Gtin (global trade item number)

No matter whether you are still in the middle of product development or already have your finished product in your hands: For the sales launch, your product needs a GTIN from GS1. It is indispensable for the listing of your products both in stationary trade and on marketplaces. We explain to you what exactly it is all about.

What is a GTIN?

The GTIN (short for Global Trade Item Number) is the 13-digit number below the barcode. With the GTIN, every article, product or product variant can be identified worldwide without overlap.

The GTIN is also the basis for the EAN barcode. That is why it is sometimes called GTIN code. The GTIN is machine-readable via the EAN barcode and can be read automatically by a scanner, for example at the checkout in the retail trade or when goods are received in the warehouse.

What role do GTIN& Barcode in retail and online trade?

If you want to sell your products stationary or online, GTIN and barcode are indispensable. This is because retailers can use it to make their processes more efficient and error-free. For the sale of products in stationary trade the barcode is e.g. the GTIN. Prerequisite, as it makes for an easy and fast checkout process. For selling on marketplaces like Amazon the GTIN is sufficient in most cases.

Our short explanatory video shows you what the GTIN is used for and how it is created.

Knowledge about the GTIN

Where is the GTIN used?

The GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is used for the unique identification of products and services. It functions as an access key to product information stored in databases, such as designation, weight, container size or product group.

It is used wherever products that are automatically recorded and processed have to be marked. The best known example of its use are everyday products sold in retail stores or marketplaces. However, it is also used to identify other products such as. Medical devices used in healthcare or technical components used in industry.

What is the difference between GTIN and EAN??

GTIN and EAN mean the same thing. The term GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) replaced in 2009 the EAN used in the European area – the European article number.

What forms of GTIN are there??

In Germany and worldwide, the GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is usually 13-digit, in the USA 12-digit (also known as UPC). For small articles, on which the long number cannot be accommodated, GS1 provides an 8-digit short number under certain conditions. There are even 14-digit versions, but these are also formed on the basis of the 13-digit GTIN number.

How the GTIN is structured?

The GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) is made up of three parts: The GS1 base number, an individual number range and the check digit. The GS1 base number consists of the first digits of your company’s GLN. Without a GLN there is no GTIN.

Design and structure

At the beginning of the GTIN the 7-, 8- or 9-digit GS1 base number is placed. You can take this from your GLN. Afterwards you can assign sequential numbers to the products – for example 001, 002, 003 for a 9-digit base number.

Now only the last number is missing, the so-called check digit, which has to be calculated for each newly assigned GTIN number. The check digit can be determined via our free check digit calculator.

Who assigns the GTIN?

The GTIN is usually provided by the manufacturer or distributor. The brand name of the product is assigned.

What is a GTIN-8 short number?

Normally the GTIN number has 13 digits. If the GTIN is to be printed as a barcode, it will require a certain amount of space on the product, depending on the substrate and printing method used. The space required can be too large for particularly small-volume items. In these cases, GS1 still makes it possible to print the barcode in a smaller form as a so-called EAN-8 barcode. The GTIN is no longer 13-digit, but only 8-digit.

How to check if a GTIN-8 is applicable

If the barcode of your 13-digit GTIN number takes up more than 25 percent of the front area of the packaging, it should be possible to use an EAN-8 barcode. For round packaging: half the circumference times the height of the packaging.

Short numbers are only available to a limited extent. We therefore recommend that you consult with the packaging printer or GS1 Germany at an early stage to determine whether you want or need to use short numbers. As a GS1 Complete customer, you can apply for GTIN-8 short numbers for 15 € per short number per year. For more details see our conditions for GS1 Complete .

What is a SGTIN?

In contrast to the normal GTIN, which uniquely identifies a product category, the serialized GTIN (SGTIN for short) is used when a single product is to be identified.

The SGTIN is used, for example, in the technical industries to distinguish between individual components of the same type. This allows components to be clearly traced from manufacture, through the entire supply chain and operation, to maintenance and scrapping. This is the basic requirement for reliable lifecycle management.

You need GTINs for your products?

GS1 Germany is the only official seller in Germany.
Choose the right one for your business from three different products.

The "General GS1 Specifications are the German 1:1 translation of the English "GS1 General Specifications" – the standard set of rules of GS1 on GS1 identification numbers and GS1 barcodes.

Practical hints as well as structure and functionality of the GTIN are the focus of this publication. Corresponding examples also help with the implementation of the EAN barcode.

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