In my post about packaging design I mentioned that I didn’t need to get a barcode for my packaging, as I was enrolled in Amazon’s Brand Registry, which enabled me to use a GCID (Global Catalogue Identifier) and print off the barcode label which Amazon assigned me.  All true.

However, I tried to create the product listing for my towel and, as I also predicted in that post, it hasn’t been that simple.

It turns out that, even though Tiny Chipmunk as a brand is registered in the Brand Registry, I can’t add new products under the same brand, without re-registering it first. I can only take that to mean the goalposts have moved in some way.

So, I re-applied and was turned down. (Despite Tiny Chipmunk being a registered trademark now! Yes, exciting news!)  The reason is that it’s not a wordmark. I didn’t fully understand that and, after a lengthy call with a support agent, I still don’t.  I think it comes down to the fact that I have an image of a chipmunk on my logo, rather than just the words. I don’t understand why that would matter, but, it appears those are the rules.

Tiny Chipmunk is a registered trademark

So, registering a trademark clearly isn’t enough.

With the products being almost ready to ship (for once we’re ahead of schedule), I needed to create the listing, so I could book in the shipment and get all the relevant shipping labels, etc, from Seller Central.  This left me with only a few options:

  • Applying again, using only the ‘word mark’.  I tried this, by cropping my logo so you could only see the text. It didn’t work.
  • Applying for a GTIN (Global Trade Item Number) exception.   This means you can ask Amazon if you can sell your product without any kind of identifier.  They state that private label products are one example where this is permissable but I wasn’t about to pin all my hopes on that. It takes up to two days to be approved and I didn’t have that much time.  
  • Buying a barcode.  This, in the end, was the only real option left to me.

Where to buy a barcode

I signed up to GS1 UK, which is an Amazon-approved way of buying barcodes.  You can buy them elsewhere, but this would potentially be against Amazon’s TOS and, to me, worth the risk.

For £142.80 you get a year’s membership. This is actually more than is stated on the website – I’m looking into why and will update if and when I get to the bottom of it.  

This gets you 1000 barcodes.  If you’re going to be creating a lot of products in a year this could work out quite cheap.  If, like me, you might get to a maximum of 10 SKUs, this is pretty expensive.

However, it’s approved by Amazon, it’ll work and it was my last option!  So, for now, it’ll have to do.

Enhanced brand content

Another reason it’s good to get into the brand registry, is that you can use Amazon’s Enhanced Brand Content tools. (Jungle Scout explain it here, better than I ever will.)  I will be looking into this, for the swaddles at least, so look out for a separate post.

Jumping through hoops as an Amazon seller

It seems, as an Amazon seller (a brand who sells on Amazon is perhaps more accurate), that there are never-ending hoops to jump through.  The only positive I can take from it, is that every time I survive, I grow just that little bit more!  If this is your experience too, please don’t give up. I’m keeping hold of my belief that those of us who can work our way around these challenges will be the ones who succeed in the end.