Google recently officially endorced the need for manufacturers to license GS1 GTINs (UPCs) to their brand and re-emphasized the necessity for correct GTIN product identification. Product identity is essential in e-commerce because it ensures that online visitors accurately understand the origin and unique identity of a product.
A GTIN is an umbrella term for an identifier following the GS1 global numbering standards. In the US, a UPC is the most common GTIN used for product identification.
Just like major retailers and Amazon, Google relies on unique and authentic UPC barcodes that are verifiable by GS1 to your brand. Since 2016, Google has established that GTIN identification as part of their Merchant Center account setup. Properly licensed and unique UPCs means incredible visibility and discovery for your products
Google’s Search Center Blog Recent Update
The recent update on Google Search Central Blog explains the why Google want to have GTINs provided which are licensed to a manufacturer’s brand.
As highlighted above, the three factors which Google relies upon for the backbone of product identification are the exact strengths of GS1 GTINs. The assignment structure of GS1 GTINs insures uniqueness so no two products share the same identifier. The verifiability component is WHY companies need to license GS1 GTINs to their brand. As the single trusted source, all trading partners can rely on the accuracy of the data. Lastly, GS1 GTINs are based on a global standard, so the UPC you put on your products for sale in the US will also be recognized worldwide.
As of May 16, 2016, all products, Google Shopping requires GTINs for brand name products sold by multiple merchants. Google Product Feeds must now not only have GTINs, but Google is will be testing the accuracy of the data provided by manufacturers. Google has begun showing item-level warnings in the Diagnostics tab in Merchant Center for products that are missing or have the wrong GTIN.
This mandatory requirement is for products being sold to: Australia, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, the UK or the US.
Google GTIN Resources
- GTIN Validation Guide by GS1
- GTIN Check Digit Calculator
- GS1 Company Prefix Ownership Check
- Google FAQ page on Product Identifiers
As the authority on barcodes, Bar Code Graphics provides GS1 Support programs, which include yearly subscription of ongoing support for UPC/GTIN barcodes and product information is provided. If your company would like to sell on Amazon and you do not yet have UPCs on your products, please visit www.barcode-us.com.