July 26, 2021

How to Request an Amazon GTIN Exemption

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min read

Knowledge of product IDs is among the basics that every Amazon seller should master. These unique codes or strings of numbers are assigned to each product sold in any marketplace. The use of these IDs plays a crucial role in inventory management, sales tracking, and supply chain management. Common examples of product IDs include GTINs and MPNs. If you’re new to Amazon, the various codes for these identifiers can be confusing. Fortunately, there are plenty of comprehensive guides that can help you decode them. However, it is also important to know that not all products sold on Amazon require product IDs. While not as confusing as differentiating barcodes and identifiers, understanding when and how to request an Amazon GTIN exemption can still befuddle new sellers.

In this article, we provide all the information sellers need to learn how to get GTIN exemption on Amazon. We also share effective solutions for making GTIN exemption requests as stress-free as possible.

What is a GTIN on Amazon?

The GTIN, or Global Trade Item Number, is a unique string of numbers that identifies a particular product sold in any market worldwide. Often, it is found with the barcode you see on product labels or packaging. Essentially, a GTIN is a product identifier code that is required in order to sell items both in physical stores and on online platforms like Amazon. These identifiers help sellers avoid catalog mix-ups, conflicts in data, and other inventory issues. So, aside from verifying that your product is unique, GTINs also help you manage your inventory and ensure that sales are attributed to your account.

GTINs come in a variety of forms, the most common of which is the UPC. Here are the usual GTINs you can expect to encounter as an Amazon seller:

  • Universal Product Code (UPC). UPC, also known as GTIN-12, is a 12-digit numerical product identifier used in the US and Canada. It is also the most prevalent product ID used globally, with almost all products having a UPC-based barcode.
  • European Article Number (EAN). Outside the United States, EAN is more largely used as a product identifier. It usually contains either 8 or 13 digits. The data structures in this code type include GTIN-8(EAN/UCC-8) and GTIN-13(EAN/UCC-13).
  • Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF-14). Also known as GTIN-14 (EAN/UCC-14), ITF-14 is a 14-digit identifier found on shipping cartons and outer packaging of some products. More commonly used for logistics, they are used to identify trade items as they move through the supply chain.
  • International Standard Book Number (ISBN). Specific to books and publications, ISBNs include 10 or 13 digits that uniquely identify a specific edition of a published work. It is required for the sale and distribution of books, ebooks, and other publications. Unlike the UPC and EAN, which are provided by GS1, ISBNs are issued by agencies authorized by the International ISBN Agency.
  • Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU). – This is not a GTIN. Instead of adding it to this list, I created another list of product IDs used on Amazon.
  • Japanese Article Numbering (JAN). Previously used for products manufactured and marketed in Japan, the JAN comprises 13 digits, the first two of which are the country code 45 or 49 for Japan. Today, however, only UPC and EAN are used as GTINs to streamline international trade.

Except for ISBNs, GTINs are issued and managed by GS1, a global organization dedicated to maintaining international business standards. While most products sold on retail markets require GTINs, it is possible to apply for Amazon Seller GTIN Exemption for certain items.

Aside from GTINs, there are other product IDs you need to be familiar with when selling on Amazon. Some of the most commonly used ones are the following:

  • Stock Keeping Unit (SKU). These alphanumeric codes are used in many different marketplaces to track inventory. Often, these codes are created and assigned by the sellers themselves. While most selling platforms support the use of SKUs, they may have different guidelines for the use of these codes.
  • Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit (FNSKU). Unique to Amazon, this product ID is used for products enrolled in the FBA program. When you choose FBA as your fulfillment method, Amazon generates a unique FNSKU for each unit of your product.
  • Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN). Like FNSKU, ASIN is generated by Amazon and cannot be created or modified by sellers. However, ASINs are not exclusive to FBA products. They are used for every product and product variation listed on Amazon.

GTIN Exemption
Source: Pixabay.com

Do I need a UPC or barcode to sell on Amazon?

No is the short answer. While UPCs and EANs are widely used, they are not necessary for every product. The long answer is that it hinges on the brand or category in which you wish to sell.

If you sell private-label or handcrafted goods, you may qualify for an Amazon GTIN exemption, which means you will not need a UPC or EAN to list them on Amazon.

Here are some more scenarios when you can apply for a GTIN exemption:

  1. You want to sell product parts such as mobile accessories and automotive components that do not have a GTIN.
  2. You want to sell private-label or handmade products you create yourself.
  3. You want to sell products you buy from a manufacturer, brand, or publisher who does not provide a product ID.
  4. You want to sell several products in a bundled pack. For example, a bundle that contains three shirts or a matching set of bags.

GTIN exemption and the process of requesting a GTIN exemption on Amazon will be discussed later, so read on. Except for those eligible for the Amazon GTIN exemption, Amazon now requires all listed products to have a GS1 registered barcode.

After submitting a GTIN exemption request, ExportYourStore recommends you avoid purchasing a UPC for your brand. Instead, use your Part Number as your product’s identifier! A Part Number is a unique identifier that you assign to each specific product or product variant you sell. You can use a naming convention that aligns with your own internal inventory system. Just make sure that each product and product variation has its own Part Number.

ExportYourStore will do it for you if you want! All you have to do is complete our setup process, and our customer service staff will analyze your products, request the relevant GTIN exemption for the correct Categories, and contact Amazon on your behalf.

What are the requirements for getting a GTIN exemption on Amazon?

Here are some common requirements that are typically associated with obtaining a GTIN exemption on Amazon:

  1. Eligibility for Exemption
    Only certain products are eligible for a GTIN exemption. These include handmade and custom products, products listed under the Brand Registry program, repackaged or bundled goods, collectible items, and products under special categories.
  2. Documentary Proof
    For products that are sourced from other manufacturers or suppliers, Amazon may request documentation from the manufacturer or supplier. The source of the products must attest and affirm that they do not provide GTINs for the specific product being applied for a GTIN exemption.
  3. Product and Packaging Image
    For every product or product variation that you want to be GTIN-exempt, you will need to submit clear images of the product itself and its packaging. The images must be clear and show that there are no existing GTINs or barcodes.

What if the product you want to sell is already on Amazon?

If your product is similar to one already on the market, you can place your offer on the existing product information page without a GTIN.

In this scenario, when you add the product to Amazon, it will correspond to the same product page ASIN, and you will be able to join as a seller on the same product.

‍Here is how to do it:

  1. Go to sellercentral.amazon.com and log in to your account.
  2. Create a product listing.
  3. To find a match for your item, search Amazon for a similar item that is already listed. The Product Name, UPC, EAN, ISBN, and ASIN are all valid options.
  4. Search for the product and select the most similar item from the results.
  5. Click the ‘Sell This Product’ button after specifying the condition of the item you are selling.
  6. Choose your fulfillment channel after filling in the relevant fields: Price, Quantity, and Condition. If you select FBA Amazon as your fulfillment channel, the quantity field will be disabled.
  7. The Save and Finish button will appear once you have completed all of the required fields. Simply click it, and in 15 minutes, your item will be uploaded and available on Amazon.

‍If your product does not match a current product, you need to create it on Amazon. Click on Create ASIN to get a product ID. To do so, you need a barcode or GTIN exemption approved by Amazon to list without a barcode (We’ll discuss this later in this article).

Amazon lister

What if you are selling your own brand?

If you are selling your own private-label brand, you can purchase a GTIN or you can list your products by using a brand registry.

However, only if you have a registered trademark for that brand may you apply for the brand registry. You must have an active text or image-based trademark to be eligible to join the Amazon Registry. It must also be registered in the country in which you wish to register. However, you cannot register in any country, it has to be one of the accepted countries by Amazon.

Moreover, Amazon Brand Registry gives brand owners and manufacturers the option of listing products while respecting a GTIN exemption request.
If you are not qualified for Amazon Brand Registry, you will need to figure out GTIN exemption and request a GTIN exemption on Amazon to secure a GTIN exemption. This procedure for brand registry takes longer and is more difficult, but it will safeguard your brand.

How to Request GTIN Exemption
Learn to Request an Amazon GTIN Exemption so You Can Start Your eCommerce Adventure!

How to apply for GTIN exemption on Amazon?‍

The process for requesting GTIN exemption is pretty straightforward. What can be confusing and tedious, however, is submitting the required documentation and understanding the eligibility requirements. In this section, we go through everything you need to do to apply for a GTIN exemption.

Before applying, prepare all the information and images that may be required to prove that your product is eligible for GTIN exemption. Check to make sure that your brand name and product name have not been previously listed in the Amazon catalog. Take actual images of your product showing all its sides and its packaging. The photos must clearly show the brand name permanently affixed on the product and/or packaging. It must also clearly show that there is no GS1 barcode on the product and/or packaging. All files you submit must be in PDF, JPEG, or TIFF format. Having all the proof on hand can help you go through the application process faster.

How to ask for a GTIN exemption

  1. Use the search tool in Amazon Seller Central to key in ‘Apply for GTIN exemption.’ This will take you directly to the GTIN exemption page.
  2. Select a product category. Click on ‘Add more categories’ to apply for exemption for numerous product variations and brands in one request form.
  3. Then, add the Brand or Publisher. If you are going to sell unbranded items or bundled packs, type “Generic” in the text box.
  4. To see if you are eligible, click the ‘Check for Eligibility’ button. For generic products, approval may be given automatically. In some cases, you will be asked to submit proof that you are eligible for exemption.
  5. You must demonstrate that this product does not have a UPC or GTIN. You will be asked for a supporting letter from your product source. Get this letter from the manufacturer, brand owner, or publisher. If your product is handcrafted or private label, select ‘No’.
  6. After that, you must input the product name and at least two photographs of your product and packaging. Make sure to photograph the merchandise from all sides, including its packaging, to establish that there is no UPC.
  7. Finally, submit your GTIN exemption request. Amazon usually takes a maximum of 48 hours to respond. Most of the time though, you'll get a response within a few hours.

How to check the status of your GTIN exemption request

Most applications for GTIN exemptions are reviewed and approved by Amazon Seller Support associates. Some, however, particularly for generic brands and Brand Registry entities, may be approved automatically by the system. For those that require manual review, you can check the application status by following these steps:

  1. Go to the ‘Catalog’ page and click on ‘Add Products’.
  2. Look for the GTIN exemption status and click on ‘Check your status here’.
  3. Once at the ‘Your cases and requests log’ page, look for the specific application you want to check to see its status.

The results of your application are usually provided within 48 hours. If approved, you will be sent an email informing you that a GTIN exemption has been approved for your product. After that, you can list your product on Amazon without being required to provide a product ID.

Keep in mind that GTIN exemptions do not expire. However, you will need to request exemptions for each product category in which you'd like to list your GTIN-exempt product. Note also that there are certain brands ineligible for GTIN exemptions, such as those that already have GS1-approved codes for their goods.

Errors you may encounter during your GTIN exemption application

When requesting for GTIN exemption, Amazon sellers may encounter errors. Two of the most common errors are 5461 and 5665.

5461 error appears when the product or product variation you are applying exemption for is already listed. The specific product may have already been listed by a brand owner or a brand-qualified seller. Review the ASIN creation policy and check if the product is indeed listed in the catalog. If not, contact Seller Support to address the error.

5665 error appears when you enter a brand name that has not been approved by Amazon. If you are listing products with your own brand, you must register first in the Amazon Brand Registry program to qualify for GTIN exemptions. If you are not eligible for the program, you can request approval for an unregistered brand by contacting Seller Support.

Assigning FNSKU numbers to your GTIN-exempt items

(You need to give your items an FNSKU if you sell them on FBA)

Once you receive approval for a GTIN exemption, you will need to get an FNSKU for your product so you can sell it on FBA. This code is automatically generated and assigned by Amazon when you list the product on FBA. Here’s how you can find the generated FNSKU:

  1. Log in to your Seller Central Account.
  2. Go to ‘Inventory’ and click on ‘Manage FBA Inventory’.
  3. Look for your GTIN-exempt product and select ‘Print Item Labels’ from the drop-down menu.
  4. Download or print the FNSKU label and affix it to your product.

Creating an Amazon listing for your GTIN-Exempt Product

(explain that you need to list in the same category where GTIN exemption was approved, etc)

When listing a GTIN-exempt product on Amazon, you must follow the specific guidelines of the platform to ensure compliance. This includes listing each GTIN-exempt product in the same category and brand where the exemption was approved.

  1. Log in to your Seller Central account.
  2. Go to ‘Catalog’ and click ‘Add Products’.
  3. Click on ‘I’m adding a product not sold on Amazon’.
  4. Select the main category where the GTIN exemption was approved.
  5. Choose the subcategories that closely match your product.
  6. Provide all required product information, including the product name, brand name, price, and condition.
  7. Choose the fulfillment method you prefer.
  8. Click ‘Save and Finish’.

If you select FBA as your fulfillment channel after listing the product, you will be taken to the barcode page. Choose ‘Amazon barcode’ as the barcode type. This will give you the FNSKU label that you need to affix to your product.

How can ExportYourStore help me?

Approval is required for each category and type of product when listing on Amazon. If you have multiple products, product variants, and categories, applying for a GTIN exemption for each one can be tedious and time-consuming. Furthermore, providing documentation and addressing errors can also be daunting.

So, allow ExportYourStore to take care of this task for you.

▶ During the setup process, the ExportYourStore team will review your products and ask for a GTIN exemption from Amazon on behalf of your Amazon account.

The integration team at ExportYourStore will look through your store and products, as well as your Amazon account, to ensure that it has all of the necessary approvals and is ready to list your products on Amazon.

With ExportYourStore, you will have everything you need to list your products on Amazon! Enjoy stress-free online selling as you focus on creating and marketing your products.

How to publish a product using ExportYourStore?

You have 2 ways of exporting & syncing your products to Amazon:

1. Automatic - You don’t need to do anything! Our service will fit your products and create ASIN if needed on Amazon.

2. Manual - You can click “Export” on the product you would like to export from our database.

You can start either of these processes directly from the ExportYourStore app. Additionally, you can use our auto-sync feature to automatically export and list new items incoming from your source directly to Amazon. So, click here to get started today and make your Amazon selling easier!

Amazon GTIN

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