What Is GTIN Number and How to Get It for Dropshipping

What Is GTIN Number and How to Get It for Dropshipping

In today's globalized world, supply chains have become more complex, and product identification has become essential for effective management. This is where GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) comes into play. A GTIN is a unique identification code assigned to each product, enabling it to be identified and tracked in the supply chain.

In this article, we will explore what GTIN is and why it is important for dropshipping advertising. We will also discuss how to obtain a GTIN for your products and provide some tips for optimizing your dropshipping advertising strategy using GTIN.

What Is a GTIN

What Is a GTIN Number - DSers
Source: gtin.info

GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number i.e., is a unique identification code that is assigned to a product to enable it to be identified and tracked in the supply chain. It is a globally recognized standard that is used to identify products at various stages of the supply chain, from manufacturing to point of sale.

There are four main types of GTINs:

  • GTIN-12 (UPC-A): used primarily in North America and consists of 12 digits.
  • GTIN-13 (EAN/UCC-13): used primarily in Europe and consists of 13 digits.
  • GTIN-14 (EAN/UCC-14 or ITF-14): used to identify a group of items and consists of 14 digits.
  • GTIN-8 (EAN/UCC-8): used for small products and consists of 8 digits.

In contrast to GTIN, SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) is an internal code used by retailers to track inventory. It is a unique identifier that is assigned by the retailer to each product they sell. While SKU can be specific to a retailer, GTIN is universal and can be used across different retailers and supply chain stages.

UPC (Universal Product Code) is another product identification code that is often used interchangeably with GTIN. However, there is a difference between them. UPC is a type of GTIN and is used mainly in North America, while GTIN is a global standard that is used to identify products worldwide.

How Are GTINs Used

How Are GTINs Used - DSers
Source: GS1 US

GTINs (Global Trade Item Numbers) are used in various ways to facilitate supply chain management, e-commerce transactions, and product data accuracy. Some common ways GTINs are used include:

Identifying products: GTINs are used to uniquely identify products in the supply chain, making it easier to track inventory levels and manage logistics. This helps manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to efficiently manage their inventory and ensure that products are delivered to customers on time.

Facilitating e-commerce transactions and improving customer experience: GTINs are used to identify products in online marketplaces, making it easier for customers to find and purchase products. When a customer searches for a specific product, the marketplace uses the GTIN to display all relevant products and ensure that the customer is purchasing the correct item. This improves the customer experience by reducing the likelihood of ordering the wrong product and having to return it.

Ensuring accuracy and consistency in product data: GTINs provide a standardised way of identifying products, which helps ensure that product data is accurate and consistent across different systems and platforms. This is particularly important for retailers and manufacturers who sell products through multiple channels, such as brick-and-mortar stores, online marketplaces, and their own websites. Using GTINs ensures that product data is consistent across all these channels, making it easier to manage and update product information.

Benefits of Using GTINs

There are several benefits to using Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) for businesses, including:

Improved inventory management and supply chain efficiency: GTINs provide a unique identification number for each product, allowing for easier tracking and management of inventory. This can help businesses streamline their supply chain operations and reduce the risk of stockouts or overstocking.

Enhanced product data accuracy and consistency: GTINs provide standardised product information, including product category, manufacturer, and SKU. This can help ensure that product data is accurate and consistent across different systems and platforms, improving efficiency and reducing errors.

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Increased visibility and discoverability of products in e-commerce: Many e-commerce platforms and marketplaces require GTINs to list products, and some even prioritise products with valid GTINs in search results. Using GTINs can help increase the visibility and discoverability of products, leading to increased sales and revenue.

Compliance with regulatory requirements: In some industries, such as healthcare and food and beverage, GTINs may be required by regulatory agencies to ensure product safety and traceability. Using GTINs can help businesses comply with these requirements and avoid fines or legal issues.

Overall, using GTINs can help businesses improve their operations, increase sales and revenue, and ensure compliance with regulatory requirements.

How to Obtain a GTIN on AliExpress Products (for FB & Google Ads)

Obtaining a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) on AliExpress products is an important step for businesses that want to advertise on platforms like Facebook and Google. GTINs are unique product identifiers that are used to help identify and distinguish products from one another. Here are some general steps to obtain a GTIN on AliExpress products:

Check if the product already has a GTIN: Before you try to obtain a GTIN for a product, check if it already has one. Some products on AliExpress already have a GTIN, so you won't need to obtain one. You can use a GTIN lookup tool like the Global Trade Item Number Database (GTINdb) to check if the product has a GTIN.

Contact the supplier: If the product doesn't have a GTIN, you will need to contact the supplier to obtain one. Ask the supplier to provide you with a valid GTIN for the product. They may already have one, or they may need to obtain one for you. Make sure to communicate clearly with the supplier and provide them with all the necessary information to obtain the GTIN.

Register for a GS1 Company Prefix: If the supplier is unable to provide you with a valid GTIN, you can register for a GS1 Company Prefix. GS1 is a global standards organisation that provides unique identification numbers for products. You can use the prefix to create unique GTINs for your products. Note that registering for a GS1 Company Prefix can be costly, so this may not be the best option for all businesses.

Update product information: Once you have obtained a GTIN for the product, you will need to update the product information on your website or store. Make sure to include the GTIN in the product information so that it can be easily identified by advertising platforms like Facebook and Google.

Overall, obtaining a GTIN on AliExpress products can be a straightforward process, but it may require some communication and coordination with the supplier. Make sure to follow the steps outlined above to ensure that you have a valid GTIN for your product.

Cost and Considerations for Obtaining a GTIN

The cost of obtaining a Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) can vary depending on the provider you choose and the number of GTINs you need. Here are some cost considerations to keep in mind:

GS1: The cost of obtaining a GS1 prefix and GTINs can be high, especially for small businesses. The initial cost of a GS1 prefix ranges from $250 to $10,500, depending on the number of products you have. Additionally, you'll need to pay an annual renewal fee to maintain your GS1 prefix.

Authorised Resellers: Authorised resellers of GS1 prefixes and GTINs offer lower costs than GS1. The cost of GTINs from authorised resellers can range from $1 to $5 per GTIN, depending on the quantity you purchase.

UPC.org: UPC.org offers GTINs at a lower cost than GS1, with prices ranging from $10 for 1 GTIN to $1,000 for 1000 GTINs.

Alibaba: Alibaba offers a GTIN service to its sellers, allowing them to purchase GTINs at a lower cost than GS1.

When considering the cost of obtaining a GTIN, it's important to keep in mind that GTINs are necessary for selling products on many online marketplaces and advertising platforms. Without a valid GTIN, your products may not be accepted for sale, which can impact your revenue and growth potential. It's also important to consider the quality of the GTINs you're purchasing. Invalid or duplicate GTINs can result in your products being delisted from online marketplaces and advertising platforms, which can negatively impact your sales and reputation. Overall, it's important to choose a reputable provider for your GTINs and ensure that the cost of obtaining them fits within your budget.

Challenges and Considerations when Using GTINs

While Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) offer several benefits to businesses, there are also some challenges and considerations to keep in mind when using them. Here are a few:

Cost and time required to obtain GTINs: Obtaining GTINs can be costly and time-consuming, particularly if a business chooses to go through the GS1 organisation. Additionally, if a business has a large number of products, the cost of obtaining GTINs for each one can add up quickly.

Compatibility and integration with existing systems and processes: Implementing GTINs may require changes to a business's existing systems and processes. Ensuring compatibility and integration can be a complex and time-consuming process, particularly if a business has multiple systems that need to be updated.

Compliance with industry standards and regulations: Different industries have different standards and regulations for the use of GTINs. Ensuring compliance with these standards and regulations can be challenging, particularly for businesses that operate in multiple industries.

Maintaining the accuracy and consistency of GTIN data: Ensuring that GTIN data is accurate and consistent across different systems and platforms can be a challenge. Inaccurate or inconsistent data can lead to errors, delays, and other issues that can impact a business's operations and reputation.

While GTINs can offer several benefits to businesses, it's important to carefully consider the challenges and considerations involved in their implementation and use. By doing so, businesses can make informed decisions about whether GTINs are the right choice for their operations and how to best integrate them into their existing systems and processes


Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs) have become increasingly important for businesses looking to streamline their operations and increase their revenue. While there are challenges and considerations involved in implementing GTINs, the benefits they offer make them a valuable investment for many businesses. By carefully evaluating their options and ensuring they have the necessary resources and processes in place, businesses can successfully implement GTINs and realise the benefits they offer.

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