Understanding UPC and EAN Requirements for Merchants Outside the US

Understanding UPC and EAN Requirements for Merchants Outside the US

*We do not recommend using our genetic UPC barcodes for your Amazon listings. Brand protection is not guaranteed when using our codes; if you're looking to register and embed your product information to the UPC, please process through the official GS1. 

If you're a merchant looking to expand your reach beyond the United States, it's crucial to understand the intricacies of product listing requirements. One common question that arises is whether your eCommerce platform requires EAN (European Article Number) instead of UPC (Universal Product Code) for merchants operating outside the US. In this blog, we'll delve into this topic and provide clarity on the matter.

UPC and EAN: What Are They?

Before we dive into the specifics, let's briefly explore what UPC and EAN codes are and why they matter to Amazon merchants.

UPC (Universal Product Code): A UPC is a standardized barcode used primarily in North America to uniquely identify a product. It consists of 12 digits and is widely recognized in the US and Canada.

EAN (European Article Number): EAN, often referred to as "International Article Number," is a similar barcode system used globally to identify products. It comes in two main formats: EAN-13 (13 digits) and EAN-8 (8 digits). EAN-13 is more common and is used on products worldwide, including in Europe.

Amazon's Barcode Requirements

Amazon's barcode requirements may vary depending on the marketplace you're listing your products on. Amazon generally accepts both UPC and EAN for product listings, regardless of the merchant's location. This means that if you're a merchant outside the US, you can typically use either UPC or EAN to list your products on Amazon.

However, it's important to note that the specific requirements might differ based on the Amazon marketplace you're targeting. For instance, if you're listing products on Amazon UK or Amazon Germany, you might find that EAN codes are more common due to their prevalence in European markets. On the other hand, if you're targeting the US market, UPC codes are commonly used and accepted.

Considerations for International Merchants

When deciding whether to use UPC or EAN codes for your Amazon product listings as an international merchant, consider the following points:

  1. Marketplace Requirements: Research the specific marketplace you're targeting. Look for any recent updates or changes in barcode requirements. Amazon's policies can evolve over time.

  2. Local Standards: If your products are primarily intended for European markets, EAN codes might align more closely with local standards. Similarly, if you're targeting the US, UPC codes might be the more familiar option for American consumers.

  3. Ease of Access: Depending on your product sourcing and suppliers, you might find it easier to obtain one type of barcode over the other. Consider the convenience and cost-effectiveness of acquiring the necessary barcodes.

  4. Global Reach: If you're planning to expand your presence to multiple Amazon marketplaces, it might be worth investing in both UPC and EAN codes to ensure seamless listing across different regions.

Stay Updated and Informed

E-commerce landscapes are dynamic, and policies can change. In conclusion, while all the eCommerce sites generally accepts both UPC and EAN codes for merchants outside the US, the choice between the two depends on various factors, including the marketplace you're targeting and the nature of your products. By understanding these nuances, you can confidently navigate the world of eCommerce selling and reach a global audience with your offerings.

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