This is a simple and highly inclusive article which provides the reader with all the needed information about Amazon barcodes and other related numbers, that sellers face regularly and sometimes get confused about. Learn the most important barcodes to be able to easily sell on Amazon.
Barcode Types & Confusion?
Newcomer Amazon sellers often get confused about the different barcodes and numbers, since Amazon requires barcodes for easier product sorting, tracking inventory throughout the fulfillment process, and facilitation of faster delivery. People face those policies and abbreviations, such as UPC, EAN, ASIN, FNSKU, etc.; they don't know what to take into consideration, what is important, what is the difference between them.
There is nothing to be confused about; there are simple explanations for each of the abbreviations.
UPC and EAN - The Code to Create a Listing
There's a code which, you've, surely, heard of, and it is the one that you'll use only once to create a listing on Amazon: It is the UPC (Universal Product Code) which looks exactly like this (see image below).
Amazon requires the UPC when you create your listings. You simply buy a barcode from barcode sellers (they cost $2-10 depending on quantity), such as Barcodes Pro, then enter the numbers while creating a listing, so that it is associated with the UPC. You won’t need the UPC again for any purpose; also, you do not use it on each product of your listing, Amazon system accepts the code and associates it to the whole listing no matter how many – 5 or 1000 – items are included in the listing.
NOTE that each color, size, variant of the same product is considered as a separate listing, and suggest a separate UPC. For instance, one UPC associates only with the black Apple Smart Folio, while for the white color case there should be another UPC.
UPC vs EAN
Let’s figure out what is EAN and what is the difference between EAN and UPC. The 2 barcode types differ with the number of digits they include and the specificity of the EAN of mentioning a particular country. Thus, EAN goes for European Article Number, and it consists of 13 digits, unlike the UPC which has only 12 digits.
ASIN - The One You Won’t Actually Deal With
Now, let’s switch to what you do NOT need to work with. Some of you may have heard of or seen the abbreviation ASIN.
ASIN stands for Amazon Standard Identification Number, which consists of 10 symbols and is generated by Amazon after you create a new product (listing) in Amazon’s catalog, using the one-time UPC.
Therefore, this is the one code that is only and solely Amazon’s business. You have nothing to do with the ASIN code while packaging and selling your products. Amazon automatically creates ASINs to ease its work. You can see the ASIN in the product/technical details of a product.
FNSKU - The One You Put on Product Packaging
There is only one code that should be interacted physically with either by you or the manufacturer/supplier of your product – the FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit). FNSKU is for Amazon warehouses to properly track and send out the products you sell.
Unlike UPC, FNSKU has 3 parts of information:
- The barcode with an actual code below
- Product name and description (color, size, etc.)
- Product condition (new, used, etc.)
When you create your shipping plan and after you type in the number of products you want to sell, Amazon provides you with FNSKU labels according to the mentioned number. Let’s say you want to sell 200 products, then you have to type in 200 as the number of products, and Amazon Seller Center then will send you a PDF file with 200 FNSKU labels, which you should forward to the manufacturer of your product or apply them by yourself, by printing the labels and putting them on the packaging. Simple as that!