What’s An Ean Number?

We all know them. We see them almost every day because they are on every product we buy. We’re talking about so-called EAN or GTIN numbers. But how exactly do these numbers work? Very few people know that. Usually they can be found as so-called barcodes. This allows them to be scanned quickly and easily with a single device. This is necessary to identify the item at the checkout or to take inventory of a store.


There are several common names for the codes: EAN, GTIN or GTIN-13. EAN stands for European Article Number and is the current designation. GTIN stands for Global Trade Item Number and the variation GTIN-13 simply adds the number of numbers. There is also a so-called GTIN-8. This one consists of only eight numbers.

History of the barcode

The idea of introducing a universal code to clearly distinguish different products comes from the USA. It was already established in the 1970s. In Europe, the system was adapted a few years after that.

What are the advantages of an EAN/GTIN number?

Before the introduction of special number codes on goods, each product still had an individually attached price label. The sum of the purchase had to be either calculated by the seller in his head or each amount had to be entered individually into a pocket calculator. Now the codes are simply scanned and read.

We will also need EAN for Amazon. Almost all products found at Amazon – including food, clothing, electrical appliances and stationery – have an EAN number.  In addition to its own range of goods, the online mail order company also stocks numerous articles belonging to third-party suppliers. Amazon’s warehouses receive a corresponding number of products every day. It would of course be far too time-consuming to pick up each of these products, read its name and finally enter it into a merchandise management system. In order to optimize this process and to recognize products based on an EAN, Amazon uses EAN numbers.

A further advantage is that each product has an individual number on the code, which makes it uniquely identifiable from millions of other products. This avoids typing or reading errors.

Barcodes have also become indispensable when calculating stock levels in mail-order and supermarket warehouses. Thanks to simple scanning and digital data storage, the system always “knows” how much of what is in stock. It also leads to much more security and precision in national and international trade.

The biggest advantage, however, may be the fact that the principle has established itself worldwide over the years and has now been standardized in over 90% of all cases. Worldwide trade, as we know it is only possible through these codes. You can find a lot more information about EAN numbers and where to find them as a trader here: https://ean-hilfe.org/.