Decoding Amazon Barcode vs Manufacturer's Barcode: Understanding the Differences and Benefits
In the world of online selling, barcode labels play a crucial role in ensuring efficient inventory management and seamless product tracking. When it comes to selling products on Amazon, there are two main types of inventory management-related barcodes commonly used: Amazon Barcode (FNSKU) and Manufacturer’s Barcode (UPC or EAN). In this blog, we will explore the differences between these two barcode types and the benefits they offer to sellers.
What Are Amazon Barcodes?
An Amazon Barcode, which is also referred to as FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit), is a unique identifier assigned by Amazon to products sold through its fulfillment network. Each FNSKU is specific to the product and the seller. Even in cases where two sellers offer the same product (i.e. have the same ASIN), they will each be provided with a distinct barcode by Amazon.
Unlock Your Amazon Success Today with Our Flat Fee Expert Services!
Select the plan that best suits your needs and begin your journey today.
Benefits of Amazon Barcodes
Using Amazon Barcodes comes with a plethora of benefits that can prove pivotal for sellers who predominantly operate on the Amazon platform. Here are some key advantages:
Enhanced Inventory Tracking and Control
The Amazon Barcode enables enhanced inventory tracking and control within Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Given that each FNSKU is unique to a seller and a product, Amazon can effortlessly track which products belong to which sellers. This system significantly reduces the risk of inventory mix-ups, ensuring that orders are accurately fulfilled.
Brand Protection and Product Authenticity
Amazon faces significant challenges from counterfeit products and unauthorized sellers on its platform. However, the uniqueness and exclusivity of the Amazon Barcode play a pivotal role in ensuring brand protection. With FNSKUs, sellers can maintain control over their brand identity, ensuring that customers receive genuine products, thereby fostering trust and loyalty.
How to Generate an Amazon Barcode for a Product?
To generate your own barcode or FNSKU on Amazon, follow the steps below:
- Log in to your Amazon Seller Account and navigate to the brand associated with the product.
- Access the main menu on the left-hand side and select Inventory followed by FBA Inventory.
- Locate the specific product or SKU that requires the barcode label and click on the checkbox next to it.
- In the dropdown menu, choose the option labeled Print Item Labels and confirm the selection.
- A PDF file containing the barcode for the selected SKU will be generated and automatically downloaded.
What Are Manufacturer Barcodes?
A manufacturer barcode is a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) that originates from organizations like GS1 (Global Standards 1). These barcodes are applied to products by manufacturers and are universally recognized across various retail channels, not just limited to Amazon. They represent the product itself, regardless of who is selling it or where it is sold. Amazon typically accepts two types of Manufacturer Barcodes: UPC (Universal Product Code) and EAN (European Article Number).
Benefits of Manufacturer Barcodes
Using the Manufacturer’s Barcode has multiple advantages, especially for sellers who operate across different platforms. Here are some notable benefits:
The most significant benefit of the manufacturer’s barcode is its universal nature. An EAN or UPC barcode can be used across multiple online marketplaces, which means that if you’re selling the same product on Amazon, eBay, and other platforms, your Manufacturer Code remains consistent. This universality simplifies inventory management and makes it easier to integrate systems.
Flexibility and Ease of Use
Manufacturer barcodes offer sellers greater flexibility. Once a product has an EAN or UPC code, it doesn’t need to be relabeled for every different platform it’s sold on. Even though the best option for FBA sellers is still to relabel their FBA-bound products. Most sellers that have a UPC on their product will relabel, (or pre-label) their goods with FNSKUs. Some even have it printed on the product packaging alongside the UPC.
Amazon Barcodes vs Manufacturer Barcodes: What Are the Key Differences?
Now that we’ve discussed what Amazon FNSKU Barcodes and Manufacturer’s Barcodes are and their benefits, let’s explore their differences:
Amazon FNSKU Barcode: Generated and assigned by Amazon through Seller Central when a seller enrolls a product in the FBA program.
Manufacturer’s Barcode: Obtained from organizations like GS1 or other authorized barcode providers or at times by the product’s manufacturer himself before it reaches the Amazon fulfillment center.
Amazon Barcode: Unique to each product within Amazon’s FC ecosystem to facilitate precise tracking.
Manufacturer’s Barcode: Generally unique for each product, but not exclusive to Amazon, as the same barcode can be used across different marketplaces.
Amazon Barcode: FNSKUs are alphanumeric codes and can vary in length, depending on the product and the seller’s inventory.
Manufacturer’s Barcode: Manufacturer Barcodes follow a standardized format, such as the 12-digit UPC codes or the 13-digit EAN codes, providing a consistent structure for product identification worldwide.
Can You Use Both?
Certainly! It is absolutely possible and quite common for sellers to use both Amazon’s FNSKU and a UPC Barcode simultaneously. Amazon requires you to have a GS1 code for any product listed on their marketplace so you will need to obtain one in any event. The real question here is should you have both barcodes on your product packaging?
If you are solely selling on Amazon and don’t have any real intention of selling on other marketplaces or selling in any traditional retail (offline) sale channel, then the wise thing to do would be to have your FNSKU inserted into the actual design of your product packaging. This will save both time and money, as you will not need to pay your supplier, a 3PL, or Amazon to apply these labels manually. In this case, there’s no real reason to apply the UPC barcode anywhere, as Amazon only requires you to have a UPC code attached to the product when you list it in the marketplace.
If you do sell or intend on selling on other marketplaces and/or traditional retail sale channels, then the wise thing to do would be to apply the UPC barcode to your product packaging design. All FBA-bound stock will need the UPC barcode to be covered with the FNSKU label, as Amazon can only accept products with one barcode – the FNSKU.
In this scenario, the best option would be to have your supplier apply the barcodes as it would be the most cost-effective and least time-consuming.
Understanding the difference between Amazon’s FNSKU and UPC Barcodes is critical for Amazon sellers. By weighing the benefits and drawbacks of each, sellers can make informed decisions that can enhance their inventory management, protect their reputation, and even extend their sales reach.
Looking for expert assistance in managing your Amazon seller account? Enso Brands offers a comprehensive range of one-stop Amazon services tailored to optimize your performance and maximize your potential on the platform. Contact us today and discover how we can help your business thrive on Amazon!
40 Pages of Amazon Ultimate listing and Design Templates
Transform Your Amazon Presence: Unlock Sales and Dominate with Our Ultimate Listing and Design Templates!