Bar codes: FNSKU or EAN?

When it comes to FNSKU and EAN, the world is not black and white – even if the barcodes themselves might be. We explain the pros and cons of each code system and clarify which one is best for your products in which situation.

FNSKU and EAN – what is the difference?

When it comes to FNSKU and EAN, the world is not black and white, even if the barcode itself might be. It depends on what is important to the seller.

Both codes serve a similar purpose but are being used in different logistics companies.
EAN stands for “European Article Number” and replaces the former Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). It is that one official GS1-barcode with 13 digits that you have to buy just once.

The FNSKU (Fulfillment Network Stock Keeping Unit) is Amazon’s own internal system label. It’s basically a combination of the ASIN and the seller identification.

Pros and cons of EAN

EAN codes are recognised throughout Europe and can be used in retail, supermarkets and other sales areas to identify and assign a product within a merchandise management system. They are assigned only once and can be used by any company that sells this product. That means: Everybody who has the same EAN on a product, can send this product to Amazon and this will go into one big mingled pile of stock (of this product) at the Amazon warehouse. The big advantage of EANs is that you don’t have to think too much about where you are going to send the product. Whether you want to sell in stores, on a platform like Ebay or elsewhere, you can always use the exact same barcode. The drawback, on the other hand, is the aforementioned mingling of stock. This might lead to hijacking issues: A seller might for example send a fake product to Amazon while another one sends the original. The stock is being stored in the same place because it has an EAN code – and in the end, both sellers are getting into trouble because nobody can tell who sent in which product anymore.

Pros and Cons of FNSKU

FNSKUs are Amazons own internal label and because of the connection to the seller or the ASIN, you always know exactly which article belongs to which seller. There are certain product categories that require the FNSKU code on Amazon, for example food or cosmetics.

The reason can best be explained with the following example: If two people are selling the same food item and some if it went bad or was otherwise not of the right quality, Amazon always has to know who sold which of the respective products. As a seller, your benefit is that you can always proof which stock belongs to you, and you can avoid being accused of fakes or plagiarism.
The disadvantage is that every seller account has their own FNSKU and that means less flexibility – and those code also won’t work outside of Amazon, of course.

Which code do I need on my products?

Generally speaking, if you want to sell something that might me faked or plagiarized by others: Use FNSKU numbers to protect yourself.

If you’re selling a lot outside of Amazon or work with SPACEGOATS and own several accounts, EANs might be more practical because you save yourself some administrative work and are also able to sell your products anywhere outside of Amazon.

If you’ve already started using FNSKUs on your products and then want to join SPACEGOATS, we also have a solution for that (of course): We can either upload your products with the general product-oriented EAN code or we can (re-)label them with the FNSKU codes from our account so that the goods can be assigned correctly upon delivery to the Amazon shipping center.

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