Amazon Barcodes – FAQs on saving money, getting better visibility and getting more sales

We get asked lots of questions about Amazon barcodes and lots of retailers and sellers get frustrated with the cost of them as if you go to GS1 to get them, they aren’t the cheapest thing to get your hands on.

Amazon Barcodes - Wrigleys Chewing GumIf you’ve never heard of GS1, they are the company that are acknowledged at inventing modern barcoding practices and the idea goes back as far as 1948 in the US when a guy called Norman had an idea at the seaside and drew out a barcode in the sand.  It was then pioneered here in the UK and GTINs were born.

The first use of a GS1 barcode was for Wrigleys Chewing Gum back in 1974.

They are now crucial to selling on Amazon and becoming ever increasingly important on ebay too as they start to move to a similar model as Amazon.    Here are the questions we get asked the most regularly answered by Prabhat.

Are there any alternatives to getting Amazon barcodes from GS1

Yes – there a lots of online sellers selling barcodes from less than £1 per barcode just do a quick google search.   They are a lot cheaper than GS1 and by that we mean they are low value.  GS1 maintain a global database of barcodes to ensure that your barcode has integrity and cannot be duplicated.

Why shouldn’t I buy barcodes from ebay or other sources?

If you want low cost barcodes you can save a fortune on ebay on the per barcode price.  These are great if you want to use them offline in a shop or for internal management of some sort.   The problem comes when you consider that these barcodes are essentially a sequence of numbers, and other people could be duplicating those numbers too – so there will be duplicates that can give you issues with Amazon (read on for more information).

When you buy barcodes from GS1, their global database ensures that if you do have a duplicate from a ‘grey’ barcode, you have the backup that yours is legitimate if you run into problems with Amazon.

Should I buy barcodes for my branded products to avoid competition with other sellers for the buy box?

So you’re selling a pair of new Addidas trainers let’s say – brilliant, so are 101 other sellers and competition for the buy box is really tight and you’re struggling to win it.  Why not set up a new listing on Amazon with a brand new Amazon barcode sourced from GS1… and hey presto you get a listing of your own?

Be very careful doing this!!! This can lead to problems if the manufacturer; original seller or one of your competitors report this to Amazon.  They could hit you with a duplicate listing violation – this won’t get you kicked off Amazon, but it’s a violation against your account nonetheless.

With this, also think about your visibility in search – one listing with lots of sellers competing for the buy box is going to be far more visible than a listing with just you selling it.

Can I opt out of having Amazon barcodes?

Amazon barcodes are mandatory for most sellers – if you are an importer or distributor you will be required to have a barcode.   However, if you’re a manufacturer, you can apply to be exempt from having a barcode if you’re the only source of buying that product.

What about ebay and Amazon Barcodes and ASINs?

Don’t forget, if you have an ASIN for an item on Amazon it’s also supported on ebay which can make it really quick to list your Amazon products on ebay.   There’s a great article on Tamebay about it.

How do you increase your sales on Amazon?

This is something we get asked lots – have read of our recent blog post on increasing sales on Amazon post and learn some more on how we’ve helped rocket sales for one of our customers.

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