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GS1 Standards Help Scale your Brand Across all Channels of Retail

Blog  /  GS1 Standards Help Scale your Brand Across all Channels of Retail

GS1 Standards Help Scale your Brand Across all Channels of Retail


Growing beauty brands may have already encountered GS1 Standards. But what many brands do not know is that these global business standards encompass a whole system of identification numbers and ways of sharing data. If you sell products at a national retailer, you have marked your packaging with a UPC barcode, labeled your cartons with Serialized Shipping Container Codes (SSCC) and sent invoices via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI). Maybe you even added your Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) to your product listing on Google Shopping, boosting your SEO through meta data.

Well hang on to your GS1 US certificate because there is one other place GS1 Standards are required— online marketplaces!

When creating your Amazon listing, you might have been asked for the GTIN assigned to the product in the listing. The GTIN is a unique identification number that is assigned to a product at the variant level, meaning each shade of a given cosmetic, or each container size of a particular moisturizer would have its own GTIN. Unlike an internal SKU, a GTIN is a globally unique identifier that is associated with a specific company and can be verified and accepted by third parties and consumers alike.

In the United States, GTINs may be licensed through GS1 US, which not only serves you, the business owner, but maintains a global database of GTINs that marketplaces can use to verify the owners of products in their efforts to reduce counterfeiting and listing hijacking. It is for this reason that GS1 GTINs are often required by Amazon. You can further protect your listings with a brand Trademark and by applying for Amazon Brand Registry.

Protecting Your Brand on Amazon

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO),

“A trademark can be any word, phrase, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or service.”

A trademark protects your Intellectual Property and helps ensure your products will not be sold on Amazon by unauthorized resellers or counterfeiters.  Amazon recommends you Trademark your product in every country in which you intend to sell, and then apply for Brand Registry at all those individual Amazon stores:


For example, if you wish to sell in the US and the UK, it is recommended you Trademark your brand in both of those countries, then apply for Brand Registry in both the Amazon US and UK stores. You can file with the USPTO internationally, though trademark offices in individual countries will review your application and can approve or deny your trademark. Fortunately, the process for acquiring a GTIN is more straightforward.

The Landscape of Global Identifiers

GTINs can be licensed from GS1 US and are valid globally, meaning they can identify your products anywhere in the world, online or physical retail stores. However, there are some important things to understand about licensing GTINs around the world.

You can license GTINs in two different ways. The first is by licensing a GS1 Company Prefix, which allows you to generate 10-100,000 GTINs for product identification. Most beauty brands will likely select this option, as their product lines often include a variety of colors, packaging types, and seasonal assortments.

The prefix also allows a business to generate Global Location Numbers (GLNs) at no additional cost to uniquely identify offices, manufacturing, and storage facilities, which help expanding brands manage their inventory globally. However, for brands with only a few SKUs, or those just starting out, may license a single GS1 US GTIN if that is all they require.

Whether a US brand licenses a prefix or a single GTIN, they will create GTINs in a 12-digit form known colloquially as the UPC, or Universal Product Code. Although technically the UPC references the type of barcode that carries this GTIN-12, in the Amazon community, the term UPC is often used interchangeably with GTIN.

If you license your GTINs through a GS1 organization outside the US or Canada, you will create GTIN-13s known as the EAN, or European Article Number, which have 13 digits instead of 12. Whether in UPC or EAN format, your GTINs will be valid at Amazon stores around the world, just ensure you select the correct term when setting up your product listing!

The long-term growth of your beauty business in an omnichannel world will more than likely mean a membership with GS1 US at some point.

Take it from Josie Ostrowski, Senior Manager of New Brand Partnerships at Ulta Beauty,
“We require UPCs on all goods and we ask for EDI compliance...”

As she explained in a RangeMe interview.  For brands that started online, the same GTINs licensed for online listings can be carried in UPC barcodes for easy expansion into brick-and-mortar retail. This is critical in cosmetics; despite significant growth is ecommerce purchases, over 75% of cosmetic purchases occurred in person in 2021, according to L’Oréal.  But GS1 US is partnering with the retail industry to find new ways to engage beyond supply chain operations.

Put Your Barcode to Work with Sunrise 2027

Sunrise 2027 is an initiative led by the retail industry to facilitate the transition from the linear UPC barcode most of us are familiar with, toward a data rich 2D barcode, like a QR code. This will allow your barcode to work harder for your brand! Imagine in one single barcode, a shopper has access to dynamic product information pre- and post-purchase, including tutorial videos, beauty influencer content, or certifications that are important to your ideal customer (think Cruelty-Free or USDA Organic).

This change will greatly benefit marketplace sellers, allowing them to connect with customers after a purchase and drive traffic back to their DTC site. And while the emergence of the 2D barcode will help all brands speak directly to their customers, beauty brands stand to benefit greatly because they already have limited real estate on product packaging.

This technology shift enables supply chain benefits for brands as well. A 2D barcode containing more data connects the physical product to the web, leading to faster and more accurate product traceability, as well as product authentication through access to expanded product details. In the age of conscientious consumers, being able to leverage supply chain transparency will become more and more important to every brand’s story.

Learn More about GS1

Beyond product identification numbers and product data carriers, the system of GS1 Standards powers the beauty supply chain in many other ways. As you grow, you may find a need to understand supply chain business processes to take your brand to the next level.

Ultimately, the opportunity for beauty brands to expand their reach into marketplaces is growing by the day. Take the necessary steps to ensure you are prepared and ready to shift with your customers. Create a foundation based on a system that has been time-tested for more than 50 years.

Visit to learn more about GS1 Standards.

Looking to grow your Beauty Brand on Amazon Globally or or Walmart Stores?   Contact beBOLD today for a free analysis of your beauty brand.

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About Denny Smolinski

He is the CEO and founder of beBOLD Digital - A Full-Service Amazon and Walmart agency that focuses on Sustainable Growth and Profitability for Our Partners (clients).

Denny has been selling on Amazon since 2007 and has had to adapt for every change that Amazon has made along the way.   Amazon and Walmart are an ever changing environment and Denny has his beBOLD team ready to handle any and every challenge.

Is your brand having challenges with growth, profitability, advertising, reporting etc - If yes, please contact us today!

Contact Us Today!

Do you want more growth?

Hey, we are beBOLD.   We are determined to make your Amazon & Walmart business grow.  Our only question is, will it be yours business?

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