GTINs for unbranded products

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A couple of weeks ago Neil asked a question regarding GTINs for unbranded products. Knowing that there are no simple answers, we asked GS1, the authority on GTINs what to do is this situation:

Neil’s GTIN Question

I sell products which don’t have GTINs, my competitor sells the same products (which still don’t have GTINs). My competitor is registered with GS1 and has created their own GTINs for these products. So if I do the same, we’ll end up with two GTINs for the same thing? What is the point of that?

GS1 UK LogoGS1’s Answer

Almost every product that’s sold in a retail store will already have a GTIN assigned by the manufacturer or the brand owner of the product. But, this is not always the case online.

Best practice for product data management is for the brand owner to assign their product’s GTIN. This ensures the brand owner controls the accuracy and legitimacy of their product data and maintains brand integrity.

If both you and your competitor are selling branded products, you should request the manufacturer or brand owner of this product to apply a GTIN to the product so that you can meet eBay’s GTIN requirement.

What to do on eBay

If your product is unbranded, then eBay’s recommendation is to select ‘Does not apply’ in order to complete your listing.

What to do on Google

Google specifically states that for Google Shopping they are ‘only requesting GTINs for products assigned by a manufacturer, where they already exist’.

Become the brand owner

Another option would be for you to become a brand owner and add your own GTINs, differentiating your products and creating a more compelling value proposition for your customers – to find out more check out this article on the GS1 website.


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