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Using product identifiers

Using product identifiers

You must include product identifiers when listing in certain eBay categories. These identifiers help buyers find exactly what they're looking for as well as making it easier for search engines to match your items to appropriate queries. Even when they're not mandatory, including product identifiers in your listings can help you attract more buyers.

Product identifiers explained

Product identifiers include the brand as well as unique codes typically found on labels or bar codes. They serve a number of functions, including helping retailers keep track of and manage their stock.

Key product identifiers on eBay.co.uk are:

  • Brand
  • Global Trade Item Number (GTIN): A series of numbers assigned to most retail products and includes European Article Numbers (EANs) and International Standard Book Numbers (ISBNs). Visit gs1.org for more about GTINs.
  • Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): A number that, in combination with the brand, uniquely identifies a product. Manufacturers use these numbers to manage their product inventory and product lines.

Listing with product identifiers

Using product identifiers helps buyers find your items faster by raising the visibility of your listings.

You must use product identifiers to list branded items that are new or manufacturer refurbished, in certain categories. From 31 January 2016, this applies to items with variations as well as single-item listings. From 29 February 2016, the requirement will be extended to apply to Good 'Til Cancelled listings too.

Within affected categories, the requirement will apply to:
  • New listings
  • Listings you’ve manually relisted
  • Listings where you’ve revised the title, category, GTIN, item specifics or item condition. If you revise other fields, such as price, you don’t need to add product identifiers.
  • Listings with variations (from 31 January 2016)
  • Good 'Til Cancelled listings (from 29 February 2016)
Listing with the eBay catalogue is the easiest way to make sure you've included all required information, including product identifiers.

We encourage you to add product identifiers as soon as possible where applicable so that all your listings remain competitive in search. This supports an even better shopping experience as we move toward a more product-centric shopping experience.

If you sell unbranded items, or items that don’t have product identifiers, you can select Does not apply in order to complete your listing. However, do remember that your listing won't receive the SEO benefits if you select Does not apply. We recommend that you always add product identifiers when they are available. 

In My eBay > Selling and in our bulk edit and relist tool, we highlight which of your listings are missing product identifiers. We’ll also highlight relevant product identifiers in the Sell Your Item form and provide tips on how to complete your listings.

Categories in which you must use product identifiers

As part of the requirement, you must use product identifiers in these categories:
  • Baby
  • Books, Comics & Magazines
  • Business, Office & Industrial (additional subcategories added in January 2016)
  • Cameras & Photography
  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories (additional subcategories added in January 2016)
  • Coins (only supplies & equipment)
  • Collectables (only Trains/ Railway Models)
  • Computers/Tablets & Networking
  • Crafts
  • Dolls & Bears
  • DVDs, Films & TV
  • Garden & Patio
  • Health & Beauty
  • Home, Furniture & DIY (additional subcategories added in January 2016)
  • Jewellery & Watches
  • Mobile Phones & Communication
  • Music
  • Musical Instruments
  • Pet Supplies
  • Sound & Vision
  • Sporting Goods
  • Stamps (only Publications & Supplies)
  • Toys & Games
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories
  • Video Games & Consoles 
If you don't know the unique product identifier for your items, contact the manufacturer or supplier. 
Download our detailed list of which categories require product identifiers, including any exceptions or specific requirements.

Including product identifiers for SEO

A way to improve traffic to your listings is to optimise them for search, or search engine optimisation (SEO). For items to appear in results for search engines such as Google and Bing, you must include product identifiers in your listings.

Frequently asked questions


If I list using a product from the eBay catalogue, will the listing automatically include the required product identifiers?


How do I know which product identifiers are required for my listing and where can I add them?


How can I make sure that my items are relevant for international selling too? Are there differences?


How do product identifiers help buyers?


How do I add product identifier to listings with variations?


Where can I source unique product identifiers for my listings?


Can I list using UPC rather than EAN?


If I’m using an API connection to list my items, where do I add the product identifier information?


I sell on other eBay sites, are they also impacted?


Will I still get all the benefits from product identifiers if I select Does not apply on my listings?

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