It's been over a year since Amazon has announced that it would start requiring Global Standard 1 (GS1) approved Universal Product Codes (UPCs). Now they're taking it seriously and are suspending listings that do not meet this requirement.
So the important question is: what should you do to avoid getting your listings suspended? The best course of action depends on your connection with the brand.
Amazon Brand Owners
Brand owners should work with Amazon's Brand Registry Team. They will likely suggest you to create new listings with proper GS1 codes to replace the listings with non-GS1 codes. Then you will request that they merge your new listings with reviews from your old listings. We recommend using flat import or CSV files to delete and upload your new listings. This speeds up the process of replicating listing in bulk.
3rd Party Sellers
You may lose unbranded listings. This is because the UPCs will go to other companies in the GS1 registry. You should avoid this risk by branding your products for your business. This will benefit you in more ways than one. Branding your products will help differentiate your listings from your competitors. It will also help avoid getting your listings shut down by Amazon.
After branding your products, make sure they have proper GS1 UPCs. Some sellers will be exempt from losing unbranded listings. Even though it's a possibility, you shouldn't count on this happening to you. The downside is that these sellers will have less brand protection from resellers.
3rd Party Sellers, but not Brand Owners
Amazon may take down your listings if you don't own the listings. Unfortunately, it's not possible to add UPCs unless you're connected to the brand or manufacturer. In this case, the brand or manufacturer would have to add the UPCs themselves. You can help yourself and the brand by reminding them to go through the GS1 UPC process.
Why is Amazon doing this?
By cracking down on sellers with invalid UPC’s Amazon hopes to eliminate the prevalence of counterfeit or “knockoff” products, unauthorized sellers, and duplicate listings. All of which can be bad for both the customers and the sellers. These Amazon tracking codes should improve the marketplace's selling and shopping experience by cutting down on these issues. Shoppers will now have a selection of high-quality options and brands will have more protection against illegitimate competition.
Setting up GS1 UPCs for your listings can be burdensome but the rewards are worth it. Contact us if you need help with ensuring your listings are up to code with Amazon's new rules.