GS1 Identification (ID) Keys give companies efficient ways to access information about items in their supply chains, and share information with trading partners. ID Keys enable organisations to assign standard identifiers to products, documents, physical locations and more. Because GS1 ID keys are globally unique, they can be shared between organisations, increasing supply chain visibility for trading partners.

To obtain or allocate a GS1 ID key, your organisation must become a member of GS1. There are eleven GS1 ID keys, allowing organisations to connect physical events and related information, as in the table below.

Popular Identify Standards

The GTIN is a unique number that allows you to identify your product. The GTIN is made up of:

  • Your global company prefix (allocated to you by GS1)
  • An item number (allocated by you to each product variant)
  • A check digit. 

The barcode image (seen as vertical lines) allows a computer (or, increasingly a mobile phone) to quickly and reliably identify your product and look up information about the product in a database, such as its price, brand or item description. The barcode is a representation of the GTIN in a machine-readable form, i.e. the barcode scanner will read and decode the vertical lines and spaces and then send the information back to the computer to interpret and process. 

GTIN allocation rules

We have simplified the documents and guidelines about when to allocate new Global Trade Item Numbers (GTINs, “barcode numbers”) for your products.

Here are three simple questions that provide a quick indication of when to change your GTIN on a product:

  1. Are the consumer and/or trading partner going to expect to be able to distinguish this product from others?
  2. Is there any new regulatory/liability disclosure required by the consumer or trading partner?
  3. Is there a logistical implication created by the change?

If the answer to any one of these questions is ‘yes’ a new GTIN is required.

If you still need a little help, see the online decision tool on our global website.

How do I get a barcode?

To be allocated GTINs that you can turn into barcodes to put on your products, you need to be a member of GS1 NZ. We have options for membership, which are dependent on your company’s annual turnover. Learn more about GS1 NZ membership here.


A Global Location Number (GLN) is used to identify locations. A GLN can be used to identify physical locations, legal entities or functions within a legal entity. The GLN is similar to a Global Trade Item Number (sometimes referred to as the barcode number). It is 13 digits long and issued individually by GS1 NZ.

What can Global Location Number identify?

Just as a GTIN (barcode number) uniquely identifies a product, a Global Location Number will uniquely identify one specific location. GLN’s can identify:

  • Physical Location (a company’s specific warehouse, a dock within a warehouse, a specific delivery location, a storage location, a specific shelf in a store, an operating theatre or a storage cabinet)
  • Legal Entity (a whole company)
  • Function within a Legal Entity (a buying department at a retailer, an invoicing department, a nurses station or a hospital ward).

Why would you use Global Location Numbers?

The use of GLNs provides organisations with a method of identifying locations both within or outside your organistion that is:

  • Simple – sign up as a member of GS1 NZ to obtain a GLN. GS1 NZ Full Members receive five free GLNs
  • Unique – GLNs are unique worldwide
  • Multi-Sector – you can use a GLN to identify any location for any company regardless of its activity
  • Global – GLNs can be used worldwide and are supported by the international network of GS1 Member Organisations
  • Encodable in GS1-128 barcodes and EPC-enabled RFID Tags – can also be physically marked onto trade units, transport units and physical locations.

How do I get a Global Location Number?

To get a GLN you need to be a member of GS1 NZ - find out more about our membership benefits.

If you are already a member, simply login into your MyGS1 account and on the left hand side menu click on ‘Global Location Numbers’. On this page you will see your GLNs and can edit the details assigned to each GLN. (Not sure of your login details contact us – 0800 10 23 56.)

If you are a Full GS1 NZ member you receive five free GLNs. You can be allocated more GLNs by logging into your MyGS1 account.

GLN Allocation Rules

Once you have been allocated a GLN and your location has changed you may require a new one, for more information please visit the GS1 global website, or give us a call 0800 10 23 56



The New Zealand Government has established the New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) registry to provide an authorative and comphrehensive register of all businesses in NZ. The NZBN identifier is based on GS1 standards in partnership with GS1 NZ. 

Look up your NZBN

In December 2013 the New Zealand Government assigned a NZBN to all companies on the New Zealand Companies Register, and is intending to allocate NZBN's to all other classes of business legal entities (charities, trusts, partnerships, crown entities and sole traders).

The NZBN will be used to remove the need for businesses to have individual account numbers and details with each Government agency. In the future, your businesses details will be automatically updated in all relevant government databases. It can also be used for electronic commerce.

What does the NZBN look like?

The NZBN is a GS1 Global Location Number (GLN). The NZBN is a 13-digit number, which uniquely identifies your business globally.  The New Zealand Government has acquired the right to use 10 million GS1 Global Location Numbers and the Government (not GS1) will allocate these numbers as NZBNs to all registered companies in New Zealand.

The 13-digit NZBN is structured as follows: 

NZBN structure

GS1 Identification Keys

Identification methodUsed to identifyExample
Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) Products and services Can of soup, chocolate bar, music album
Global Location Number (GLN) Parties and locations Companies, warehouses, factories, stores
Serial Shipping Container Code (SSCC) Logistics units Unit loads on pallets, roll cages, parcels
Global Returnable Asset Identifier (GRAI) Returnable assets Pallet cases, crates, totes
Global Individual Asset Identifier (GIAI) Assets Medical, manufacturing, transport and IT equipment
Global Service Relation Number (GSRN) Service provider and recipient relationships Loyalty scheme members, doctors at a hospital, library members
Global Document Type Identifier (GDTI) Documents Tax demands, shipment forms, driving licences
Global Identification Number for Consignment (GINC) Consignments Logistics units transported together in an ocean container
Global Shipment Identification Number (GSIN) Shipments Logistics units delivered to a customer together
Global Coupon Number (GCN) Coupons Digital coupons
Component/Part Identifier (CPID) Components and parts Automobile parts

To view more information regarding these GS1 Identification Keys please visit our global website.