GTIN, explained: A GDSN review.

March 01, 2020

It can be easy to get confused with all the industry acronyms for product coding standards: GDSN, GTIN, GLN… and that’s just the G’s. If you need a barcode to sell your items in-store or online, the GTIN is an important concept to understand. Here’s a quick overview.

GTIN: Global Item Trade Number

With all the products being launched every year – more than 30,000 annually, according to Nielsen – it is hard to keep track of all the brand names, line extensions, item descriptions, label information and the other content that goes with it. Supplier brands and retail outlets need to identify, measure and track these items with a unique code identifier. For consumer goods, this is the Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). In North America, the U.P.C. bar code represents the GTIN.

So far so good?

If you are a brand or retailer looking to create and sell an item in a store or online, you need a GTIN for each item. Thankfully, it’s easy to obtain a GTIN for your product. There are just a few steps you’ll need to take.

If you don’t have a company prefix, you can apply for one through GS1, the coding standards body (for more information on GS1 or how to apply, please visit This number is the manufacturer ID portion on GTINs and barcodes. In addition to the company prefix, you will need to create a unique product number for each item you want to sell. Since this number can’t be used for multiple products, or transferred from one product to another, it’s important to plan ahead with your numbering.

Syndigo is a GS1 US Certified Identification Partner. Learn more about how we can help you with GTINs, GDSN data submission and other standards requirements.

Together, the manufacturer ID and unique product number make up the GTIN. And once assigned to your specific item, it is the unique number for that item. This item is used to create your item UPC as well as being a reference number for GDSN certified data pools and other industry content systems.

That’s all there is to it.

We at Syndigo want to help the industry understand the different requirements you need to publish your product content. To help, we created this short video to walk you through the steps of creating and sharing your product GTINs. Check it out!

Source: “Setting the Record Straight on Innovation Failure”, Nielsen Company, 2018

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