The GS1 company prefix

The first step of your identification system!

A GS1 company prefix is a number that uniquely identifies your company. 
With this prefix, you can identify your products; each Global Trade Item Number (GTIN), also known as EAN number, that you create, is a unique product code which contains your company prefix. This product code is crucial for many physical stores to get your product on the shelves. A GTIN or EAN code is also often requested for online sales. More about online sales >

But with your unique GS1 company prefix, you can uniquely identify many other things besides products, such as outer packaging, locations, coupons and logistics units

You can then convert all these identification numbers into a unique barcode that can be scanned easily and quickly.

More about GS1 identification keys and barcodes

When you purchase a GS1 company prefix, it means that you are a member of GS1. A series of numbers is then reserved within which you can make unique identification numbers.

What size of GS1 company prefix do you need?

There are company prefixes of different lengths: from 7 digits to 11 digits long. The prefix is supplemented by x number of digits to arrive at a complete identification number (e.g. product code). Thus, the shorter the company prefix, the more free positions to identify products. In other words, the shorter the company prefix, the more identification numbers you can create. We call this the "numbering capacity”. 

To choose the right length of company prefix, it is therefore important that you think about what numbering capacity you need. Don't just think about your current range, but also about any expansion in the future. 

But don't panic: you can always buy an extra GS1 company prefix.

How many products/locations/coupons,... do you want to identify?

  • Maximum 10 unique codes: choose a company prefix of 11 digits (only companies with a turnover < € 2,5 million)
  • Maximum 100 unique codes: choose a company prefix of 10 digits
  • Maximum 1.000 unique codes: choose a 9-digit company prefix
  • Maximum 10.000 unique codes: choose a company prefix of 8 digits
  • Maximum 100.000 unique codes: choose a 7-digit company prefix

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When choosing the length, take into consideration:

  • The possible expansion of the range. So think in the long term!
  • Additional packaging variations of products because these also need to be identified.
  • Active in the fashion sector? Remember that all sizes and colors of a garment require a different GTIN.

How do you become a member?

  • Step 1: Go to the product catalog and choose "Unique identification of products, locations and coupons". Click on "barcodes" and follow the steps. To confirm your application, you must create a My GS1 account for your company. If you pay online, you will immediately receive your prefix and can proceed to step 2.
  • Step 2: To create barcodes for products: In My GS1, go to My Product Manager to generate your barcodes. First register your product by filling in the required number of details.
  • Step 3: As soon as your product code (GTIN) has been assigned, you can download the correct barcode.

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Need help? Contact us at or +32 2 229 18 80.