The European Article Number (EAN) refers to the series of numbers under a product’s barcode used to identify a specific item type. Each product is required to have a unique EAN code before it can be listed on or any other online retailer. Why do you need it? Where can you find it? How does it work? In this post, we’ll explain the purpose of an EAN code and everything you need to know about it in order to apply it to your listings.

Quick overview

EAN codes (also known as International Article Numbers) are a certain type of Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) specifically used for products manufactured and sold outside of the U.S. and Canada. However, EAN codes can be found in almost every product worldwide. The codes are issued by a non-profit organization called GS-1 which promotes standards for business communication. The digital product identification code specifies an item’s type, manufacturer, and attributes. 

The most common type of EAN code is a 13-digit number which consists of the GS-1 prefix, manufacturer code, product code, and check digit. Although each section can vary in the number of digits, the EAN code never exceeds 13 digits. 

A shorter version of the EAN code containing only 8 digits is used on small packages. It’s also possible your product has a Universal Product Code (UPC-A) instead of an EAN. The UPC-A is 12 digits long, but it can be written as an EAN by placing a zero in front of the number sequence. The additional zero is called a “leading zero”. It means the UPC-A is essentially a subset of EAN-13 barcodes.

Why do I need an EAN code?

The majority of retailers, including, will require each product listing to have an EAN code. It is used to improve the quality of the search results on the marketplace and manage inventory. The barcode serves to distinguish different products within the platform. 

A product’s EAN code is unique to that specific product and its specs. The same code cannot be used for other variations of the same product. For example, if you plan to sell socks, different color variations of the same socks will need to have their own unique EAN code. Even if they are identical in size and design. Only exactly identical products in brand, color, and size can carry the same EAN code. The system is designed to identify items, and organize them in the right categories on It also ensures efficient inventory management. Further, uses an item’s EAN code to match it to the right product images, description, and attributes. 

How do I get an EAN code?

Existing product on offers over 25 million products on its platform, and chances are the product you’re selling already exists on the website. If the item you would like to offer is identical in every way to an existing product on, then you can use the same EAN code. Note that your product must be the same brand, color, and size as the one offered by the current seller. The EAN code for the existing product on can be found on the product page of the item under the product information. Alternatively, the number can be commonly found under the barcode of the product. 

New product on

If the product you’re offering does not yet exist on, then you’ll have to acquire an EAN code. The code can be requested from the product’s manufacturer. Otherwise, you can purchase an EAN code for your product from GS-1. Here is a link to the GS-1 in the Netherlands where you can purchase an EAN code package (it’s available in both Dutch and English). The GS-1 will provide you a code and a barcode symbol.

Additional tip: the barcode symbol can be printed on a product’s label to track movement of stock and and manage inventory using a barcode reader. 

How do I input EAN codes on

Product EAN codes for existing items can be input into manually. However, sourcing the codes can quickly become a tedious task. Woosa has partnered with to develop a plugin for WooCommerce to simplify the listing process. The plugin allows sellers to manage a large amount of products on with ease. The Woosa plugin identifies an article’s EAN code from the SKU (Stock-Keeping Unit) or the product features and automatically adds it to the product description. It makes listing products simple and easy. Unfortunately, adding EAN codes for products not already found on can only be done manually.

Want to save time managing your listings?

The Woosa plugin is a multipurpose inventory and order management tool. It automatically sends orders and returns placed on to WooCommerce. It’s functionality allows you to manage your listings and webshop from WooCommerce.

Plugins can be powerful tools to help you increase your store’s reach, build customer trust, manage your inventory, and optimize payments on your website. Woosa offers high quality and cost effective plugins for your webshop. We can help you develop a plugin tailored to your needs. Reach out to us for more information.