASIN

 

MPN - Manufacturing Part Number

A number assigned by the products manufacturer. It uniquely identifies the product to the manufacturer and has no set structure.

 

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Why are product identifiers required?

 

Product identifiers are required so that marketplaces can differentiate between products. This helps them to:

 

  • match products with search queries
  • compare products sold by different merchants

 

GTINs are valuable because of their worldwide recognition and common application. GTIN numbers are the best way to ensure every product has a unique identifier. That is why marketplaces tend to use them as a means of identification and comparison for products merchants use in their data feeds.

 

Many channels, such as Amazon Marketplace actually require merchants to provide GTINs in their data feeds so their products can be listed. 

 

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Why should you care about GTINs?

 

Caring about your GTIN numbers is important for a number of reasons, here are some of the main ones:

 

  • Firstly, there's the effect it can have on boosting your international sales. This is because GTIN codes allow you easily export you entire product catalogue, and as they're internationally recognised codes, identifying the product remains simple. This saves you time and hassle.

  • While UPIs aren't required, similar items with correct identifiers provided will receive a higher priority than those without. This makes providing GTINs worth the time in the long run. 

  • If you're wanting to use a price comparison tool like our Price Watch, then your GTINs will come in handy. Price Watch finds competitors that are selling the same products as you and the GTIN is needed to match those products.

 

  • Correct GTINs allow for increased impressions and conversions. This is because searches are more accurate when you have a GTIN listed. This then increases your sales and profits!

 

  • Finally, caring for your GTIN numbers also improves user experience. This is because it makes your product easier to find and compare to others. This in turn is likely to increase your sales and will make it easier to compare yourself against the competition.

 

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How to create a GTIN?

 

Creating a GTIN number may seem like quite a daunting task, especially if you have a large product catalogue. However, it is not quite as challenging as it seems:

 


  • On that page, you can choose between two options to get GTINs. The single GTIN option allows you to get just a few barcodes for $30 each with no renewal fee. The Company Prefix option, which is for companies who need 10 or more GTINs, offers a cost per prefix depending on the quantity that you need (10, 100, 1,000, etc.). 

  • Both options lead you through a process similar to that of an e-commerce transaction. GS1 US will ask for your brand name, company name, number of UPCs needed, contact information, and payment information in subsequent screens. 

After this process is completed, GS1 US emails the GTINs or Company Prefix directly to you. You’ll also receive instructions for logging into the tool GS1 US Data Hub, which helps you create JPEGs of UPC barcodes based on the GTINs or Company Prefix that you receive.

 

You can print your own UPC barcodes, or use a solution provider specializing in barcode labeling. GS1 US has a list of recommended solution providers available here.

 

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Is a GTIN number mandatory?

 

Many eCommerce channels require GTINs if you wish to showcase and sell your products within their platforms. This is because they make it easier to manage product inventory, stock levels and product comparisons. All of which contributes to a smoother commerce experience.

 

Although GTIN number barcodes are no longer mandatory on Google, they are still highly recommended by the platform. Any items with missing GTINs risk receiving a lower priority. Incorrect GTINs can also hamper your listings on Google, as they often make it more challenging for consumers to find your products.

 

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How to find GTINs

 

GTINs can be found on your products packaging, or cover (in the case of books). Below are some example barcodes that will give you a sense of how the GTIN number can be displayed on your product.

 

 

 GTIN Example 1GTIN Example 2GTIN Example 3

 

If you can't find the GTIN, you can always contact your supplier or the product's manufacturer to ask for the MPN.

 

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Sending your identifiers to sales channels with a data feed

 

Should you have a large product catalogue, you may wish to avoid adding product identifiers manually when sending your feed to various channels. To bulk upload your products quickly and effectively, you can try using our data feed management service.

 

Using DataFeedWatch to upload a large product catalogue is efficient and fast. Here are some tips to ensure everything runs smoothly when uploading your product feed to Google Shopping:

 

Identifier exists (or not)

 

Marketplaces will generally want to know if unique identifiers exist for your products. In most cases, they do exist, especially with manufactured products, as they will always have an MPN. In this case, you would set the 'identifier exist' attribute to True.

 

Check if Identifier exists or not

 

 

The identifier will only ever be set to false if the goods are custom made.

 

Custom goods consist of homemade arts and crafts, gemstones etc.

 

However, you should aim to create a GTIN number of some form for these products too, as most marketplaces will not allow produce without a unique identifier to be listed. And even if it is allowed, it will often struggle to sell due to it being largely invisible to searches.

 

Ensure you have a brand listed

 

If you don’t have a brand listed for a product, that could cause your product to sell poorly. This is due to less visibility. Therefore, it is important to have something in your feed for the brand attribute. This problem is relatively simple to resolve.

If all your products have the same brand, you can just add that one brand for all products:

 

How to list brand

 

Map Brand from Title or Description like above.

Alternatively, if it is another brand then it should be shown somewhere else in your feed. If the Brand is mentioned in the Title or the Description or another field, you can map it from there.

In the unlikely event that no brand is listed anywhere, contact the product manufacturer or supplier.

 

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Final thoughts

 

Adding a GTIN to all your products in your catalogue may seem a little unnecessary and arduous at first. But it is certainly worth it.

The simple addition of a GTIN number will save you time exporting product data to different marketplaces in the future, whilst it will increase impressions, conversions, and sales in the present.

 

 

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