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This article applies to selling in: United Kingdom

Use virtual tracking to commingle inventory

Virtual tracking allows you to send your inventory to fulfilment centres using only the manufacturer barcode. Amazon uses the manufacturer barcode, such as the UPC or EAN, to track your items throughout the fulfilment process.

Items that are virtually tracked are eligible for commingling. Commingling allows Amazon to fulfil orders using identical products from different sellers. Doing so enables us to process a customer order more efficiently and expedite delivery from the fulfilment centre that is closest to the buyer.

By using virtual tracking with the manufacturer barcode, we can trace the source of eligible products throughout the fulfilment process, despite the virtual transfers of ownership that commingling entails.

These virtual transfers of ownership can occur either locally in one country (domestic commingling) or cross-border in the EU (cross-border commingling). Additional seller eligibility requirements apply for cross-border commingling. For more information, go to Commingling (virtual tracking) VAT FAQ.

Benefits of virtual tracking

Using virtual tracking can help to do the following:

  • Save you the cost of creating and applying unique barcodes for each unit
  • Improve customer service by delivering items to buyers faster, using a more distributed fulfilment network
  • Minimise fees by lowering fulfilment costs
  • Reduce carbon emissions and packaging waste

Product eligibility

For a product to qualify for virtual tracking, it must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Be in new condition
  • Have a single, scannable UPC, EAN or ISBN barcode matching a single ASIN in the Amazon catalogue
  • Not be an FBA restricted product or a dangerous good
  • Not be an expiry-dated product
  • Not be a consumable or topical product (such as grocery items, skin creams, cosmetics or soaps)
  • Not be a media product (such as books, CDs, VHS tapes or DVDs)
  • Not be a product in Toys & Games

Amazon updates product eligibility from time to time to ensure that we provide the best service for customers and sellers. If your product is not eligible for virtual tracking, an Amazon barcode is required in place of the manufacturer barcode.

If products that are not eligible for virtual tracking are sent to fulfilment centres with only the manufacturer barcode, Amazon may charge an unplanned-service fee for applying an Amazon barcode. For more information, go to Unplanned services.

If your product does not meet the virtual-tracking eligibility requirements, you may be able to get an exemption to use the manufacturer barcode by applying with Amazon Brand Registry and enrolling your ASIN in the programme. Non-brand-registered sellers would be required to apply Amazon barcodes for the ineligible product.

Important: For a product to be eligible for virtual tracking, it must have a scannable product identifier. To learn more, go to Product UPCs and GTINs. If you do not have a valid UPC on your product, you can apply for a GS1 standard UPC barcode. You can print barcodes directly on the product packaging and avoid additional labelling.
Note: Products enrolled in the Transparency programme are eligible for virtual tracking, except for products in the Toys & Games and Baby Products categories, dangerous goods and expiry-dated products. The categories eligible for Transparency may be subject to change by Amazon. To learn more, go to Transparency 2D barcode requirements.

Changing your barcode preferences

The default account level setting is for the manufacturer barcode, but you can change your preference at any time (section A). You also can change your barcode preference for new FBA offers that you create (section B).

A. Change the barcode preference for your account

There are two options under barcode preference:

  • Manufacturer barcode: If you choose this as your preference, all the eligible offers created thereafter will have the default option to be sent in with the manufacturer barcode and participate in virtual tracking (commingling).
  • Amazon barcode: If you choose this as your preference, all the offers that you create thereafter will display the Amazon barcode as the default option and require you to place an additional label on individual units. Units labelled with Amazon barcodes will not participate virtual tracking (commingling).

To change your account barcode preference, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Fulfilment by Amazon settings.
  2. Scroll down to FBA product barcode preference and click on Edit.
  3. Select Manufacturer barcode or Amazon barcode, then click on Update.

It will take about 24 hours for the new preference to take effect, and it will apply only to new offers. You cannot change the barcode preference for existing offers or for shipments that have already been created.

To use the new barcode preference, you must create a new offer or change the barcode setting for each existing offer, and then it will be in effect for new shipments.

B. Change the barcode preference for your new offers

When you create a new offer, you may have the option to select your barcode preference. For all new offers that are eligible for virtual tracking, you will have the option to use either the manufacturer barcode or an Amazon barcode. If your new offer is not eligible for virtual tracking, only the Amazon barcode option will be available.

If you choose to send the eligible inventory with the manufacturer barcode, you won’t be prompted to place additional labels on each individual unit. To learn more, go to Create a new listing that uses commingling (virtual tracking).

Note: When you change a listing from Fulfilled by Merchant to Fulfilled by Amazon, you will also be able to select your barcode preference.

Opt out of virtual tracking

If you do not want to participate in virtual tracking any longer, you can change your preferences to use an Amazon barcode by following the instructions above. You would then be required to print Amazon barcodes from your seller account and apply them on the products yourself, or have Amazon print and apply them for a per-item fee. For more information, go to FBA Label Service.

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