Where You Should Buy Your Amazon FBA UPC Codes
What are Amazon UPC Codes?
As an Amazon seller, you should already be familiar with UPC codes, if you aren't, I recommend you start learning about becoming an Amazon seller before diving into more technical portions of the business. If you need to get started with selling on Amazon, we offer a free 10-day email course which will teach you all of the basics which you can find here.
There is only one legitimate producer of these UPC codes, that is GS1 (Global Standard 1). They are a non-profit organization that has set the global standard for supply chain barcoding. These UPC codes are used as a unique identifier of your item on Amazon, after all, Amazon is a logistics company and needs to adhere to the global standards.
Now… you don't actually put the UPC codes onto your item. Instead you add Amazon's standard, the FNSKU barcode… but this requires you to have a UPC code attached to your item. Rather than bore you with how they work, I will just get into the meaty details.
What are 3rd Party UPC Codes?
There are two types of 3rd party UPC codes
- UPC codes that have been replicated and generated
- UPC codes that have been resold off of 3rd party websites
UPC codes that have been replicated are not always searchable within the GS1 system, and this is a bad thing. I've tried to use these before on Amazon and they just yield an error, so they never worked. Let's talk about the next one.
UPC codes that have been resold, were registered on GS1 by a company and for some reason (maybe their product failed or they stopped producing it) they decided to resell them. The problem here is that they are not registered to your company name, but instead another, and this cannot be changed.
Do These 3rd Party UPC Codes Still Work?
Ah, now I am finally getting to the question. The UPC codes that have been resold (on eBay or some site) WILL work. I have used them on some of my products and they work flawlessly, and they still work (as of 6/22/17).
The problem is, you cannot change your UPC code once you have created you product on Amazon, and there is no way to get around this--your item is logged in Amazon's database and it is set. The only way to add a new UPC code is by creating a new item within Amazon, and then you will have reset all of your reviews and ratings.
BUT, these 3rd party UPC codes still work (only the resold ones).
The Future of 3rd Party UPC Codes
Amazon has warned of a policy that any item that does not match the GS1 database will be removed, however at this time they have not enforced this policy. It is incredibly important to stay up to date around Amazon's policies with UPCs.
I have a strong feeling that Amazon is going to start crosschecking UPC codes assigned to different ASINs on their marketplace and against the GS1 database. This basically means that any seller without authentic GS1 UPC codes are at risk of getting their listings removed, if Amazon chooses to do that in the future.