What are the unique product identifiers (GTIN, MPN, UPC, EAN, JAN, ISBN)?

Paweł Updated by Paweł

Unique product identifiers are the product codes or other values associated with an individual product.

The most commonly used Unique Product Identifiers are:

  1. Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs), and this category includes:
  • UPC (in the US)
  • EAN (in Europe)
  • JAN (in Japan)
  • ISBN (for books)

GTINs numbers are assigned by Uniform Code Council (GS1).

  1. Alternative identifiers are Manufacturer Part Numbers (MPNs).
  • MPNs are also product numbers used to help identify individual products in the database. Unlike GTINs however, MPNs are assigned by manufacturers.
  • Brand, is an auxiliary product identifier, often used with MPN.

If you do not have a brand field in your system, you can easily map it from other fields containing Brand.

Or, if you have just one Brand, add it using Add static value.

Why does Google need unique product identifiers?

Google uses product identifiers to identify products and thus position them in their own products catalog. Also, according to Google 

What unique product identifiers do I need to use?

The most common requirement regarding product identifiers is 2 of 3 – any pair from Brand, MPN, and GTIN.  However, this is not always the case, and it depends on the country and the product type.

For the requirements of Google, check their Product Data Specification.

What if I don’t have unique product identifiers for my products?

Set Identifier Exists Field to False

If you are selling custom goods, it is possible to send them to Google without any identifiers. In such a case you need to add to the feed a field calledidentifier existsand set its value to false for all the products.

Look the Products Up or Ask Your Supplier

In the other case, when identifiers are required, and you do not have them, ask your suppliers. In most cases, manufacturers know MPNs and GTINs for their products.

If it is a few products that are missing identifiers, you can try to look them up in the online databases:

What If Your IDs Are Still Not Available?

As a last resort, you can try mapping MPN using your own product IDs.

Google so far doesn’t validate those numbers on the feed upload. But, be aware that this doesn’t comply with Google’s Policy, and your products may get disapproved at any time.

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