According to recent Statista research, more than 263 million American consumers shop online—about 80% of the population. This number is projected to climb to 291.2 million by 2025.
Ecommerce is a competitive game. While you have to have a strong ad campaign to help shoppers find your products, it’s equally important to think about their experience on the listing itself and how it’s set up to be properly indexed for search algorithms.
Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) are beneficial for anyone selling a product. You see them every day and might not realize it—they are the numbers that appear below a UPC barcode. They uniquely identify a product and are on the packaging of virtually every product sold through retailers. Online, they serve as a key product descriptor working in the background of your product listing to feed into search algorithms and boost visibility. Let’s discuss some key benefits to keep in mind.
If ecommerce is your main sales channel, you might be thinking, “My products never pass through a checkout line so why do I need a UPC?” Just like UPCs help companies track products to stores, the GTINs encoded in them are used to track a product on its journey to your customer’s doorstep.
Amazon, Google, and other marketplaces use GTINs to manage a global pool of brands more efficiently. As a seller, don’t underestimate the importance of a product identifier’s uniqueness. Each product should have the equivalent to its own fingerprint—no one else in the world should have the same one.
The Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can be found underneath the lines and spaces of a UPC barcode.
The GTIN is a key part of making sure the right product gets to the right place at the right time. For example, a woman purchasing an extra small pink sweater from your online store in Colorado should have the same user experience as another woman purchasing the same product in Switzerland. With these identifiers, inventory is organized for retailers and marketplaces to create sales opportunities and happy customers for you both.
According to Google’s Search Central Blog, “the identity of a product (for example, who is the manufacturer) and other product data should be verifiable through a trusted source.” For many marketplaces, GS1 US is the organization that serves as a trusted source of product information. Marketplaces like Amazon make it very clear to new sellers that they will check GTINs submitted for product listings against the GS1 database. If a GTIN is found to be already in use by another company, or not constructed or used properly according to GS1 Standards, the marketplace may reject your listing until you update it with one that originates from GS1.
What gives GS1 this power? GS1 US helps companies share product information in a consistent way to support business growth across all channels. Best known as the administrator of the UPC barcode, GS1 US also helps develop best practices for efficient supply chains and effective business relationships—all to help better serve today’s sellers and their changing needs.
“I wanted to make sure that my UPCs came from the original, the authentic, and the trusted source,” said GS1 US member, Sonya Hernandez, founder of hair care company, Recover Restore Gro. “Because if I’m going to present my business in front of retailers, I want to have the right company behind me that is verified.”
The global standard for the GTIN was created with GS1 as a facilitator over 50 years ago. Grocery industry executives collaborated to solve a common challenge—long checkout lines. The barcode revolutionized the shopping experience and continues to do so today as the numbers encoded in them live on in ecommerce listings and other data carriers such as RFID tags and two-dimensional barcodes (such as QR codes). If you think about how the GTIN is forever linked to your company as you grow, no matter which retailers you work with, it’s important to consider where you are sourcing them from and who your retailer partners trust.
The GS1-sourced barcode on Sonya Hernandez’ Recover Restore Gro shampoo bottle.
Additionally, using data optimization tools like Ampd can help your product be included in more search engine results along with the inclusion of a GTIN.
Most sellers know that the more product information you can give a potential shopper, the better. A Google study found that products with GTINs in their product feeds boosted sales conversions up to 20 percent and led to up to 40 percent more impressions. This can mean that a consumer searching online finds your product among a crowded list of similar products. The inclusion of a GS1-sourced GTIN indexes your product to automatically improve user experience. It’s a key part of making your product easier to find among shoppers and enables them to compare it to other options.
Ultimately, the GTIN plays a key role in your overall product listing’s success. To learn more about how to get started with GS1-sourced GTINs, please visit https://www.gs1us.org.