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EAN codes are not only required for sales over the Internet, a unique product identifier is also necessary for regional sales. Although there is no legal basis or obligation to set up a unique product identifier via barcode and EAN, the goods offered can be clearly identified worldwide with an EAN number. This has great advantages for the online retailer, especially when other suppliers start to include the items on offer in their range.

What is an EAN code and why are they needed when selling on Amazon?

When selling on Amazon, the American conglomerate wants to prevent a product from being created twice and thus having two different product detail pages. Although this can be beneficial for search engine optimization, it poses a challenge for customer friendliness.

The EAN number can also be used to quickly check your own stock on Amazon, so that when selling with an EAN number, it does not become empty even though there are still products in the warehouse. The handling of Amazon's stock files is simplified by the use of unique IDs; if redundancies (duplications) occur, this can easily lead to incorrect calculations in the system.

Who can apply for activation?

A new EAN number can only be activated for products that have not yet received an EAN code. Among other things, this code is used to identify the affiliation to a specific company.

  • If the brand, manufacturer or publisher does not provide a GTIN for the products (e.g. private label products or handmade products).
  • For products without a brand name that do not have GTINs (e.g. wholesale products).
  • If parts do not have a GTIN (e.g. some car parts do not have a GTIN).
  • For bundles that do not have a GTIN (e.g. customized bundles cannot have a GTIN).

However, another code is required for sales on Amazon, namely the FNSKU. Both codes are unique and have a direct impact on the timeliness of the retailer's stock, which is extremely practical. It does not matter whether the sale takes place via Amazon, another platform on the Internet or via an established retail store throughout Europe. This makes it much easier to keep track of your own stock, so it is not a special item identifier from Amazon!


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Not every article needs an EAN or FNSKU marking at all!

For various product categories, the provision of an EAN or FNSKU identifier can be easily avoided. This saves the online retailer an administrative effort that can be considered unnecessary in many cases if, for example, there is no GTIN identifier for the goods on offer and they are only to be resold as sub-retailers.

However, if branded items are offered for resale in your own Amazon store, it is necessary to specify the exact product identifier. This is the only way to ensure that it is an original item. However, private label items, which can usually be purchased in local stores at a particularly low price, are often free of a unique identification number. The background to this is that all unnecessary expenses are saved with these private labels so that the end consumer can be offered the lowest possible product price.

Therefore, not only is the EAN code often missing, but the product packaging of a private label is usually simple and can be produced without great (financial) effort.

The GTIN exemption must be applied for per category

If you want to apply for a GTIN exemption, you must do so for each product category.

gtin activation

The brand or publisher must therefore be named for each product in a category if this information is available. Otherwise, the designation "Generic" is sufficient. In a further step, a letter of support must be uploaded:


apply for gtin exemptionThis letter comes from the company that manufactures the product. Once the request has been sent, it is processed by Amazon before the notification of a (hopefully) successful GTIN exemption is sent.


Do you need help selling on Amazon? Then we can help as Amazon Agency can certainly help.

Tobias Dziuba

My name is Tobias and I am the founder and managing director of the Amazon agency Adsmasters GmbH based in Düsseldorf.

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