All products sold on Amazon must have a Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN). If your product doesn’t have one, you need to apply for a GTIN Exemption. But don’t worry, is not a as difficult as it sounds.
You will need to apply for a GTIN exemption under a specific product category in the event that your product does not have UPC, EAN, ISBN or a UPC code.
Let’s break down what a GTIN Exemption is and how you can apply for one.
What Is GTIN?
As mentioned above, a Global Trade Identification Number (GTIN), also known as Product ID, is a unique number given to every product sold on Amazon. You can find this on a product’s packaging as a barcode label.
A ‘Global Trade Item Number’, or GTIN, is a unique string of numbers that identifies individual products underneath the barcode, but is not the actual barcode.
Types of GTINs include:
- UPC: Most used in the U.S. and Canada, a Universal Product Code, also known as GTIN-12, is a unique 12-digit numerical product identifier beneath a barcode. You can see these on most physical products in retail stores. This makes it the most common barcode type worldwide.
- EAN: A European Article Number is used expressly for European marketplace products. The EAN is also known as GTIN-13 and is a unique 13-digit numerical product identifier beneath a barcode.
- JAN: A Japanese Article Number is like an EAN in that it is used expressly for Japanese marketplace products.
- ISBN: It is a product identifier used expressly for books. An International Standard Book Number can have either 10 or 13 digits. The date of publishing is what determined the number of digits.
- GTIN-14: These are shipping container codes.
UPCs VS Barcodes
While UPCs are the most common type of GTIN used for selling on Amazon.com, not every seller needs to have one for each product sold. However, it does depend on factors such as what brand and in what category you want to sell.
Sellers may be eligible for a GTIN exemption if they offer a private-label or a handmade product. This exemption would mean that they would not require a UPC for the product to be listed on Amazon.
Without a GTIN exemption, however, all listed products are required to have a GS1 (Global Standards 1) registered barcode. GS1 is a non-profit organization that develops and maintains global standards for business communication. GS1 is the only legal way to buy a UPC code for use on Amazon.
An affiliated UPC code, an Amazon barcode or FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) is required to be stuck onto your product packaging when making use of FBA.
This FNSKU is a code specifically for Amazon that tracks your inventory.
Before Requesting a GTIN Exemption
There is an existing list of brands that need a GTIN to list on Amazon.com. Because these brands provide a GS1 approved barcode on their products, GTIN exemptions cannot be availed for these brands.
A product will be “suppressed” if it fits into any of these brands and does not have a GTIN.
You can apply for a GTIN exemption when:
● You want to sell products for which a GTIN is not provided by the brand, manufacturer, or publisher.
● You are the manufacturer, brand, or publisher of a product you wish to sell but do not have barcodes for them.
● You want to sell product parts for which a GTIN is not provided such as car parts or accessories for a product.
● You want to sell more than one product in a bundled pack.
You can read the overview of category requirements and UPC exemptions to get a better understanding on which product categories do not need product IDs to be listed.
If you plan to list in restricted product categories, on top of a GTIN Exemption, you will be required to have category-level approval before listing those products.
You can go to help pages Overview of Categories for more information concerning category-level approvals and how you can apply for them.
To learn more, you can download the list of brands needing a GTIN.
Requesting a GTIN Exemption
You need to meet certain qualifications in order to be granted exemption.
The process of here opening a GS1 account and getting barcodes is a far easier way than pretending you are in need of GTIN exemption. In the long run, the easiest fix is to get GTINs.
To determine GTIN exemption eligibility, first check to see if your product exists in the huge Amazon catalog. Even if the same product is being sold by multiple different sellers or companies, it’s normal for it all to be connected to a single listing. This connection is driven by the barcode. ‘Exemption’ implies your products don’t exist on Amazon’s catalogue and/or you don’t have barcodes.
If there is an existing product that matches yours, your offer can be added on the detail page of existing product without a GTIN. Within a few minutes, the product should show under the manage inventory tab on “Seller Dashboard”.
If your product does not match, a request for a GTIN exemption must be made before your product can be added.
If you are the brand owner, manufacturer, or publisher, you will need the following : Name of the product and 2-9 images of the product against a white background pictured at two different angles including the packaging of the product.
1. The brand name entered upon application should correspond exactly with the brand name on the product and/or packaging.
2. Images need to be real-world pictures of the products and packaging. They need to show the product being held in hand or laid on a table when capturing the pictures.
3. The product branding needs to be permanently fixed onto the packaging or the product itself.
4. An approved GS1 barcode should not be available anywhere on the product and/or packaging since that would negate the need for GTIN Exemption.
If, by chance, you accidentally used the wrong brand name or category when filing for the GTIN exemption, you can always re-apply.
Listing under a different brand or in a new category means you need a new application each time. You can apply for GTIN exemption for up to ten different brand names / category combinations in a single form.
In the event you are reselling products, you will need a letter from the owner of the brand in the marketplace’s local language which contains:
1. Name and contact information of the addresser or writer of the letter.
2. Reasonable grounds on why the product needs a GTIN exemption.
3. Your address, contact number, and email or website address.
Afterwards, log in to Seller Central and click this link – Apply for a GTIN exemption
Choose “Select” and look for the category that is relevant to your product.
Indicate the brand in the appropriate section. Type “Generic” for items or bundles that are unbranded. It is important to take special characters or capitalizations of the Brand into consideration.
Next, “Check for eligibility”. In the event it returns as “ineligible”, a GTIN will be necessary. If not, press “Continue”.
You can then upload your supplemental letter or choose “No” and give the name of the product and provide the images. Then, “Submit”.
Amazon may take a minimum of 48 hours to respond. You can observe the status of this in the ‘Case Log’ section of Amazon Seller Central.
Amazon barcode (FNSKU)
An FNSKU label or an Amazon barcode still needs to be attached to each item even if you were approved for GTIN exemption. This helps Amazon after they receive it in an FBA warehouse. This step can be bypassed altogether if you are selling through FBM (Fulfilled by Merchant).
How to find your FNSKU barcode
When choosing your method of shipping, there will be two options available to you in terms of labeling. For a fee, Amazon can do the labeling of your products or you can choose to do the printing and labeling of each unit yourself.
There is a “Label Product” section, where you have the ability to print the exact number of labels required. After downloading the label PDF, you can hand that same barcode over to your packaging designer and they can add it onto your packaging. Doing this makes it so that you do not need to label each and every product by hand or pay Amazon to take over that aspect.
You can also find your FNSKU barcode by Going to your “Manage inventory” section and scrolling down to your product. Located on the right-hand-side next to the word “Edit”, you will find a drop down menu. There, you can select “Print item labels.
How to Add Products after Getting GTIN Exemption
Below is a helpful video that teaches more about adding listings upon receiving your GTIN Exemption:
Methods through which you can add products in Seller Central
1. Individual Products
You can add a Product one at a time. This applies to Individual and Professional sellers.
A comprehensive guide for using this tool can be found by clicking this link . It’s not required to input anything into the Product ID and Product ID Type areas in the Vital Info section when you have GTIN exemption.
1. First, navigate to your Inventory. Next, click on “Add a Product”. Select the option “I am adding a product not sold on Amazon” and enter the necessary product detail information.
2. In the event there isn’t any Product ID (Barcode, UPC, EAN, JAN or ISBN) on your product or the packaging of your product, you can file for GTIN exemption. This allows your product to be added without the Product ID.
3. Wait a minimum of 30 minutes after receiving a GTIN exemption before you list your products.
4. To list, repeat step 1. Then, ensure that you choose the correct product type approved for GTIN Exemption.
5. Next, add the brand name for which you have applied. To know if the brand name you’re adding is valid, check the Product ID field if it is highlighted in red, if not, that means it is an option.
6. After filling in any additional product information, click “Next”. The product will go live after all the mandatory attributes are available and the changes are saved.
2. Bulk Uploads
You can add products through upload (bulk uploads). This is available only to Professional sellers.
You can learn how to add your products through the use of inventory files here. It’s not required to input anything into the Product ID and Product ID Type areas in the Vital Info section when you have GTIN exemption.
1. First, navigate to your Inventory. Next, select “Add products Via Upload” Select the tab that says “Download an Inventory File”.
2. The next step is to go to the “Search Tool” section. There you can input the product type you intend to list.
3. If your product doesn’t need any UPC exemption (being able to list without a Product ID), you can view the Select Button against it, on the condition that the product category is not restricted. More information about this can be found here.
4. If category approval is needed, select “Request Approval”.
5. Currently, UPC exemption is not required for fashion jewelry.
6. Once you have chosen all the nodes that apply to you, choose which template you want to create. When you’re done, select “Generate Template.”
In the event you opt to fill in a flat file for a specific category, you can download the file you need here. Don’t forget to indicate the product feed type and keep the Product ID and Product ID Type areas vacant in the flat file. The brand name entered should correspond exactly with the brand name registered when yo apply for GTIN exemption.
If you’ve filed for a GTIN exemption that was approved on or after Aug 24, 2018, you will need to re-apply as these may expire if they haven’t already. You can do this via the GTIN exemption page. Any exemption filed after the aforementioned date will not expire. Your case log will have all your existing GTIN exemptions.
When applying for GTIN Exemption, it is important to make sure that you learn the process first. It can get complicated and frustrating if you aren’t sure what exactly you need to do. When you know what you qualify for and follow the guidelines set out by Amazon, the process is quite simple.
If you’re still confused by GTIN exemption or are unable to get it, you can always go the private label route and get UPC codes for your products.