Selling on Amazon is a great way to expose your products and brand to a wider audience but getting started for the first time can be overwhelming. First, you’ll need to decide whether you or Amazon will fulfill orders. There are pros and cons to either method but if you do decide to use Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), it’s important to know about Amazon’s barcode requirements to ensure successful inventory tracking. In this article, we’ll discuss what types of barcodes you can use and how to obtain Amazon barcodes for your products to get your business going.
Types of Barcodes That Fulfillment by Amazon Allows
FBA uses barcodes to identify and track inventory throughout the fulfillment process and each item you send to an Amazon fulfillment center requires a barcode.
There are two kinds of barcodes sellers can use:
- Manufacturer barcodes (eligible barcodes include GCID, UPC, EAN, JAN, or ISBN)
- Amazon barcodes (ASIN or FNSKU)
Amazon barcodes can only be used for selling on Amazon, so if you’re also selling on other sites, or in stores, or if your products don’t meet Amazon’s barcode guidelines, you will likely need to use your own barcode. UPC is the most common type of barcode used in the United States – learn more about UPC barcodes here.
When you create a seller account, it’s set by default to use your barcode, not Amazon’s, to track eligible inventory throughout the Amazon fulfillment process. Sellers can change this default barcode preference at any time and can even change their barcode preference for each offer they create, as well as, their barcode preference for a product when they change a listing from ‘Fulfilled by Merchant’ to ‘Fulfilled by Amazon.’
Not all inventory, however, is eligible for tracking with the manufacturer barcode. To be eligible, products must:
- Be in new condition only
- Have a single scannable barcode that corresponds to a single ASIN in the Amazon catalog
- Not be expiration-dated
- Not be consumable or topical products such as skin creams, shampoos, or cosmetics
(If the manufacturer barcode maps to more than one ASIN, an Amazon barcode is required.)
Amazon will identify the products that are not eligible and will alert you regarding the requirement of an Amazon barcode when you create your offer. Amazon will also determine, at their sole discretion, which products meet the eligibility requirements for using manufacturer barcodes. They reserve the right to disqualify products from using manufacturer barcodes that otherwise meet the above requirements.
Using An Amazon Barcode For Tracking
If you won’t be using to track products, then you will be required to use Amazon barcodes which are available in the seller’s account. You can print the Amazon barcodes on your own with a thermal or laser printer (don’t use inkjet printers) or a label company like us can print them for you. FBA also offers a label service that will print and apply the barcodes for a per-item fee. Visit Amazon’s Seller Central to learn how to use an Amazon barcode to track inventory.
Amazon Barcode Label Requirements
Amazon requires that all barcodes must be printed in black ink on white, non-reflective labels with removable adhesive. The product name and condition must appear on the label and the barcode’s dimensions must be between 1″ x 2″ and 2″ x 3″ (1″ x 3 inches or 2″ x 2″ inches, for example). Not only can we print Amazon barcodes on labels, we also sell blank thermal transfer and direct thermal rolls and sheets if you need to print barcodes on the go.
Your Amazon barcodes must remain scannable for a minimum of 24 months. When printing the barcodes on labels, the printed labels must include:
- Sufficient white space around the Amazon barcode and related text (0.25 inch on the sides and 0.125 inch on the top and bottom)
- ASIN or SKU
- Product name
- Item condition
After the barcode and printing criteria have been met, next comes label application.
Label Placement Requirements
According to Amazon, all other barcodes on the package must be covered, including the manufacturer barcode. One way you can do that is by using ‘cover-up’ or ‘block out’ labels. Failure to do so can cause delays in processing and may result in unplanned prep service fees. When you’re ready to apply labels to your products, make sure you:
- Put the correct barcode on each item
- Cover all other visible barcodes
- Place the barcode on the outside of any prep materials
- Don’t place the barcode on a curve or corner of the package
- Allow 0.25 inch between the edge of the label and the edge of the packaging
- Ensure that each item in a case pack has an Amazon barcode and any barcodes on the case have been removed
Barcode Label Printing Services
There are benefits and drawbacks to printing your own labels vs hiring a printing company. For example, if you run a smaller operation and don’t need a lot of barcode labels or need to print them only when needed, then you’ll probably find that printing them on your own with a thermal or laser printer is more efficient and cost-effective.
Larger operations, however, can find that printing their own labels is more trouble than it’s worth. Outsourcing your label printing to us can actually lower your cost per label thanks to wholesale pricing and make your business run smoother because employees aren’t being tied up with label printing. Furthermore, you’re less likely to run into label issues when you hire a professional label printer.
Whether you want blank labels so you can print your own barcode labels or need a trusted label partner to print high volumes of quality labels, we can help. Get started on your barcode labels today with an instant online quote or contact us at 1-800-475-2235 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.