If you are selling on Amazon, then you must know that you have to have a barcode so that amazon can track your products in its system. Amazon is very strict about what barcodes can be sued and how they are applied. So please read this guide in full so that your product arrives in Amazon’s fulfillment center ready to sell.
What are Amazon FBA Barcode Requirements?
We are combining multiple aspects of FBA Barcode requirements into one complete article, so that’s it’s easier to follow if you are selling on Amazon FBA then you need to understand exactly what to expect using Amazons’ official guide. It’s a little technical so we try to break it down. The official guide is below Below:
There are three different types of Barcodes that Amazon uses, and they require certain standards for each
- Manufacturer codes // Must be GCID, UPC, EAN, JAN, or ISBN
- Amazon Barcodes // FNSKU
- Transparency Authenticity Code // This one only applies to brand owners registered with Amazon’s anti-counterfeiting programs. This does not apply to small sellers.
UPC and FNSKU barcodes are the most widely used and recognized barcodes and are the ones that we recommend that you require
When to obtain a barcode
For most sellers buying products overseas, you need to obtain the barcode before your item finishes production and have the manufacturer apply it to the packaging before it is packed in the container to ship overseas.
The reason for this is that it is the easiest point to apply and almost all manufacturers will do this for free or a very small cost. If they do charge it’s only a few cents per item, which is much cheaper than the 20 cents a label that amazon changes to apply.
In addition, when you get the barcode applied at the factory, you can ship directly from the factory to the Amazon Fulfillment center. Many Freight Forwarders are set up to ship directly with amazon and if you are arranging a shipment in Freightos or Flexport, they give you the option to ship to an Amazon Fulfillment center. I suggest taking advantage of this.
Amazon FBA Barcode Types
Amazon recognizes several different types of barcodes But the two that you need to focus on are UPC and FNSKU. It’s very important to know that when you ship a product to Amazon you have to have one and only one visible barcode. If the item already has a barcode and you are using another code you must cover up the old code. There are no exceptions, and Amazon is very strict about this.
So when should you use FNSKU or UPC? FOr almost all sellers you should just use FNSKU, which is Amazon’s barcode. If you hear someone say “Amazons barcode” they are almost certainly referring to FNSKU.
If you are a European seller then you will want to look into EAN barcodes. EAN stands for European Article Number and is provided by GSI, the same organization that assigns UPC. in
Important note about GCID: Amazon stopped recognizing this code in 2018 and only uses it for product registered before this date. As this code cannot be used by new sellers anymore, we will not be covering it in this guide.
UPC, short for Universal Product Code, is the most common code used in North America. UPC is a 12 digit code that is unique to your product and recognized by almost all retailers including Amazon.
EAN stands for European Article Number and is provided by GS1, the same organization that assigns UPC. EAN has 13 digits instead of the 12 that UPC has.
FNSKU aka Amazon’s barcode
FNSKU stands for “Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit” and is assigned by Amazon to products that will be sold exclusively on Amazon. IF you are shipping directly to Amazon warehouse you will need to print this off, and if the product already has a UPC or other barcode you will need to make sure that this code covers it up. Amazon will only accept items that have one barcode.
FNSKU amazon’s own barcode, every seller will have a unique barcode for every unique item. We encourage sellers to obtain one from amazon so that Amazon will create a unique listing. If you are selling an item using a standard UPC then amazon will lump all items with the same UPC into one listing. This can lead to product hijacking by your competitors
Amazon ASIN codes
ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number. You will need to have a trademarked brand registered with the US trademark office and then apply for Amazon’s Brand registry. This is for more advanced sellers that have a developed private label brand.
What are the Best FBA Barcodes?
UPC is the best one to get, as it is the most universally recognized. UPC barcodes are recognized by both Amazon and almost all major retailers. FI you were to get just one this is what we would recommend. We’ll go into more detail on this later. We also believe that FNSKU is a great option for Amazon sellers. Please see below for a detailed guide on each.
How to Get an FNSKU from Amazon seller central
Assuming you already have a sellers account set up the process for obtaining FNSKU is fairly simple. IF you do not have one you need to set that up first.
- Log into your seller account
- Go to the ‘Manage FBA Inventory’ page
- Click on the product
- In the drop-down menu to the right of the product click print labels
- Click print
- Apply Labels
If you want your supplier to print and apply, you should save this as a pdf and send it to the supplier and instruct them on how to apply the labels. THey need to make sure that the FNSKU is the only barcode visible, and it is placed directly on the outside of the final retail packaging.
The full details are on the Amazon website so please follow this guide: Use an Amazon barcode to track inventory
Guide to UPC barcodes
UPC Barcodes, which are produced by GS1, are the most common and universally recognized barcodes in the United States.
UPC barcodes are provided by GS1, which is a non-profit organization that issues the codes and maintains a database of registered codes and their owner. You can apply for a UPC code directly from GS1 here: https://www.gs1us.org/
GS1 has over 100 organizations around the world, basically 1 per country, so be sure that you are registering directly with the one related to your country or the country you are planning on selling in. Regardless of which one you apply with, UPC barcodes are recognized worldwide.
If you are buying a barcode secondhand you can check who owns it here: http://gepir.gs1.org. Amazon is starting to check UPC codes assigned to different ASIN, using the GS1 database, so sellers who didn’t buy directly from GS1 could have their listing removed.
For GS1 You will need to pay a $250 registration Fee and $50 a year to keep it active, this will allow you to get 10 barcodes. IF you need to buy more than 10 then you need to pay extra.
How to Print FBA Barcodes
If you are applying the labels yourself, you can actually just use a standard desktop printer. However, you need to make sure that you have the correct label paper in the printer. According to Amazon: “All Amazon barcodes must be printed in black ink on white, non-reflective labels with removable adhesive. Dimensions must be between 1inch x 2 inches and 2 inches x 3 inches (1-inch x 3-inches or 2-inches x 2-inches, for example). ‘
The steps to print are:
- Go into seller central
- Click on items you want to print labels for
- Click on the action for selected items
- Pick how many labels you need to be printed
- Click print item labels
- Then you’ll get a print out of all items in pdf
- Click print
And that’s it!
How to place Barcodes For FBA
- Place on a flat area of the outside retail packaging, avoid placing on corners and curves
- Make sure to cover any other barcodes fully
- There should only be one scannable barcode per item, two different barcodes will confuse Amazon’s system, and it will get flagged.
- Use a Laser Printer, they are more accurate and less prone to smudges
Barcodes are a critical part of getting your product ready to be sold on FBA. Make sure that you do it right otherwise you may get hit with extra fees from amazon or even worse get your product rejected.
Overall you need to make sure that you have a valid UC or FNSKU, the labels are printed properly, and you placed them on the package. If you have any other questions about FBA barcodes and labeling, feel free to leave a comment and we’ll get back to you!