Amazon’s New UPC Barcode Requirements — what they mean…

The whole point of barcodes is that every product will have its own unique 12-digit barcode number (called a UPC). This UPC can then be used for inventory tracking regardless of where in the world that product is sold. To make this happen, a system was created in the early 1970s by a company called GS1. They have managed this database of 12-digit numbers ever since — always keeping track of which barcodes have or have not been sold and to whom.

Unfortunately, with the corrupting of the barcode system by so many wildcat UPC sellers, Amazon has been forced to require proof that each new UPC uploaded into their system can show legal chain of custody from GS1 directly to the company attempting to list the new product. This proof comes in the form of a Letter of Affiliation on the letterhead of the company who originally purchased the barcodes from GS1 as well as a copy of the original GS1 certificate.

After much investigation, there are currently only two legitimate UPC barcode sellers where you can receive these necessary documents to be fully whitelisted for selling on Amazon: GS1 and has been selling barcodes since 1998, longer than any other seller of barcodes aside from GS1, and it is notable that their prices are dramatically cheaper than GS1. After purchase, they instantly provide you with the required signed Letter of Affiliation and original GS1 certificate. They will also place your company, products, and barcodes directly into the GS1 database for you for free (a big savings from the large annual recurring fee charged by GS1).

In summation, it is unfortunate that there are now countless companies who will have to redo their packaging because of Amazon’s new UPC barcode requirements . But these requirements are here to stay so we can only recommend that you perform your due diligence before purchasing barcodes from any online seller. Always ask if they can provide you with a signed Letter of Affiliation and the original GS1 certificate. Otherwise, you will not be able to list your products on Amazon.

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– Erik Quisling

Erik Quisling is the Founder and CEO of Started in 1999, has been featured in both The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post and has helped more than 100,000 businesses bring their products to market with barcodes.
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