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From January 2019 GTINs should never be reused again

Date: September 18, 2018

Category: Industry news

The standard governing GTIN reuse is changing on 31 December 2018, here’s why and what it means for you.

In the apparel and grocery sectors, reusing a GTIN has previously been allowed after 30 months and 48 months of initial issuance respectively.

However, this has caused confusion in the age of e-commerce, where once a GTIN is assigned to a product, it could be associated with it forever in the online world.

This has created a host of problems, including the population of catalogues with outdated data and complicating GTIN management for brands with products sold across multiple sectors.

Keeping product identification truly “unique” and persistent in both the physical and digital world is needed to support today’s omni-channel consumer experiences. Consistency across the physical and digital world is foundational to the future of commerce.

Industry is evolving and has demanded a change in the status quo - that’s why if you’re reusing your GTINs at the moment, we’re asking you to stop. Putting an end to GTIN reuse will mean:

  • Reduced consumer confusion in the market and in supply chain data exchange systems
  • Increased transparency to the consumer
  • Better brand visibility online
  • Enhanced product traceability with uniqueness of product history and provenance
  • More efficient after-sale consumer uses of GTIN (warranty, maintenance, repair)
  • Improved sales analytics
  • Enable uniqueness of online data, post-initial offering (collectibles, etc.)

So, if you are reusing your GTINs at the moment, we’d advise that you take some time to start preparing for the coming deadline. And you don’t have to go it alone, we’re here to help!

NB There are two exceptions to the rule:

1. If a GTIN has been assigned to an item, which was then never actually produced, the GTIN may be deleted from any catalogue immediately without first being marked as discontinued. In this exceptional case, the GTIN may be reused 12 months after deletion from the seller’s catalogue.

2. Trade items that have been withdrawn from the market and are reintroduced may use the original GTIN if they are reintroduced without any modifications or changes that require a new GTIN as specified by the GTIN Management Standard.