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What is GTIN/UPC/EAN number?

The boost in ecommerce business is tremendous in the past few years. In the online business it is crucial to know what is being traded so that customers get exactly what they ordered and don’t have to go through a tedious return process. Also, if an incorrect product reaches the customer the supplier is most likely to lose that customer due to disappointment.

What is GTIN/UPC/EAN number?

Therefore, it is now mandatory for online sellers to make sure that their products are uniquely identified in the marketplace. This is possible by updating the GTIN/UPC/EAN number of the product. The GTIN code system not only helps to identify the exact product but it also increases the sales percentage.

The system runs smoothly without causing any confusion and also helps Google to identify your products to display them on relevant ads. If you are confused about the GTIN/UPC/EAN system then this article will help you understand it thoroughly.

Google’s Initial Attempts

Ecommerce businesses also have to make sure that their products are identified correctly on the search engines. This way when a customer searches for a particular product he gets the same result with exact price of that product. Google started this service initially in 2002 under the name Froogle where shopping comparisons were possible. Initially, Froogle used Google spider to accumulate product data from various ecommerce websites to compare them. Five years later, in 2007, they launched Google Product Search, and then Google Shopping in 2012. All this software were aimed towards making shopping experience smooth for the consumer and trading easier for the suppliers.

But, Google faced numerous problems like dealing with fake products, identical products from same manufacturer, etc. to name few. When things were still not getting into place Google noticed a system that could potentially solve all of their problems and make the whole process easier. It was in 2016 when Google decided to adopt the GTIN standard. This standard is being used in traditional supply chains from over past 40 years. This system allows a product to be identified exactly with its price and other relevant information without getting mixed up with several other ‘fake’ or equivalent products.

What is GTIN?

As business grows it becomes connected to several traders domestically or internationally. At such times, global product identification standards which can be used by all the traders are necessary so that each product can be uniquely identified and avoid mix-matching. A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a unique international code assigned to each product to manage millions of products references worldwide. It lies within the EAN/UCC framework for standard product identification.

A GTIN code varies according to the product and the country of sale. The variations are:

  • UPC (Universal Product Code) – 12 digit code assigned for North America
  • EAN (European Article Number) – 13 digit code assigned for Europe
  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number) – 10 or 13 digit code for books
  • ITF-14 – 14 digit code for multipacks GTIN 14

There is a chance that you might confuse GTIN with MPN (Manufacturer Part Numbers) codes. MPN’s are not global codes. These codes are assigned by the manufacturer and are uniquely identified within that supply chain only.

Structuring of GTINs

A GTIN number can be found just below the barcode on a product. It is created by the manufacturer and is made for manufacturer, importer, distributor, and seller. A GTIN code is divided into three parts. The first part is the company’s prefix. Its length depends upon company’s coding requirements. The second part the reference number which is assigned by the brand owner himself. The third part is the last digit and it is generated automatically. It is based on the first 12 digits and, thus, avoids entry error.

Whenever a GTIN code is generated for a product it is for that specific product only. Therefore, if some attributes of that products are changed like style, brand, quantity, color, size, etc. a new GTIN number must be generated.

A GTIN number is not required for custom goods like products made at home or if you are the only seller. Such products include paintings, hand-crafted materials, pottery, etc.


Why you Need to Get GTIN for your Products NOW?

Google has reached every corner of the world today. Most of the businesses rely on Google’s ad service in order to reach maximum customers and sell their products. As Google adopted the GTIN code system in 2016 over its initial Google Shopping system they have making essential changes in order to make services smoother and enhance customer experience.

Recently, Google has announced some changes around adding the Global Trade Item Number to the product data feed for PLAs. Manufacturers who have received warnings regarding the same seem to be worried. If you are ignoring those warnings then you need to get your updates done as soon as possible. Because, Google will be disapproving products that don’t have a valid GTIN associated with it in the feed.

Google has introduced these changes in order to make your products ads richer and make it easier for the customers to find your products. The Unique Product Identifier allows Google to understand what product it is and, thus, it can display your product’s ads at relevant places.

The most important reason to get GTIN for your products is simple. One product having same size, color, etc. can be sold by different retailers under different names and even different price tags. This happens due to poorly optimized feeds and incorrect or incomplete GTIN codes. If your product has incorrect GTIN then it is most likely to run into same problem and, thus, decrease your sales despite of the ads flashing everywhere. Therefore, once you have optimized the feed and corrected the GTIN you increase the chances of selling your products.

Advantages of using GTIN Codes

GTIN codes have become global standard for product identification which allow traders as well as e-commerce sites to identify which product is exactly yours. There are several advantages of using a GTIN code. Here are some of them:

Added Visibility in Market

E-commerce business is boosting like never before. Every manufacturer is preferring to sell their product online. Search engines become a crucial tool used by customers as well as marketplaces to buy, search and compare the products. A GTIN code plays a vital role at such point. Once you include a GTIN code in your product catalogue it will improve your SEO and your product will appear in top searches across the marketplace.

Google Shopping has now made it mandatory for retailers to include the GTIN codes in their product feed in order to appear on Google search. Google released a data mentioning that products having GTIN codes have 40% higher click through rate and receive 20% more sales.

Improving Product Catalogue

If you are planning to take your products in online marketplace then you must know that e-commerce sites like Amazon require a customer satisfaction rate of 90%. Now to get to that number you will require a good customer database. Once you provide a GTIN code your product catalogue gets updated and you can retrieve pre-existing product information along with the customer reviews related to that product. This helps you improve your ‘seller’s reputation’ across the platform.

Increased Sales

Once you provide a GTIN code it not only improves the quality of your product page but also gives you additional upselling offered by marketplaces. Your products also appear in the recommended products at the bottom of the page. This helps you get more customers and sell more products.

This code also makes it easier for you to export products into the international market as it is identified globally. Using GTIN also substantially reduces data entry and the need to constantly maintain the cross referencing among the vendors and suppliers is no more needed.

In conclusion, a GTIN code will help you get your products more scope with respect to customers and marketplace. It helps to avoid any clashes between a similar product sold by some other retailer and a customer can choose from the most trusted one. A GTIN number is recognized globally therefore your product is valid in other countries too. This gives you scope to expand your business and open it to the foreign market. Overall, getting a unique identification code for your products will put you in the front seat in market place and help you increase your sales tremendously.

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