Online sellers are reporting that marketplaces like eBay and Amazon - especially the latter - are cracking down on UPC codes.
GS1 US makes available standardized UPC codes
so everyone along the chain - manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and consumers - can correctly identify products. In other words, a UPC will tell you not just that a listing is for a Gillette razor blade, let's say, but will tell you the specific type of Gillette blade and the quantity contained in that package.
Having standard UPC codes is invaluable, otherwise Gillette and Schick (or anyone else) might use the same UPC code for completely different items. And once the products leave their manufacturing plants, distributors and retailers would have a difficult time keeping track of the inventory and pricing.
However, small businesses say the cost of acquiring UPC codes from GS1 US is beyond their means, so many turn to resellers. You can find them cheaply on sites like eBay, which itself is now requiring merchants to add UPC codes to products, but the practice is problematic.
For many merchants, there's no issue - the UPC code is found on the product packaging of the items they source. But there are cases where UPCs are not available, and that's where things get challenging.
There are also cases where sellers list a branded product with a different UPC code than provided by the manufacturer.
Amazon already works to keep its catalog clean - see this article
- but we've seen posts in recent weeks that indicate Amazon is expanding its crack-down on incorrect UPC codes. Take a look at this thread
, for example. Some sellers are happy about it, since incorrect UPC codes can lead to customer (and merchant) confusion.
Let us know your UPC headaches and whether you're encountering any issues, and what you are doing about it.