Product IDs: Difference Between ASIN, UPC, EAN, and GTIN

The importance of product identification numbers cannot be overstated when it comes to selling items on Amazon. These numbers are assigned to each product on the Amazon marketplace so that they can be tracked, managed, and searched for without any confusion. The best way for sellers to make the most of the Amazon platform is to familiarize themselves with the various product identification systems used there.

So, without further ado, let us see what are the product IDs, and what differentiates different product IDs such as ASIN, UPC, EAN, and GTIN from each other.


What are Amazon Product IDs?

On the Amazon marketplace, products are each given a unique identifier known as a “product identification number” or “product ID” to help with their identification, tracking, and inventory management.

These identifiers go a long way in enabling proper cataloging, efficient stock management, and a trouble-free shopping experience for the consumer. They make sure that every product is listed in its own unique way so that customers aren’t confused by similar names. By acting as a sort of digital fingerprint for each product, they allow Amazon’s system to easily differentiate between them and put them in the appropriate category.

What are the Different Product IDs Used on Amazon?

Amazon uses a variety of product identifiers, each of which is designed for a particular task. Here is everything that you need to know those codes:

1. ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number)

Each item for sale on Amazon is given an ASIN (Amazon Standard Identification Number). In Amazon’s ecosystem, it acts as a product’s digital fingerprint. ASINs are essential for proper product labeling, cataloguing, and search functionality.

a. Importance of ASINs

There wouldn’t be any way to find products on Amazon without ASINs. Customers can quickly find the correct product listing by entering the ASIN into the search bar. Amazon Standard Identification Numbers help customers shop more efficiently by allowing them to narrow their search to specific categories and subcategories.

From the perspective of a retailer, ASINs are crucial for stock control. There is typically a separate ASIN for each size or color option available for a given product. As a result, retailers can keep tabs on and manage stock for each SKU individually, eliminating the risk of overselling or running out of a given variant.

ASINs are also useful when selling products with variations, such as books which come in a variety of formats (hardcover, paperback, Kindle edition), and electronics come in a wide range of storage capacities. To ensure proper tracking and a consistent shopping experience for all customers, we’re assigning unique ASINs to each variant.

b. How ASINs are generated by Amazon

When a seller lists a new product to the Amazon marketplace, an individual ASIN is generated on the fly for that product. The ASIN is generated using information about the product’s category, brand, and other identifiers. This guarantees that all Amazon products are assigned a distinct number for easy management and tracking.

c. Examples and use cases of ASINs

Consider this case: A seller is providing T-shirts in a variety of sizes and hues. There will be a separate ASIN for each distinct color and size combination. Customers can quickly and easily sort through the available options and settle on one they like best.

For example, one possible ASIN for a red medium-sized T-shirt is “B07ABC1234”, while “B07ABC5678” could stand in for a blue large-sized T-shirt.

2. UPC (Universal Product Code)

The Universal Product Code (UPC) is a barcode system that is universally accepted for use in the identification of products. It is a 12-digit number and barcode combination. UPCs were created to standardize the process of identifying and keeping track of products sold on Amazon and other retail platforms.

a. Importance of UPCs

Universal product codes are used by businesses everywhere to identify products and monitor their movement through the supply chain. These numbers allow for precise product data to be exchanged between businesses, streamlined transactions at the point of sale, and more effective inventory management.

If a product’s Universal Product Code (UPC) already exists, sellers can use it when listing items on Amazon. Sellers can accurately identify their wares by Universal Product Code (UPC) when using this system. However, Amazon also allows sellers to make up their own ASINs for products that don’t have UPCs. This opens the door for retailers to add more products to their catalogs or to list items that are truly one-of-a-kind but lack a universal product code.

b. How UPCs are generated by GS1

The GS1 – a global standards body – is in charge of UPCs. This organization guarantees the accuracy and uniqueness of product identification. GS1 gives each manufacturer a unique prefix, from which they can generate their own product codes. Because of this process, each UPC will be completely unique across the globe.

c. Differences between UPCs and ASINs on Amazon

UPCs and ASINs are similar in structure, but their uses and applications differ significantly. UPCs are a standardized method of identifying products that can be used across platforms and stores. They are used to uniquely identify products in international trade.

ASINs, on the other hand, are unique to Amazon and are only ever used there. They’re used to distinguish individual products for the purposes of Amazon’s marketplace search, categorization, and stock management.

Even more specifically, ASINs are unique to individual product listings on Amazon and are primarily used for internal identification and organization, while UPCs are typically associated with physical products and can be used to track inventory across different retailers.

3. EAN (European Article Number)

The European Article Number (EAN) is a barcode format commonly used to identify products across the European Union. EANs, like UPCs, are used to identify products in a single store. They are a 13-digit number with an associated barcode symbol.

a. Comparison between EAN and UPC

There are many similarities between EANs and UPCs. The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is the foundation for both the Universal Product Code (UPC) and the Electronic Article Number (EAN). The primary distinction between the two is in their geographical distribution; UPCs are standard worldwide while EANs are primarily used in Europe.

b. Usage of EANs Across Various Platforms and Retailers

EANs, like UPCs, are universally accepted by retailers and can be used on a wide range of channels. They offer a consistent system of item identification that can be easily implemented in any retail setting around the world. EANs allow for streamlined supply chain operations, precise product tracking, and reliable information exchange between retailers and suppliers.

c. Differences between EANs and ASINs on Amazon

Within the Amazon marketplace, EANs and ASINs have separate functions. EANs are not unique to Amazon and are used for product identification everywhere. Existing EANs can be used for product listings on Amazon, providing interoperability between Amazon with other retail outlets.

ASINs, on the other hand, are unique to Amazon and are created automatically by the site whenever a new product is listed. Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) are used for searching, categorizing, and managing stock within the Amazon marketplace. In order to increase product exposure and provide a seamless customer experience unique to the Amazon platform, ASINs are crucial.

4. GTIN (Global Trade Item Number)

There are many different kinds of barcodes in use for identifying products around the world, but they are all grouped under the umbrella term of GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). Products are given GTINs to ensure uniformity in product identification across the international supply chain. They’re instrumental in ensuring smooth product tracking, inventory management, and communication between retailers.

The most common forms of GTINs are the UPC and the EAN. The GTIN barcode prevalent in North America is the 12-digit Universal Product Code (UPC), while in Europe and elsewhere, the 13-digit European Article Number (EAN) is more common. Both the aforementioned codes are regional product identifiers that are subsets of the Global Trade Item Number.

a. Relationship Between GTIN and Product Identification on Amazon

On Amazon, product identification relies heavily on Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), which include UPCs and EANs. GTINs can be used as identifiers when listing products on Amazon. When you enter the GTIN when listing a product on Amazon, the system will compare it to its extensive database of products and display only the relevant details.

If sellers do not have a product ID for their listing on Amazon, they can request Amazon for an exemption. Amazon will consider various factors such as product type, and whether it matches an existing product or not, before deciding whether to give you the exemption or not.

b. Differences Between GTIN and Other Product IDs on Amazon

Differences in scope and purpose separate GTINs (like UPCs and EANs) from other product IDs (like ASINs). GTINs are universal identifiers used by retailers and distributors across the globe. They offer a consistent means of labeling products and facilitating their incorporation into the global supply chain.

ASINs, on the other hand, are unique to Amazon and are created automatically by the site whenever a new product is listed. ASINs are essential for searching, categorizing, and managing inventory on Amazon because of their unique identification role.

While GTINs guarantee interoperability, ASINs provide special benefits within the Amazon marketplace. In order to increase product exposure and sales performance, sellers can use ASINs to take advantage of Amazon’s unique features, such as improved search algorithms and optimized product categorization.

5. Other types of IDs

There are also some product IDs used on Amazon which do not fall under the category of either the ASIN or GTIN. Let us take a look at them too:

a. SKU

Stock Keeping Unit (SKU) is a unique alphanumeric code given to a specific merchant for their product. This code helps the sellers to track their own inventory, without having to rely on an E-Commerce platform to do so.

b. FNSKU

Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU) is an SKU Amazon has designed for sellers using its Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) service. It is a barcode which Amazon assigns to FBA sellers, and then enables them to track their own products through the Amazon Seller Central account. 

Conclusion

Having a unique identifier for each product is essential for success on Amazon. They guarantee accurate cataloging, effective stock management, and a trouble-free shopping experience. Amazon uses a number of different product ID formats, including ASIN, UPC, EAN, and GTIN.

Amazon Standard Identification Numbers (ASINs) are used for internal tracking, classification, and inventory management. The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a universal barcode that can be used in a variety of markets around the world. UPCs and EANs are basically GTINs tailored for different parts of the world to identify products. Universal Product Codes (UPCs) and European Article Numbers (EANs) are both universal product codes used worldwide to identify products.

Target audience, Amazon-specifics, and retailer/platform needs are all things to think about when settling on a unique identifier for your product. Using the correct product ID will result in simplified inventory management, and improve service for your customers.

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