What is the difference between a UPC code and an EAN code? To do this, I invite you to see first of all the following video, which I recorded during our last trip to Venice. A little further down I leave you the complete transcript, in case you prefer to read the explanation, along with the place where you can acquire these codes for your products.
What are EAN and UPC codes?
Both the UPC code and the EAN code are normal barcodes, like those that are printed on all the products you use, have at home or shop.
To list a product on Amazon or to identify your own brand product you need to have an Amazon UPC codes or an EAN code.
But when do you use one or the other? Well, basically, barcodes with the UPC format have been used traditionally in the US and Canada, while barcodes with EAN format have been used in the rest of the world.
Today, most stores around the world accept barcodes in any format. However, there may be some older systems that only read one or the other.
This means that if your product will be sold in the US or Canada, the UPC barcode format is better, while if your product is international, or sold in a country other than the US or Canada, an EAN barcode is preferable. .
In addition, another difference is that the UPC code has 12 digits and the bars corresponding to those digits, which will be read later by the barcode readers. However, the EAN code has 13 digits.
Where to buy UPC codes?
If your product is from a well-known brand, then your manufacturer or supplier will give you that barcode. But if your product is your own brand, it will not have a barcode. That is, your manufacturer will not provide you with those codes.
Therefore, you are the person in charge of registering your brand and putting those codes on your product. And where to buy them?
These codes are engraved with the name of your company and your brand, so that if at any time Amazon wants to verify the authenticity of your product, it will use these databases.
With cheap non-GS1 codes, this can’t be done. Therefore, in case you decide to use cheap codes, the main recommendation is that you register your brand within Amazon, so that this verification is not necessary and you avoid problems.
Can a UPC code be used in Europe?
One question that I have been asked is whether you can use an EAN code in the US and, conversely, a UPC code in Europe. Well, the ideal is that you use the UPC in the US and Canada, and the EAN in the rest of the world, although today most stores worldwide really accept any format. In this way, we could say that the reading of these codes is already institutionalized.
On amazon.com, for example, you can list a product with an EAN code, the European identification code, and if you are going to sell on amazon.es you can list it with a UPC code.
In fact, when you are going to make a new product listing, there is a drop-down with the identification code, where you can select UPC or EAN on any of the platforms.
I hope that after reading this post you have everything clearer. If so, or if you have any questions, write a comment at the bottom of this page. So we can help other entrepreneurs and continue sharing experiences.