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Create EAN codes


  • How to create EAN codes?


An EAN stands for European Article Number and is a 13-digit worldwide unique code for the identification of products. The aim behind this is to clearly mark a product and to be able to clearly identify products from different retailers and manufacturers.

Why do I need an EAN?

The EAN is a so-called GTIN (Global Trade Item Number). These are used on many portals to group identical products and display them together. For example, Google requires that you mark an item with a GTIN if the item is to be considered by Google in the product search. This is the only way Google can compare prices between different online stores. As an alternative to the EAN it is also possible to use

  • UPC (the Unique Package Code): this is the American counterpart to the EAN.
  • ISBN (International Standard Book Number): This is the counterpart to the EAN for books. Unlike the EAN, it is valid worldwide.
  • MPN (Manufacturer Product Number): This is the manufacturer product number. Google accepts it if you also specify the manufacturer.

The GTIN is usually also unique regarding size and color. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers adhere to the specifications for EANs, which is why this is not always the case.

Where do you get an EAN?

In order for an EAN to be unique worldwide, it must be managed centrally. Therefore, you cannot simply assign an EAN yourself, as otherwise the uniqueness of the number cannot be guaranteed. In Germany, gs1-germany is responsible for this. This is a company for the standardization of business processes and centrally manages the EAN allocation.  This is where you can ultimately have your barcodes created.


A barcode is ultimately only a graphical representation of the EAN number. There are different types of barcodes, which are differently robust against reading errors. For EAN numbers, the EAN barcode has become widely accepted. For this reason, one often speaks not of the EAN, but of the EAN code. Ultimately, however, only the number is relevant. Any serious merchandise management system can create the corresponding barcode for you. There are also many websites on the Internet for this purpose.

What do EAN codes cost?

gs1-germany assigns EANs in packages. So you can book different packages depending on your needs. There are annual fees as well as a one-time provisioning fee. There are also packages with few EANS:

  • SmartStarter1: 1-5 EANS for a one-time fee of 35€.
  • SmartStarter10: A package for 10 EANs for 55€ / year
  • GS1-Complete: The complete package for your individual requirements. The costs depend on your turnover, among other things. gs1-germany offers a clear calculator for this.

You can also find other providers via Google. But you have to be careful, because you don't always get correct EAN codes. gs1-germany is the only official body for the allocation of EAN codes. Incorrect EAN codes can lead to blocking and delisting from Google and the marketplaces. In the worst case, your seller account can be blocked or you can be sued for anti-competitive behavior.

How many EAN codes do you need?

As described above, an EAN code uniquely identifies a product. In order to promote your product on Google and to sell it on marketplaces, you should make sure that each variant of your product has its own EAN.


  • You sell a T-shirt
  • The T-shirt is available in 4 sizes
  • The T-shirt is available in 2 colors

This results in 1*4*2 = 8 different products. So you need 8 EAN codes.

We clearly recommend not to save on EAN codes, as this will only lead to incorrectly listed products. This will hurt your sales and can also lead to penalties depending on the marketplace.

Why should I invest in EANs?

Own EANs offer you many advantages. Because the goal of the marketplaces as well as Google is of course to offer customers a price comparison. 

If your manufacturer does not provide a GTIN or EAN, then the EAN is a great opportunity for you to be listed more prominently with the product. Because the other suppliers would have to apply for an EAN first. This is a challenge for many competitors - if only for lack of knowledge. The costs per product are then very low compared to Adwords or commission costs.

Your service offer causes a competitive advantage

But even if you already have an EAN for your product, an own EAN can make sense. Create e.g. bundles or complement products with service packages. We experience again and again that this is the case in stationary trade anyway. Especially with premium products, for example, free maintenance is offered on a regular basis.

  • Whether this is the annual cleaning of glasses at the optician's or the annual
  • or with the guitar the annual string change.

Retailers often compete completely unnecessarily with the prices of pure Internet providers such as Otto, Zalando or Amazon. The service that is standard in stationary retail is often forgotten.

A standard product including service is in fact a product in its own right. You have to make that clear to your customers. And this is where your own EAN comes into play. Because the article should not only be extended with the service in the product name. It is also important to use your own EAN. This has two effects:

  • Your article will not be listed in the price comparison with other articles. You will not be considered unnecessarily expensive, but the added value of your offer will become clear.
  • Your article is listed independently in the overviews, the competition does not exist - at least not on the same article. So you can use the overviews specifically to show your added value. The included service should be a clear part of the product description.


Tips und Tricks:

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