Finding GTINs For Your Products. Step by Step.

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 they work and their various forms.





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.


So what types of GTIN may you encounter?


Here are the different GTIN numbers you might encounter:


UPC - North America

A 12-digit number (8-digit UPC-E codes should be converted to 12-digit UPC-A codes). This GTIN is also recognised as GTIN-12.


EAN - Europe

This is a 13-digit number (also known as GTIN-13).


JAN - Japan

An 8 or 13-digit number, also known as GTIN-13)


ISBN - For books worldwide

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


ITF-14 - Multipacks

A 14-digit number also known as GTIN-14.


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. 


You will of course, need to use a GTIN specific for your type of product or location. If your product is a book then you will need an ISBN. If your product is being sold in North America, you will need to use a UPC.


GS1 states that ‘a consumer product GTIN or barcode number is created by combining the GS1 Company Prefix licenced to you with a unique item reference.’ This means to create a GTIN number, you need to first attain a company prefix with GS1 or a similar entity. This can be done by getting in touch with GS1. 


GS1 company prefixes are based on your location. However, as products can be made anywhere, the prefix does not identify the country of origin of a product. 


You can create your GTIN by using the following guide:


  1. Once you have a company prefix, your GTIN number will need a certain number of digits to be completed. By combining that prefix with the product's reference number (which you self allocate), you should reach the ideal amount of digits to create a GTIN for your product and location.


  1.  If you still require 1 more digit, this will be due to certain GTIN numbers needing a ‘check digit’. This is calculated algorithmically by using the other numbers used so far. You can get your final digit by using the check digit calculator.


Alternatively, you can use GS1’s tool to create a GTIN.



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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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