A number of people have asked me if it is possible to bypass the UPC requirement when selling on Amazon. In many cases, they are selling one of a kind products or handmade goods that don't necessarily warrant the creation of a UPC code. Thankfully, selling on Amazon without a UPC code is, in most cases, pretty easy. Using the Brand Registry Program, sellers will be able to sign up for the ability to sell without a barcode. As such, this guide will outline how you can successfully apply to the brand registry program and use other unique attributes to upload your items to Amazon
Listing Products on Amazon without UPC Codes
To list without UPC codes you'll need to use your Seller Central account to sign up as a brand on Amazon. Doing so will designate your account as the manufacturer for all items that are sold your account. However, before starting the application process, you should have a couple pieces of information on hand.
Amazon Brand Registry Requirements
To sign up for the Brand Registry program, you must first prove that you are, indeed, representing a brand. For this, Amazon will ask for the following information in the application.
- A link to your brand's site
- A photo of your product packaging with your brand visible on it
- A photo of your product itself, with the brand visible on it
If you are just a small seller and don't have fully branded packaging, don't worry. The requirements aren't as strict as they may seem. For instance, I had a client that, for their product packaging, shrink wrapped their products and had a branded paper insert that you could see through the plastic wrap. That was the "brand packaging". And for the branded product itself, I just took a photo of a sticker on the product which contained the brands logo and the internal barcode of the product. So, even if you don't think your packaging or branding looks super professional on your products, don't worry! Worst case is that your application won't go through and you'll just have reapply again. However, having to do so is rare.
Applying to the Amazon Brand Registry
To start the application process, click on this link. Once you land on the application page, you'll be presented with a list of information to fill out. You'll be asked questions such as what your relationship to the manufacturing process is, if you sell new or used products, if you own a trademark, etc... Simply try to answer these questions as accurately as possible.
Of course, you'll also be asked to type out the brand name exactly as it appears on the packaging. You must fill this out correctly. It will be key come the time when we get to uploading products after filing a successful application.
However, most importantly, you'll be asked what type of key identifying attribute you would like to use when uploading products to Amazon. Currently, your Key Identifying Attribute would be the UPC code. This is what currently tells Amazon what product you are uploading to its site and what makes it unique against other items. However, we want to change that. So you have a couple choices available to select as the unique number you'll be using, as a brand, to upload products on Amazon.
- Manufacturer Part Number
- SKU or Style Number
In reality, it doesn't make much difference which one you choose. The only real change it makes is which field you'll have to enter a number on when creating a product. For instance, if you choose the manufacturer part number as the key attribute, then when creating a product, you'll have to put your product number in that field. It also goes without saying that for the number you choose, you must have a unique one for every product you list. Products with duplicate key identifiers can't be uploaded.
Once you complete this, you'll need to upload the photos of your product with branding and your packaging that displays your branding. The application will take just about 2 weeks to process and you'll be notified by email once you've been accepted.
Listing Products As a Brand on Amazon
Once you've been accepted, you'll then want to upload your products without the UPC code. Thankfully, doing so is simple. When creating a new product, whether it is through the site, flat file or XML integration, you'll need to enter the product brand exactly as you entered is previously when apply to become a brand. This means exact same case and spelling. Last, you'll need to enter the product's key identifier. For instance, if, in the previous step, entered SKU, then you'll need to enter the unique SKU for the product. Once complete, you will have successfully uploaded a product using the brand registry program.
So in all, the process for uploading products to Amazon without UPCs is surprisingly easy. It only takes some time to get accepted into the program. But once you're in, you should have an easier and cheaper time selling. Especially if you are selling art or other one of a kind products on the site.