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2: Identifying your products, cases and pallets

Unique numbers help you – and your trading partners – to identify, track and trace items anywhere in the supply chain. They also help streamline processes such as automated ordering or invoicing.

The numbers can be represented in a barcode that’s usually printed on the product or case packaging (using a GTIN) or on a pallet’s logistics label (using a different type of number called a Serial Shipping Container Code or SSCC).

Products (consumer level) requiring unique identification

GTINYou’ll need a GTIN for each type of product or item that needs unique identification for pricing, ordering or invoicing. For example, GTIN 5012345678917 could be a 330ml bottle of fizzy drink.

Each time you produce a new type, or variation, of a product you must use a new GTIN to identify it to prevent confusion – something that’s especially helpful when retailers are ordering from you. 

For example, for 330ml bottle of diet fizzy drink could have a GTIN 5012345679013.

Where a product is too small for the usual-sized 13-digit barcode you’ll need to use a special 8-digit GTIN and barcode. These are limited and you must apply to us to get one. You can do this here.

Find out more about the rules for allocating GTINs for products in Step 3.

Outer cases (traded level)

BottlesYou’ll usually need different GTINs to identify outer product cases (or traded units that do not cross a retail point of sale). For example, you may sell cases of 24 bottles of fizzy drinks. You would need to identify this case differently from each individual bottle.

GTINs used to identify cases are usually 14 digits long, but in some cases, can be 13 digits. You can create GTIN-14s in My Numberbank using your GTIN-13 as a base.


BottlesThroughout the supply chain, pallets and other logistics units are used to transport your products. These each require a different type of unique GS1 number – an SSCC – that’s displayed on a GS1 Logistics Label. These are always 18 digits long and like GTINs, start with your unique Company Prefix.

Find out more about using SSCCs and Logistics Labels.

Where can I create and store my numbers?

The secure My Numberbank service allows you to keep an accurate record of what GTIN 8, 13, 14s you have assigned to which product or case – all in one place. It means you can quickly add and edit products and their descriptions at any time (with the exception of GTIN-8, which you can’t edit online, as you must tell us their
descriptions when you order the numbers).