Selling Your Branded Product Via Amazon? Learn What Challenges You May Face

Woman using smartphone to purchase products on Amazon

Amazon requires a UPC/EAN symbol (the new term for this is a GTIN (Global Trade Identification Number) on every product that goes through their distribution system. As the brand owner, this means you’re responsible for completing this essential task.

Unfortunately, Amazon’s policy is not consistent across all their product lines and countries they sell through. The challenge is in their policy of the ownership of the GS1 Company Prefix (which is the first 6 characters of the UPC Symbol).


Assume a UPC number of 0.12345.67890.5. The 0.12345 is the prefix, the 67890 is the product code and the 5 is a check character.

In some locations and/or product lines, Amazon requires the prefix be registered to the brand owner in the GS1 Master data base (GEIPR). In other locations or product lines, Amazon does not have that requirement.

Here is where the brand owner has to make a choice.

The brand owner can purchase any number of product code from a “wholesaler” who uses a single shared prefix for many brand owners. In this case, the shared prefix will be registered to the wholesaler in the GEIPR, and not to your company as the brand owner.

Where Amazon requires the prefix be registered to the brand owner, Amazon will not accept the product. The only way around the Amazon requirement noted above is for the brand owner to own or license the prefix and have the prefix registered in the brand owners name.

Of course, we’re in the business of reselling old unused prefixes, and we prefer the ownership vs. license process. If you prefer the license process, you will have to do so through one of the world wide GS1 affiliates.

Have questions or comments? Contact our team to learn how we can help you!

Ted Schultze
Prefix-xchange, Inc./President
“The Bar Code Doctor™”