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GS1 Company Prefix FAQ

The GS1 Company Prefix Basics

Who is GS1?

GS1 is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Brussels, with various offices around the globe.

What is a GS1 Prefix?

A GS1 prefix is a unique 6 – 10 digit number assigned by GS1 US for a fee. This number is used as a means to identify your business.

What are GS1 Prefix’s used for?

The most common use of a GS1 prefix is as a basis for assigning UPCs to products, however, GS1 prefixes are also used in EDI. The main function it serves for EDI is as a basis for assigning a unique Serial Shipping Container Code (also known as SSCC18) number to the GS1-128 carton labels you must affix to each of your cartons when shipping as an EDI compliant vendor.

Why do you need the GS1 and SSCC18?

Why is it required for EDI? How is it used in EDI?

The SSCC18 is the number generated by your ASN and will appear on your GS1-128 labels to identify and differentiate the cartons. The SSCC18 must be unique. Using the GS1, a unique identifier for your company, helps to ensure that the SSCC18 will not be used by another vendor. This is the primary reason for retailers to require its use. Repeated SSCC18 labels will cause backups at the point of receipt of goods and will lead to retailer assessed chargebacks for vendors.

What is the SSCC18? Why is it needed?

The SSCC18 is the number that appears on your GS1 label along with a corresponding barcode. When a retailer receives your carton/pallet they can scan this barcode and it will cross-reference your ASN. By doing this, they will be able to know what is in every box without having to open it, thus streamlining the process and saving time and money for everyone.

SSCC18 barcode


How much does it cost?

Pricing varies depending on the length of the GS1 prefix purchased. Long GS1 prefixes are less expensive than short numbers. You will want to weigh the pros and cons for purchasing one length prefix versus another based on your planned uses. For specific pricing information, please go to GS1’s website at

Do I have to pay GS1 to assign UPCs when purchasing a GS1 Prefix?

No. GS1 offers assigning UPCs as an optional service in addition to purchasing the prefix.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

A GS1 prefix is a unique identifier for your business – only you will have that GS1 number. A DUNS number is a unique number that is assigned by Dun & Bradstreet once credit worthiness and financial stability are verified.

If a retailer requires a GS1 prefix be used in EDI applications there is no alternative.

Some retailers use other methods for keeping SSCC18 barcodes unique or do not monitor for conflicts.

Yes. Once you purchase a GS1 number it is yours. You can use it with any retailer who requires the use of a GS1 prefix.

No. You can continue to use your current UPCs and then use the GS1 prefix for future products.

Please go to or call the GS1 office (for US vendors)-

Princeton Pike Corporate Center 1009 Lenox Drive, Suite 202
Lawrenceville, New Jersey 08648
Phone: + 1 609 620 0200
Email: [email protected]

Introduction to EDI