For all businesses, both large and small, one of the first steps to trading, both online and offline, is to assign unique identification numbers to your products in the form of a Global Trade Item Number (or GTIN for short).

GTINs allow you to unlock all relevant product information to your items, allowing you to successfully list and sell your product, barcode your stock, leverage search engines, manage inventory and even monitor customer satisfaction. This small but powerful number is a sure-fire way to ensure a seamless sales transaction for any product.

GS1 UK tells us everything you need to know about how to use GTINs for e-commerce purposes. 




For many ecommerce platforms, the most important attribute you’ll need to enter when listing your products is the product identifier – your GS1 GTIN. This is followed by structuring your data on the web and in your back-office systems, to help connect all the product attributes together to create a rich customer experience.

But how are specific marketplaces using GTINs and other GS1 standards?


Amazon is leveraging the GS1 database to check in real-time GTIN validity against a seller’s product listing, to improve catalogue quality and consumer trust on their platforms.

However, despite endorsing GS1 standards, it is important to be aware that Amazon uses slightly different terminology when describing product identifiers – which can cause confusion for new sellers when listing a product.

In Amazon’s listing process, when selecting the appropriate product identifier in the drop-down, the terms have been defined based on the length of the product identifier, rather than using the standard terminology of GTIN across all numbers.

So, when entering your product identifier, you will get the following options:

UPC = 12-digits | EAN = 13-digits | GTIN = 14-digits

If you have allocated a 13-digit number you will need to select EAN, unless you are listing a pack of a particular item or product for which the GTIN-14 should be used. In this case, you would select “GTIN” in the dropdown instead. The UPC option is only to be used when you are listing products that already have a 12-digit barcode applied to the product or you have licenced the numbers from the US and applied these to your new products.


Adding GTINs to your eBay listing enables them to include you in their Google Shopping feed. This has the added benefit of getting you extra impressions, with eBay paying the Google fee! It also allows eBay to pull in product reviews from other websites and reviews from other consumers which is the most trusted element of a product page.

Watch this video to find out more about how to select the correct product ID for your Amazon listing!

Ready to start selling on Amazon? Make sure your product listings are getting noticed by potential customers by reading the Amazon Seller Central guide!

Watch this video to find out more about why GS1s and GTINs are so important to eBay’s sellers and customers.


Adding GTINs to your Google Shopping feed can result in 40% more impressions for your products and 20% more conversions. So, more eyes see your products and more people are ready to buy them.

Google recently released an article to highlight how using product identifiers are helping them with its mission to organise the world’s information. You can read the full blog post on how Google uses GTINs here!

Any platform you sell on should have your GTINs as part of the product data. If you have them only on Amazon you are missing out on valuable traffic from search engines.

Structuring product information online in a way that machines, like search engines, are able to understand, is also becoming more important to Google. Their bots are actively looking for structured data to enable them to produce a better search experience for users.

So, adding your GTIN together with your product data in a structured way on your webstores (like Shopify or Woo commerce sites) is another way you can use GS1 standards to increase visibility. This is all done through a product data model extension called GS1 Web Vocabulary, and you can find out more here.

OTHER MARKETPLACES?  We have covered how the bigger marketplace players are utilising product identifiers, but in a market where new platforms are entering daily, there are other marketplaces also seeing the benefits of using GS1 identifiers. As GS1 UK, we work closely with UK-based marketplaces too like OnBuy and Fruugo, both of whom have endorsed the use of GTINs on their platforms:

“GS1 standards and identifiers are incredibly important for OnBuy sellers because we operate a catalogue system. We chose to operate a catalogue system as this is ultimately more beneficial to our buyers, and easier to manage for our sellers. We advise that sellers license their barcodes directly from GS1.” - OnBuy

“Having correct and authentic GTINs for your products is a requirement on Fruugo and should be a given for any online seller. GS1 is our go-to partner for sellers that need GTINs.” - Fruugo

Many other international marketplaces now also require GTINs to list on their platforms, so once you have them assigned to your products you are ready to list anywhere you like.

Just to name a few: La Redoute & Cdiscount (France), New Egg (USA), Zalando (Germany), (Netherlands), eMag (Eastern Europe), Allegro (Poland), Tmall (China), Mercado Libre (South America)

In partnership with Great British Entrepreneurs, GS1 UK are pleased to offer new members a 20% discount on their first year's membership. Please click here and use discount code GBEA20 at the checkout.