A Guide to Understanding UPC Codes

Having a UPC code for each of your products is important regardless of whether you sell on Amazon or your own website. Using a UPC code (Unique Product Code), you can instantly obtain product information for customers, distributors, and you.

All products or bundles/kits on Amazon must have their own unique product codes. To ensure that products are legitimate, Amazon is expected to clamp down on UPC checks in line with Global Standard 1 (GS1).

Is your product accurately coded in accordance with Amazon and global standards and what do you need to know about UPCs?

Who is GS1?

This is considered the global barcode standard. An international database on supply chain barcoding is available from this non-profit company.

Every company or product supplier receives a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) from GS1.  According to a product’s type, country, and industry, these are the official forms of codes.

UPC: What is it?

Computers and systems scan barcodes to discover which products are being scanned. Product information such as descriptions, prices, and stock counts can be accessed by scanning the barcode. Furthermore, it helps businesses track inventory, metrics, and individual product sales.

A GTIN is also known as a product barcode by GS1. The barcode can be either eight, twelve, or fourteen digits long, depending on the product. GTIN is basically the string of numbers used in your barcode. In addition to UPCs and EANs, GS1 supports two additional types of barcodes.

Unification Product Codes (UPCs) were originally created for product barcodes. There are 12 digits under each series of lines and bars. They are called GTIN-12 by GS1 because they contain 12 digits.

US and Canadian governments primarily use UPCs as their primary barcodes. EANs (European Article Numbers) are used in other countries more commonly than UPC codes. They are also known as International Article Numbers and are similar to UPCs, although they have slightly varying lengths and country codes.

What is the process for getting UPC codes?

It is only GS1 that is authorized to provide UPC codes to Amazon. GS1 offers to Buy UPC barcode directly, so you should purchase them from them. A number of companies, including Amazon, use it to verify the validity of an item’s UPC.

eBay is one example of a UPC reseller. Getting into legal trouble could occur if you do not purchase directly from GS1. The UPC code you get from a third party website is probably already associated with that company’s prefix. You won’t be able to obtain a specific prefix for your business, which can delegitimize it.


What is the UPC codes format?

You can classify UPC codes as either UPC-E or UPC-A. The UPC-A is almost always used for Amazon, since the retailer requires all 12 digits. A UPC-E program uses the same number as a UPC-A but without zeros.

A UPC code includes four sections: a country code, a company prefix, a product number, and a final digit.

Canada and the United States use zero (0) for their country codes. Prefixes are specific for your business-and only for your business. Your brand’s products can be differentiated exclusively with this feature. Your products are differentiated by their product numbers. According to GS1, the final digit is generated based on the rest of the numbers in the series.

A barcode is shown above these numbers. Computers can quickly and easily read the information when there are a series of lines and bars associated with each digit.


Ensure that you obtain your UPC codes from GS1 in a legitimate and confident manner. By doing this, you can ensure that your product code portfolio is valid, so you can make sales on Amazon, from your website, from box stores, and from other platforms internationally and nationally.


Leave a Comment