The subject of barcodes is far from black and white.
Buying an Amazon-approved barcode from GS1.org is expensive. So, why not buy one from a much-cheaper, barcode reseller?
Amazon recommends – but doesn’t stipulate – that you get your barcodes from GS1. Now, if you’ve looked into barcodes before then you’ve probably noticed that getting one through GS1 is a big pain in the butt – and expensive.
With GS1, you in-effect lease your barcodes from them. Depending on the size of your business, you might pay around A$175 in an initial fee plus an annual renewal fee of A$69. Not cheap when you consider that there are hundreds of companies like Nationwide Barcode that resell you a barcode for a fraction of the cost of leasing one from GS1.
In short, with Nationwide Barcode and other barcode resellers, you pay a one-time fee. With GS1, you pay a yearly subscription.
That being said, I agree with Amazon’s recommendation to get your barcodes through GS1. Here are a few reasons why:
You can’t buy barcodes from Nationwide Barcodes et al. if you’re brand registered or plan to become so in the future
Amazon is making it more and more important that you’re brand registered. In fact, without brand registry, you’re at a distinct disadvantage. In a nutshell, you won’t get access to certain tools and reports, and you have fewer options when it comes to listing your product.
Now, when you are brand registered, you’re forced to get your barcodes from GS1 and not from a cheaper site.
If you’re a brand registered seller, Amazon cross-checks your UPC (Universal Product Code) against the GS1 database. This means that without a barcode prefix directly rented from GS1, you won’t be able to list your products.
Not every barcode reseller is legitimate
Be careful when buying barcodes from such sites. Some sell fake codes that could end up costing you much more than you saved by not buying directly from GS1.
Nationwide Barcode and Bar Codes Talk seem to be two legitimate sites but it’s still best to be cautious.
If your product gets hijacked, it’s easier to get the culprits off your listing
If you suspect your listing has been hijacked, Amazon will go and check that your product is in the GS1 database – if it’s there, it’s way easier to get your product ungated.
It’s easier to sell in other countries
If you’re looking to sell your product in other countries, it’s best to get a GS1 barcode as Amazon uses the database to find new products to sell on other marketplaces.
Lastly, it shows Amazon that you’re serious
Amazon likes to see that you’re investing in your business and that you’re in it for the long term. By buying a GS1 barcode, you’ll stand out amongst the part-timers and hobbyists.
If you’re just testing a product, then go ahead and buy a cheap barcode. But if you’re getting serious (you’re brand registered etc.) and hoping to sell in other marketplaces, invest in a GS1 barcode and you won’t regret anything!
I hope I’ve covered everything here. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch!
Virtual hugs and kisses!