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Classifying goods



Explore how Classify works and the significance of universal vs. country-specific HS codes.

Available in Dashboard or via API, Zonos Classify is an AI-based automated classification solution that uses algorithms and statistical models to learn and improve over time.

How it works 

Classify is an automated Harmonized System (HS) code classification tool that uses the power of AI to provide accurate and efficient results. It is powered by a state-of-the-art multimodal AI system that uses advanced algorithms and statistical models to constantly learn and improve over time.

With the integration of billions of training records, a proprietary cutting-edge multimodal AI system, and architectural improvements for hyper-fast organization-specific refinement, Classify is designed to quickly provide accurate results.

Classify's AI is based on a generative pre-trained language model that uses deep learning to produce text similar to that written by humans. Classify uses this respective machine learning model coupled with a Zonos fine-tuned model, which includes over half a million manually classified labels, resulting in accuracy rates in the low to mid-90th percentile after manually classifying and learning from a subset of organization data during the onboarding process.

This approach allows Classify to deliver high caliber results, ensuring you confidence in its results to generate accurate landed cost calculations, stay compliant, and ensure smooth customs clearances.

Classify’s robust technology uses the following artificial intelligence (AI) and human expertise capabilities while following the WCO’s general rules of interpretation to generate HS codes:

  • Machine learning is powered by a cutting-edge multimodal AI system that uses algorithms and statistical models to learn and enhance results.
  • Natural language processing (NLP) breaks down compound words, parts of speech accented more than others, and nouns preceded by adjectives; boosts the last noun in the phrase, etc.
  • Advanced image recognition utilizes item image URL data.
  • Normalization removes diacritics, manages punctuation, and splits combined words.
  • Typo tolerance allows for results with misspellings.
  • Language translation auto-detects the input language.
  • Store-level customization allows merchants to set restrictions and categorize their products at the category and subcategory levels to increase accuracy.

HS codes and tariff descriptions 

Classify uses the World Customs Organization (WCO) Harmonized Schedule (HS) codes and tariff schedule descriptions to match product input fields with HS codes.

Depending on whether or not a destination country is provided, Classify will return a universal or country-specific HS code and schedule descriptions for each HS code level. For example, if you request a country-specific HS code, Classify will return the WCO tariff schedule description for the chapter, heading, subheading, and tariff level codes.

Here's an example of a schedule description for Taiwan HS code 3004.31.00003:

Chapter30Pharmaceutical products
Heading3004Medicaments (excluding goods of heading 30.02, 30.05 or 30.06) consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses (including those in the form of transdermal administration systems) or in forms or packings for retail sale.
Subheading3004.31Other, containing hormones or other products of heading 29.37: Containing insulin
Tariff3004.31.00003Containing insulin: other medicaments, containing insulin: other medicaments, containing insulin

Display names 

The WCO descriptions outlined above can oftentimes be wordy, technical, and even misleading. For example, the WCO schedule description for chapter 84 is "Nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery and mechanical appliances; parts thereof" whereas the Zonos cleansed display name for this chapter is simplified and clarified to "Tools, machinery, computers, and data processing units".

To make it easier for Classify users to understand and utilize HS code descriptions, Zonos has manually added cleansed display names, which are provided in your Classify response depending on your Classify tier.

These display names are a more simplified and user-friendly option to the standard WCO tariff schedule descriptions. They are designed to be easier to read and understand, making them a valuable tool for businesses that utilize HS code descriptions regularly.

Display name benefits:

  • Simplicity: Display names are more concise than the WCO descriptions, making them easier to comprehend and reference.
  • Accuracy: Since display names are based on the WCO HS code descriptions, they are just as accurate and reliable as the original descriptions.
  • Consistency: The display names are consistent across all HS code chapters, headings, and subheadings. This makes it easy to recognize and understand the meaning of HS codes at all levels.
  • Accessibility: These display names make it easier for non-experts to understand HS codes. This can be particularly beneficial for businesses that do not have in-house classification experts.

Display names are included in all Classify responses, Dashboard or API, for Classify Advanced and Premium users.

Start classifying 

If you have access to Zonos Dashboard, you can test Classify with 1,000 free classifications using as little as a product description. If you don’t have access to Dashboard or if you’ve already used your free classifications and would like to upgrade, contact Zonos.

Classify will return an HS code with just an product name. However, the more product details you provide, the more accurate your result will be. Learn about best practices for Classify input fields.

By default, Classify returns a universal (6-digit) HS code if a destination country is not provided in the request. Universal codes are used by all WCO member countries; however, we recommend using country-specific codes for improved restricted item management, reduced tax rates, preferential duty rates, and a more accurate and smooth customs clearance experience. To request a country-specific (8+ digit) classification, simply provide a destination country in your request. Learn more about the differences between universal and country-specific HS codes.

Request a classification

To request a classification in Dashboard or via API, follow the steps and mutations below.


To request a universal (6-digit) code, simply leave the destination country exmpty. A six-digit classification is universal for all WCO member countries. If you'd like to generate a country-specific (8+ digit) HS code, select a destination country.

To request a bulk classification in Dashboard, follow these steps.

  1. Click Classify on the left sidebar menu in Dashboard.
  2. Add your product's name.
  3. Optional— Add additional product detail fields.
  4. Optional— Select a destination country.
  5. Click Get classificaiton.

Check your call volume 

You can easily monitor your monthly and annual Classify usage in Dashboard by following the steps below:

  1. Go to DashboardClassify.
  2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page.
  3. View your monthly and annual usage along with your renewal date.

Learn more about checking your Zonos API call volume.

Next steps

  • Classify API - Get more information about the Classify API and how it works.
  • Input fields API - Learn how to effectively fill out Classify input fields for maximum classification accuracy.

Related Decoder guides

  • What is an HS code? - Discover the basic, need-to-know information about Harmonized System codes.
  • Catalog - Create, modify, and manage your products and HS Codes to simplify your product management needs.