EAN Number Importance in Business & eCommerce

Best practices in price monitoring 11.8.2022. Reading Time: 5 minutes

If you are not selling, then you are most likely buying goods and you probably noticed barcodes. Were you ever wondered what those are and what they represent, all the numbers and bars of different thicknesses and patterns?

Do you know that there are around 100 different types of barcodes in the world?

If you’re part of global trade in any way, whether you sell or buy online or offline, and you’re not sure what an EAN number is and what its purpose is, you should keep scrolling.

EAN number Importance in Business and eCommerce

What is EAN Number?

EAN is an acronym for European Article Number, also known as the International Article Number. This number is a part of the European product coding system that provides a unique number for every product type available at the stores. EAN number matches the US and Canadian UPC (Univeral Product Code) and Japanese JAN (Japan Article Number) because it represents the unique code worldwide.

EAN codes are labeled on the product’s packaging for easier identification, whether scanning at the cash register or as a system entry, while in eCommerce are displayed usually along with the product image.

What do we use EAN Number for?

As mentioned above, EAN and other codes and numbers for product recognition are used worldwide to label product types. In the retail industry, these barcodes are used for a lookup at the point of sales, wholesale order processes, and accounting operations.

EAN number benefits all parties in the sale, stock, and purchase process, from manufacturer to buyer, as it allows each to search and manage a specific product via a standardized system anywhere in the world with minimal possibility of error.

Can you even imagine what these barcodes mean for the e-commerce market? If we consider that product matching and price monitoring would be barely possible without these unique codes for each product, you will understand how valuable they are. 

If this surprised you, keep reading and get to the paragraph where we explain EAN number value from the eCommerce professionals’ perspective and how it can improve businesses’ position in the market.

Is it mandatory?

Every registered business that sells within Europe, whether offline or online, should use an EAN number to increase the value of products, the business’s credibility, and position better on the market. Considering that the largest marketplaces in the world, such as Amazon and Google, require sellers to have an EAN number for each product, we realize the importance of standardization.

On the other hand, not every seller needs to use an EAN number. European Article Number is not necessary if you are selling outside of Europe, but make sure to familiarize yourself with the territory you sell in and its regulations. 


EAN number allows cashiers to work at the register without difficulties because the system supports people of any skill level and minimizes human error. This standardized system benefits stock and sales management to control and manage inventory and product availability effortlessly worldwide.

It helps businesses understand customer trends, as many behaviors can be tracked based on the EAN code, such as the most salable product and the most successful campaign. On the other hand, it allows consumers to search and find the product worldwide without overlapping. 

In the eCommerce market, the EAN number is key when it comes to positioning. If a business is competitive,  it uses barcodes to match its products with the competitors for easy price tracking and successful price optimization of its products.

EAN number information that contains

Information that EAN Number contains

Let’s dive into the EAN data composition and brake down the standard type code of 13 digits in four. The first two digits indicate the country code and represent the name of the country the item is coming from. The next five digits represent the manufacturer code and the original seller’s name. Following five digits identify the product item. It is significant to know those product items of different colors have different product item codes of the same manufacturer. The thirteenth digit is a check digit used to verify that a barcode has been scanned correctly.

How to get it?

In most cases, manufacturers request EAN numbers for products they produce, therefore if you are a seller who has a supplier, all the goods will be labeled and standardized once you get them. 

If you are a manufacturer, you can request EAN codes from providers that comply with the international regulations known as GS1 standards. GS1 standards represent a foundation for businesses worldwide and a unique identifier that provides general information about each product item. The application process is pretty much straightforward. Businesses can apply online and will receive barcodes by email to print and manipulate as needed.

EAN number in eCommerce

It is clear from the text above that the EAN number is important for businesses’ success and image. Not only the systematization of global trade makes individual stores’ business efficient, but it also benefits businesses from the buyers’ perspective as it improves credibility and provides valuable product item information in one click.

Let’s focus on eCommerce now. Why is EAN so important for online stores? This system allows eCommerce professionals to get insights into competitors’ products and prices. It also accelerates stock management and optimization and improves competitiveness in the market. Product codes enable product matching and price monitoring.

Many eCommerce solutions offer automatic processes of tracking, comparing, optimizing, etc. The automatization of tasks turned out to be extremely efficient as it saves resources such as time and money. EAN number allows the eCommerce community to automate processes such as price optimization as software can track product items and their prices based on the EAN coding system.

Product Matching

To be able to optimize prices, an eCommerce business must match its products with the products of key competitors to monitor its price changes. Product matching can be done in three ways: automatch, manual product matching, and hybrid product matching.

These methods of product matching are especially useful when your run-of-the-mill manual approach is hindered by sudden changes on eCommerce platforms, such as Google removing the possibility to find products by search for their GTIN.

In case the industry is highly standardized, and most of the market participants’ stores are in alignment the GS1 standards automatch is the way to go. Automatch is executed continually, and it is a cost-effective process.

Price Monitoring

Once the product matching is done, the selected eCommerce software can start price monitoring activity. In the highly competitive eCommerce industry, all businesses are obligated to monitor competitors’ prices to stay competitive and position better in the market. 

If selecting proper price monitoring software for your businesses, you will be able to automatize another crucial business task which will as mentioned, save you time and money.  All these automatizations would not be possible without standardization, therefore, thanks to the EAN number implementation in the world trade processes, eCommerce professionals are in a position to fight competition automatically.

Final Thought

Not every software solution is superior, customizable, and powerful as Price2Spy. Price2Spy is a pricing optimization software that can crawl competitors’ sites and provide match products with as many details as needed. It can even read the information displayed as images. When it comes to product matching activity, Price2Spy guarantees 99.5% matching accuracy with automated product matching – Automatch.

To sum up, the EAN number facilitates trading processes among the parties such as manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers, as well as from the customer’s perspective. This coding system reduces the margin of error and saves time. As discussed, in the eCommerce world, the EAN number simplifies some of the main processes and allows businesses to compete furiously in real-time anytime.


Marijana Bjelobrk
Marijana Bjelobrk is a Junior Digital Marketing Specialist, writing for Price2Spy since November 2021. She graduated BBA at Oklahoma City University in May 2020, majoring in marketing. While studying, she had a part-time job at the Economical Research and Policy Institute, where she gained experience in research, critical thinking, and writing professional articles.