You’re reading this post for one of two reasons: You saw the title and thought to yourself, “What is a GTIN Exemption? And do I need one?” or you’re stuck dealing with Amazon support trying to set up your new product and they’re telling you that you need a GTIN exemption. So let’s get to the point!
What is a GTIN and how do I get an exemption?
GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number. Some products have a specific GTIN number, but for Amazon’s purposes, a UPC can also be a GTIN (and in some cases you use them both, but that’s a different blog post). Basically, it’s an ID number for Amazon to use when you create your listing, ties it to the Amazon ID (or ASIN), and ties all the systems together. But not all products have a UPC number, or any kind of ID number. Amazon realizes that not every product is going to have a barcode, with an ID number, that quickly identifies the product. Many private label products don’t have UPCs or other GTIN and so Amazon gave us the GTIN exemption process.
Applying for an exemption is a straightforward process. Amazon wants to make sure you have a legitimate product that doesn’t actually have any ID (to avoid buybox scams, etc.). To prove these things, they ask for a letter from the brand owner or photos of all sides of the product.
The letter needs to confirm no GTIN is provided for their products, with contact information. This is usually the easiest support to send Amazon, especially if you’re the brand owner yourself. When I went through this process for my own listings, I was able to write the letter myself as a brand owner. Here’s an example Amazon provides as a template:
The images need to show all sides of the product/packaging. This is pretty straightforward, but if you can’t see all sides of the packaging your exemption won’t be approved.
Once you have one of these support items ready, you just need to upload them through the GTIN exemption portal with some additional information like brand name and category. Submit, and with the correct support, your approval will be on the way!
Now I have an exemption, but how do I add these products to my catalog?
Remember earlier when I mentioned Amazon was trying to cut back on scams? That’s also why they ask for the brand name and category when applying for an exemption. When you’re exempt, it’s only for that brand in that specific category. If you need exemptions for additional brands/categories, or accidentally asked for the wrong category just submit another request! You can have up to 10 exemptions tied to your seller account.
When the time has come to finally add your GTIN-less product, the process is identical to adding a product with an identifier. Once you reach the setup page asking for the UPC, the input field will no longer be marked as mandatory to fill out! Add the rest of the information for your product, and when done successfully your product will be assigned an ASIN.
If you have issues creating your listing after getting an exemption, don’t forget to make sure:
- The brand name is already entered. This needs to be spelled exactly as it was in the exemption request.
- The category is the same category from your exemption request
- The exemption was granted more than 30 minutes prior. Sometimes it may take a few hours for the update to propagate in Amazon’s systems
With no ID on the product or packaging, all products will have to be labeled if you’re selling them through FBA. These labels are provided when creating an FBA shipment, and can be applied by you or by the FBA warehouse (for a fee).