In online retail UPC and UPC exemption are common terms. If you haven’t heard of them before, you may be confused with the jargon. Worry not, we are here to help with that.

UPC – the grassroots explanation

UPC stands for Universal Product Code, and it is a barcode standard in UK, US, Canada, Australia, and some other countries. Each item that is registered under the UPC gets a unique 12-digit code.

An Indian online seller can approach the Global Standards 1 (GS1 India) to issue a UPC. GS1 issues different types of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) including – UPC, Japanese Article Numbers (JAN), and European Article Numbers (EAN) to name a few.

Having a barcode for your product has the following benefits:

You need an individual UPC for each product you sell (not each unit). For instance, if you are selling face cream, you will need two different codes for the 100-gram jar and the 150-gram jar. All the 100-gram jars will have the same UPC.

Which products receive UPC exemption?

As a matter of fact, there are a few categories of products that don’t need UPC. The following products are exempted from UPC:

If your products fall under any of the above-mentioned categories, you need not apply for UPC. However, if you are selling in either Amazon, Flipkart or Snapdeal, you will require an alternative to the UPC. If you are selling on Amazon, you need to have a UPC Exemption.

Which marketplaces allow a UPC exemption?

Most leading ecommerce companies require sellers to have a UPC for any product that they are listing on the site for the first time. Amazon insists on a UPC to sell on the marketplace. If your product comes under the exempted list of products, then you will need to apply for an exemption through the Seller Central.

For security purposes, and to avoid the presence of duplicate products on its marketplace, Amazon insists on its sellers getting a new UPC from the GS1. There are many sellers who sell their existing codes online. This can sound like a cheaper option, but Amazon will not take this lightly. The company strictly disallows second- hand UPCs. Do not at any cost think of getting yourself a cheap second-hand UPC, this will get you into trouble with the ecommerce company.

Primarily you only need to worry about getting your UPC or exemption with Amazon. Need more help with your ecommerce needs? Get in touch with Browntape. We are India’s largest ecommerce service provider.

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