Everything You Need To Know About GTINs

Everything You Need To Know About GTINs
This article explains what GTINs are, why they are used and their benefits along with information on how to create or obtain GTINs.

Have you ever wondered what those barcodes on items you purchase are? Chances are, you’ve seen many of them but never knew what they meant. Those barcodes are known as Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) and contain vital information about the products they’re attached to. In this article, we’ll explain everything you need to know about GTINs so that next time you see one, you’ll be able to decode the data contained within.

GTINs have been around since the 1970s and have become a key part of modern business operations. They are used to uniquely identify products in order to facilitate tracking and sales across international borders. From food items to electronics, almost any product can have a GTIN associated with it for easier tracking and inventory management.

In this article, we'll discuss how GTINs work, their different types and formats, how they relate to other retail identifiers such as UPC codes, and how businesses can use them most effectively in their operations. So keep reading if you want to learn all about GTINs!

What Is A Global Trade Item Number (GTIN)?

A Global Trade Item Number, or GTIN, is an internationally-recognized product identification number that helps identify and track products in the retail industry. It's typically used for barcodes on retail items, but can also be used to identify other types of products like books or magazines. GTINs are assigned by manufacturers, distributors, or retailers so that the item can be easily identified and tracked.

GTINs are made up of several components — a company prefix, item reference number, check digit and optional extension digits — that make up a unique code for each product. The company prefix identifies the manufacturer or vendor who created the product. The item reference number is assigned by the manufacturer to differentiate between different products they produce. The check digit is calculated based on the other parts of the GTIN and helps verify that it's accurate. And optional extension digits can be added if more information needs to be encoded in the GTIN.

GTINs are a standard way to identify products around the world and have become an essential part of today's global retail environment. They help ensure accuracy when identifying products at all stages of their life cycle from manufacturing through delivery and eventually purchase by customers. This helps minimize errors in ordering and inventory management which leads to improved customer satisfaction with faster shipping times and better overall shopping experiences.

Types Of GTINs

There are several types of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) which serve different purposes. The most common type is the GTIN-12, also known as the UPC-A, which is primarily used for tracking products in North America and other countries such as Europe and Japan. This code consists of 12 digits and is generally printed on the product packaging or label.

The next type of GTIN is the GTIN-8, commonly known as the EAN-8 code, which is a shorter version of the UPC-A number. It is primarily used for smaller items such as books, magazines and health & beauty products. This code consists of 8 digits and is usually printed on a small sticker or label that can be attached to a product's packaging.

The last type of GTIN is the GTIN-13, also known as the EAN-13 barcode. This code consists of 13 digits and can be found on most retail products throughout Europe and Asia. It is also used by some retailers in North America for tracking merchandise inventory and pricing information. All three types of GTINs are important for tracking products across international markets and providing retailers with accurate product data.

No matter what type of product you're selling, having a valid GTIN will ensure that it's accurately tracked within your supply chain system. This ensures that customers receive correct product information when they purchase from you, thus creating an efficient shopping experience for them.

Where To Find GTINs

Now that you know the different types of GTINs, you may be wondering where to find them. GTINs are usually located on product packaging, depending on the type of product. For instance, a GTIN-8 can be found printed directly on a food item's packaging or stamped onto an individual grocery produce item. Similarly, a GTIN-12 is often found printed directly onto most consumer packaged goods like shampoo bottles and cereal boxes. When it comes to larger items such as electronics and furniture, a GTIN-14 is likely to be placed on the back of the product or its box.

In addition to finding GTINs on physical products, they may also be included in digital product listings. Online retailers like Amazon use GTINs to identify each unique item they sell so customers can easily search and compare products. Companies can also obtain their own unique UPC codes for their products by registering with GS1 US, which is an organization that issues globally recognized barcodes.

GTINs are essential for companies who want to accurately track their inventory and ensure customers receive the right items when they make purchases online or in stores. By understanding what a GTIN is and where it can be found, companies can more easily streamline their business processes and provide better customer service.

Benefits Of Using GTINs

Using GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) has numerous benefits for businesses, consumers, and retailers. It helps to identify products more quickly by providing a unique barcode that can be scanned at checkout. Using GTINs also makes it easier to track shipments and inventory and reduces the chances of errors in orders.

One major benefit of using GTINs is the improved efficiency in the supply chain process. By having a universal product identifier, retailers can easily monitor what items customers are buying and when they need to restock their shelves or warehouses. This allows them to better anticipate customer demands and maximize profits. Additionally, using GTINs eliminates the need for manual data entry, which saves time and money.

Another important benefit of using GTINs is enhanced customer experience. Customers can easily scan items with their phone or other device at the point of sale without having to remember item numbers or lengthy descriptions. This enables them to purchase items faster, reducing wait times at checkout lines. In addition, since all information about a product is stored in its GTIN database, it makes it easier for customers to comparison shop between different brands or stores before making a purchase decision.

GTINs provide numerous advantages for all involved in global trade and retailing that make it an essential part of any successful business model. Its ability to help companies increase efficiency, improve accuracy, and enhance customer experience are just some of its key benefits that make it such an invaluable tool for today’s marketplaces.

How To Create Or Obtain A GTIN

Now that the benefits of using GTINs are clear, it's important to understand how to create or obtain one. GTINs can be acquired through a variety of sources, including the manufacturer, an industry association, or a third-party provider.

If you are the manufacturer of the product, you will likely have to generate your own GTIN. This is done by creating a unique code that is assigned to each item in production. It's important to remember that GTINs must be accurately and consistently applied for maximum efficiency.

When obtaining GTINs from a third-party provider, it's crucial to select one that is reliable and meets international standards. A good provider should also offer comprehensive support services such as barcode verification checks and documentation advice. This helps ensure that all your products meet the necessary requirements and are compliant with industry regulations.

Once you have obtained your GTINs, they must be registered on GS1's Global Data Synchronization Network (GDSN). This will enable them to be shared across multiple trading partners in order to facilitate efficient supply chain management and communication between businesses.

Guidelines For Assigning A GTIN

When assigning a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), there are a few guidelines to follow. First, it's important to understand the purpose of the number and how it will be used. GTINs are unique identifiers assigned to products and services that are used for tracking, inventory management, and other business operations related to the sale of goods.

It's also important to be aware of the different types of GTINs available. For example, there are different formats for varying product types including barcodes and QR codes. Different companies may have their own specific requirements, so it pays to check with them first before selecting a format. Additionally, when creating a new GTIN, make sure that it is unique and not already in use by another company or product type.

Finally, once you have selected a GTIN format and created a unique identifier for your product or service, make sure that the code is properly applied across all channels where it will be seen by customers. This includes physical stores, online catalogs, websites, mobile apps, and any other places where customers might encounter your product or service information. Doing this will ensure that customers can accurately identify your products from those of competitors and make informed purchase decisions based on accurate information.

GS1 Standards And Requirements For Barcodes And Labels

GS1 is a global standards organization that sets the requirements for barcodes and labels used in retail supply chains. GS1 ensures a product's unique identification, enabling efficient and accurate tracking throughout the supply chain. In order to adhere to GS1 standards, businesses must use specific barcodes, labeling systems and databases.

Barcodes are a key part of adhering to GS1 standards. All products must have a unique Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) which is associated with their barcode. A GTIN is comprised of 14 digits; the first two or three digits identify the type of product, and the remaining numbers represent product information such as manufacturer code, item number and check digit. Additionally, all barcodes should be printed clearly on packaging using an appropriate printer and bear enough contrast between bars and spaces so they can be scanned accurately at any point along the supply chain.

Labels also play an important role in adhering to GS1 standards. Labels should contain essential information such as the GTIN, expiration date, lot number and company identifier number (CIN). The CIN enables traceability through each level of the supply chain by providing details such as who shipped it, when it was sent, where it was sent from, etc. Additionally, labels should be printed using high-quality materials that can withstand exposure to extreme temperatures or other environmental conditions during transport or storage.

These are just some of the guidelines businesses need to follow in order to remain compliant with GS1 standards for barcodes and labels. It's important for companies to understand these requirements in order to ensure compliance throughout their entire supply chain process.

The Role Of The UPC System In The Use Of GTINs

The Universal Product Code (UPC) system is a major component of the use of Global Trade Item Numbers (GTIN). UPCs are used to identify products at the point of sale, and GTINs are used to create a universal code for all product information. The UPC system was first developed in 1972 and is still in use today.

UPCs are printed on barcodes that are placed on products so they can be scanned at the checkout. GTINs are assigned to each item sold, both online and offline, and can be used as an identifier across different retailers and countries. UPCs can also be used to link related items, such as different sizes or flavors of the same product.

The use of GTINs has become increasingly important in recent years due to the growth of e-commerce. With more consumers shopping online, it's essential for businesses to have accurate product information that can easily be identified by customers around the world. By using GTINs, businesses are able to ensure that their products are easily recognisable no matter where they're purchased from or how they're sold. This helps create trust between retailers and customers while also increasing efficiency in the supply chain process.

GTINs have become an integral part of modern retailing, helping businesses streamline their operations while providing customers with accurate product information wherever they shop. They provide a standardised way for businesses to track products across multiple channels and make sure that every transaction is logged correctly.

Data Synchronization Solutions

With the advent of the UPC system, it became possible to keep track of products across multiple channels. This led to the development of data synchronization solutions that enable manufacturers and retailers to share product information quickly and easily. Data synchronization solutions enable companies to accurately track and update information on products in real-time, ensuring that all stakeholders have access to up-to-date product data.

Data synchronization solutions offer a range of benefits for businesses. These include improved accuracy, cost savings due to reduced employee time spent manually tracking product information, and access to valuable insights into customer shopping habits. Additionally, data synchronization makes it easier for customers to shop online or in brick-and-mortar stores with confidence that they are purchasing the right product at the right price.

Data synchronization also makes it easier for businesses to comply with industry regulations such as those related to labeling or shelf life expiration dates, making it easier for them to remain compliant and avoid costly penalties. With these advantages in mind, businesses should give serious consideration to implementing a data synchronization solution when looking for ways to optimize their processes.

Best Practices For Managing Product Information

When managing product information, it's important to ensure that all of the necessary data is accurate and up-to-date. The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a commonly used system for tracking products. Knowing how to properly manage GTINs is essential for businesses that have an international presence or multiple product lines.

The first step in managing GTINs is assigning them to each product. Every item should be assigned a unique code so that it can be easily identified and tracked throughout its entire lifespan. In addition, businesses should keep records of when their products were first introduced and any subsequent changes that are made to the products. This will help to maintain accuracy in the GTINs assigned to each item.

Another key factor when managing product information is making sure that all of the relevant data is stored in one place. This will make it easier for businesses to access the information when needed. Additionally, having a centralized system for storing product information ensures that everyone in the organization has access to the same data and can use it quickly and accurately when needed.

Having a clear understanding of how GTINs work and utilizing best practices for managing product information can help businesses make sure their product data remains up-to-date and accurate over time. Taking steps such as assigning unique codes, keeping records of changes, and storing data centrally can go a long way towards ensuring streamlined operations across an entire organization.

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm a Shopify merchant, how do I fix the "missing GTIN" error in my Google Merchant Account Product Feed?

If you're using the Google Channel app you can simply navigation to the path below and set all custom products to false.

Shopify > Sales Channels > Google > Manage Availability

An alternative approach to fixing your Google product feed and inform your Google Merchant Account that your products don't have a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) and fix the error message in the Google interface, you can use the "identifier_exists" attribute. Please follow the steps below and ensure this property is set correctly on each of your products.

1. Access your Shopify admin panel and go to the "Products" section.
2. Select the product for which you want to indicate that a GTIN doesn't exist.
3. Scroll down to the "Attributes" or "Variants" section, depending on your product setup.
4. Add a new attribute called "identifier_exists" if it doesn't already exist. If it exists, edit the attribute.
5. Set the value of "identifier_exists" to "FALSE" to indicate that a GTIN doesn't exist for the product.
6. Save the changes.

By setting the "identifier_exists" attribute to "FALSE," you are informing Google and other platforms that your product doesn't have a GTIN. Once this is complete, you should see the GTIN error disappear from your Google Merchant Centre product feed.

How Do I Use GTINs To Track Inventory?

Using Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) is a great way to track your inventory. GTINs are unique identifiers used to identify products, services and other objects in the global supply chain. They provide a consistent system for retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers to accurately identify items. This helps them keep track of their inventory and ensure that the right items are being ordered and shipped.

When using GTINs to track inventory, it’s important to understand how they work. GTINs consist of 14 or more numbers that uniquely identify an item or product. The first few digits indicate the type of item it is, such as books, electronics or apparel. The remaining numbers correspond to specific attributes of the item such as color, size and style.

Once you have your GTINs set up for each product in your store, you can use them to keep track of where items are located and how many you have in stock at any given time. You can also use them to keep track of sales figures, order history and customer information associated with each item. This makes it easy to identify trends in sales or changes in demand over time so you can make better decisions about inventory levels and pricing strategies.

Tracking your inventory with GTINs is an efficient way to manage your business operations effectively. By understanding how GTINs work and implementing them into your business processes, you can gain more control over your products and services as well as improve customer satisfaction levels by ensuring accurate orders every time.

What Is The Difference Between A GTIN And A UPC?

The current H2 is "What is the difference between a GTIN and a UPC?" This question is important to understand because knowing the difference can help businesses track their inventory more accurately. GTIN or Global Trade Item Number, and UPC or Universal Product Code are both barcodes that are used to identify products.

GTINs are the global standard for product identification and include more than just UPCs. They can be used across different markets such as retail, healthcare, and government sectors. GTINs are typically 14 digits long and can also contain variable-length numbers for special applications, including 8-digit EANs (European Article Numbers) used in Europe.

UPCs, on the other hand, are only 12 digits long and are mainly used in North America for scanning items at checkout counters. They do not contain any additional information about the product like a GTIN does, so they cannot be used to identify different versions of a product such as sizes or colors. Additionally, UPCs have no ability to recognize geographic areas or language differences like some GTIN formats can do.

In summary, while both UPCs and GTINs provide businesses with a way to track inventory levels, there are significant differences between them that should be taken into account when choosing which one to use. The key takeaway is that if you need to identify products across multiple markets or languages, it’s best to use a GTIN format instead of a UPC code.

Is There A Cost Associated With Obtaining A GTIN?

When it comes to obtaining a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), the cost associated with it can vary. The cost of getting a GTIN depends on who you are buying it from, and the type of product you are selling. For example, if you're selling products through Amazon or eBay, there may be a fee for obtaining the GTIN code. Some retailers also offer a free GTIN, but the product must meet certain requirements in order to qualify.

In addition to potential fees, there can also be other costs associated with getting a GTIN code. For instance, some companies will charge an extra fee for generating barcodes that use the GTIN format. This is because these barcodes require special software and hardware in order to be generated correctly. Additionally, there may also be additional costs involved with registering your product's GTIN code with retailers like Amazon or Walmart.

Overall, it is important to do your research and consider any potential costs when deciding whether or not to obtain a GTIN code for your product. It is also important to make sure that the company you are buying from has a good reputation and is willing to provide support if needed. Taking all of this into consideration can help ensure that you get the best value for your money when purchasing a GTIN code.

How Do I Link GTINs To Product Information?

Linkage of GTINs to product information is a crucial part of the product lifecycle. It allows businesses to track products across different markets and regions, as well as manage inventory levels. Knowing how to link GTINs to product information is key for companies that want to stay organized and ensure accuracy in their supply chain.

GTINs are typically assigned at the point of manufacture and can be linked to the item's description and other attributes such as its weight, color, size, etc. This ensures that the correct data is associated with each item and that it can be tracked throughout its journey from manufacturer to customer.

In order for GTINs to be linked correctly with product information, companies need an appropriate database system and software tools. These systems allow businesses to store all relevant data about their products in a single location and easily link it with their GTIN numbers. Additionally, businesses must have an efficient process for assigning new GTINs whenever necessary, so that all products are accurately tracked across their supply chain. In Shopify you would typically store your GTIN within the product barcode field.

Having a sound system in place for linking GTINs with product information helps companies streamline their operations and maintain accurate records of their inventory levels. This ultimately leads to more efficient management of products throughout the entire supply chain process, resulting in cost savings on both ends of the transaction.

What Is The Difference Between A Barcode And A Label?

A barcode and a label may seem similar, but they are two distinct items that serve different functions. A barcode is a series of stripes or rectangles that represent a unique number, while a label is an adhesive sticker or printed card with product information on it.

Barcodes are typically used to identify products in the retail industry. When scanned at checkout, they contain specific information about the item purchased, such as its name and price. Labels, on the other hand, typically describe products more generally by providing information such as its origin, ingredients, and expiration date.

It's important to understand the difference between a barcode and a label because one cannot replace the other. Barcodes are necessary for identifying individual products during checkout and tracking inventory levels in stores. Labels provide additional details about the product's contents that may be helpful for customers who need to know more than what is indicated on the barcode itself.

Both barcodes and labels are essential for providing customers with accurate information about their purchases, but their roles are different in the retail environment. Barcodes enable quick identification of items while labels offer more detailed descriptions of them. Understanding these differences helps businesses ensure that customers receive the right product with all of the necessary information included.


In conclusion, GTINs are incredibly useful for tracking inventory and linking product information. Understanding the difference between a GTIN, UPC and a barcode can help make sure you're using the right tool for the job. There is usually no cost associated with obtaining a GTIN, but be sure to check with your supplier to confirm.

Using GTINs can help streamline your business processes and make it easier to manage products and inventory. It can also save time when entering product information in databases or other software programs. With a little bit of research, anyone can learn how to use GTINs effectively.

At the end of the day, understanding GTINs is essential if you want to run an efficient business operation. I hope this article has given you all the information you need to know about GTINs and how they can be used in your business operations.

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Adam Sturrock
Adam Sturrock
Order Legend