Global Trade Item Number® (GTIN®) is an umbrella term used for globally unique 8, 12, 13, or 14 digit numbers that are used to identify trade items for both physical and online commerce. The GTIN is defined by GS1 Standards that cover its construction along with specific management rules designed to ensure the global uniqueness of the GTIN. All GTINs can be used within different types of scannable GS1 barcodes to make capturing and using the GTIN easy.

  • The original GTIN, introduced in 1973, was 12 digits long and was called the Universal Product Code (U.P.C.). Today, it is officially called GTIN-12, although the U.P.C. name is still used.
  • When the use of the GTIN was expanded beyond the US the GTIN-13 was introduced. Originally, the GTIN-13 was only used outside the US and Canada; today, the GTIN-13 may be used anywhere in the world although in the US and Canada the GTIN-12 is still much more common.
  • The GTIN-12 and GTIN-13 are used on trade items sold to consumers at point-of-sale terminals.
  • The GTIN-14 was introduced when GTIN usage expanded to non-consumer sale units, such as cases and pallets. GTIN-14 may not be used on trade items sold to consumers at point-of-sale.

The GTIN-8 was introduced to allow for a smaller barcode to fit on small consumer-sale packages that could not easily accommodate the full GTIN-12 or GTIN-13.

Understanding product identifiers are part of the foundation for establishing a thriving e-commerce business. A GTIN number lookup can be accomplished quickly, and without wasted resources, by using the Algopix platform, Algopix assists online sellers with rapidly converting EANs, UPCs, ASINs, and GTINs. A GTIN lookup can take a few moments and open the door to more efficient and quality online selling.

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