GTIN Exemption: When Is It Possible


The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is a fundamental component in the arena of product identification, serving as a unique identifier for products across international markets. However, it’s important to note that not every product requires a GTIN for its journey through the digital marketplace.

This detailed exploration aims to unpack the specific instances where retailers might be exempt from using this system. To navigate e-commerce better, sellers and manufacturers should know when and how GTIN exemptions apply. This helps them align their strategies with their products and market demands.

What is a GTIN?

The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) is an internationally recognized system for identifying products and services. Companies worldwide use it to uniquely identify their products in the global marketplace. The GTIN is essential for managing products in supply chains and is widely used in online retail platforms to list, categorize, and sell products.

GTINs help in expanding a product’s reach in international markets, ensuring it is recognized and can be traded globally.

Scenarios for GTIN Exemption

GTIN exemption applies to various scenarios, often tailored to the specific requirements of online marketplaces and the nature of the products. Here are some common scenarios with practical examples:

  • Private-label Products: If you manufacture or publish products under your brand that’s registered on a platform like Amazon Brand Registry, and your items don’t have existing barcodes, they qualify for GTIN exemption. For instance, a new skincare brand selling exclusively on Amazon may not require GTINs initially​​.
  • Handmade Products: Handcrafted or handmade customized items that are produced without mass production or automation technology are exempt. For example, a small business selling handmade pottery or jewelry on Amazon Handmade falls under this exemption​​.
  • Product Accessories or Parts: Components like mobile accessories or automobile parts that lack product IDs can be exempt. An automotive parts seller specializing in unique or custom parts might be eligible for this exemption​​.
  • Bundled or Repackaged Products: Products sold as a set or a bundle, such as a gift basket of assorted gourmet foods or a pack of assorted phone accessories, can also qualify​​.
  • Non-branded Products: Products without brand-specific GTINs, like wholesale items, are often exempt. A retailer selling generic, unbranded items in bulk may apply for this exemption​​.
  • Specific Industry Examples: Certain industries have unique exemptions. For example, some automotive parts may not require a GTIN, offering exemption opportunities for sellers in this sector​​.

Applying for GTIN Exemption

Applying for a GTIN exemption involves a specific process, often platform-dependent. Taking Amazon as an example, the process includes:

  • Preparation: Gather all necessary information about your product, including unique names and relevant details. Prepare clear photographs of your product and its packaging, showing the absence of a GS1-approved barcode​​.
  • Application Process: Log in to your Seller Central account on Amazon, select the product category, provide the brand name, and check for eligibility. Then, upload the required proof, including images and any additional documents like a letter from the manufacturer if applicable​​.
  • Review and Approval: Amazon reviews applications and typically responds within 48 hours. Approval grants you the exemption to list your products without a GTIN​​.

Challenges and Considerations

The benefits of GTIN exemption come with several significant challenges. One of the primary issues is reduced visibility: without GTINs, products may not appear as prominently in search results on platforms like Amazon. This can lead to lower visibility compared to products with GTINs.

Additionally, there’s the challenge of diminished trust from customers. Products lacking standard identifiers like GTINs might be perceived as less reliable, which can negatively impact consumer purchasing decisions.

Another challenge lies in branding. Establishing a strong brand identity for products exempt from GTIN can be difficult, making it hard to compete with established branded items. Moreover, a crucial factor to consider is the cost-benefit analysis. While foregoing GTINs can save on upfront costs, it’s vital to assess the long-term effects on brand growth and market expansion.

GTIN exemption may be beneficial for small-scale sellers or unique product categories initially, but as a brand grows, obtaining GTINs could be more advantageous for broader market reach, particularly beyond platforms like Amazon.

Adrian Gmelch

Adrian Gmelch is a tech and e-commerce enthusiast. He initially worked for an international PR agency in Paris for large tech companies before joining Lengow's international field marketing & content team.

Your e-commerce library

4 Top Tips for Selling on Marketplaces (Home and Garden)

Learn more

Marketplace Horror Stories

Learn more

Master Intelligent Google Campaigns

Learn more

Sign up for our newsletter

By submitting this form you authorize Lengow to process your data for the purpose of sending you Lengow newsletters . You have the right to access, rectify and delete this data, to oppose its processing, to limit its use, to render it portable and to define the guidelines relating to its fate in the event of death. You can exercise these rights at any time by writing to